BC Diary: Day 5

This is a strange and spooky day because everything is so much easier. It’s the first day I don’t have to hope that we’ll drop a pool at check-in in order to get all the morning fencing out. All of the 8:00 events will have their DEs on some–but fewer–of the strips their pools used. By 10:00, I’ve been able to assign all the strips for the rest of the day. No black cards, no noisy disputes–just fencing chugging quietly along. Maybe everyone else is just as tired as we are and nobody has the energy to get worked up.

I’ve written about what I think of as Tournament Time before, but today is an extreme example of how unhinged we tournament officials become from the normal passage of time. I still feel as though the day has barely started, but people are already coming back from lunch, and the afternoon events are getting underway.

I’m startled when Tanya shows up—how can she be here already? She’s supposed to be sleeping in, but it really is later than I think. She tells me that I should leave early this evening, since everything’s all assigned, if not actually already underway. I don’t even consider refusing, but consent to leave once the medal ceremony for the Div IA WS is done—Christie fenced in that one today and took 5th, so I want to wait and take a few pictures at the medal presentation.

Unusually for me, I even got to see a couple of Christie’s bouts today. That’s how I got into working bout committee in the first place—the way my stomach churned watching my daughters right at their strips was too much for me to take, and they found my presence (even though I stayed completely out of their way) distracting. BC work turned out to be the perfect solution—far enough away that I could be more detached, but still with access to all the information I wanted. (Not that I use that access much any more—these days when Christie’s fencing, I often forget to check her pool sheets when they come in to see how she’s done.)

Watching the medal ceremony (Christie gets a big hug from the presenter, Brad Baker, one of her coaches at Temple), I am thankful yet again for our official awards wrangler, Carol Buerdsell. Before Carol started coming to all our tournaments, it was the BC chair’s duty to recruit and organize all the medal presentations, and a remarkably time-consuming chore it was. If we had one of those days like yesterday, when the chair was (quite reasonably) more concerned with finding strips and getting events running, we could end up with half a dozen medal ceremonies stacked up for several hours before we found suitable personages to hang the medals around the athletes’ necks. Carol was an innovation I am still grateful for.

(I’m always amused by her collection of pink jackets, too. Pink is not a color Carol normally wears in real life—she picked it deliberately in order to be easily identifiable in our venues. Nobody else at fencing tournaments wears pink.)

Once Christie has her new medal and t-shirt, we gather up our stuff, say goodbye, and catch the shuttle back to the hotel. We plan to take each other out to dinner for our birthdays—hers was last month and mine is today—so we’re heading out to Ted’s for bison and beer. Once we get there, though, we realize we’re both so tired we’d fall asleep before we managed to finish our beers. (We are able to manage dessert after our entrees, though—chocolate is even more crucial to SN survival than beer.)

After dinner, we go back to our room for an evening of junk television: a Glee rerun followed by the So You Think You Can Dance results show—perfect, we think, for our current state of mind. We turn on the TV, but aside from a few random nanoseconds, we both sleep through both shows. Around 10:00, Christie gets herself organized for tomorrow, when she will again referee. When she sets her alarm for the morning, I ostentatiously check to make sure mine is not set and fall back asleep.

Day off, here I come!


  • Number of individual competitors: 737
  • Number of teams: 14
  • End time: 9:20 pm (but I got that early release!)
  • Hours worked today: 10.5
  • BC hours cumulative total: 81

Alarm’s not set for tomorrow—it’s my day off!


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