Notes From Anaheim

Life seems to have returned to its usual state of too-much-to-do-ness after the Summer Nationals marathon in Anaheim. Spending my days off mostly wandering around Disneyland and California Adventure too late into the evenings doesn’t seem to have had any adverse effects—it didn’t leave me in any worse physical shape than I already was, and the complete break from thinking about running events definitely contributed to surviving the week. (The massage on the Thursday day off was an inspired idea, too–thanks, Angie!)

I’ve got a longer post simmering in the back of my mind while I work this week on preparing the BC requests for availability for the 2012-2013 season, but in the meantime, here are a few odds and ends:

• The lunches for officials at the Convention Center were a major improvement over what we’d been served throughout the 2011-2012 season. We’d grown so accustomed to the normal 4-day barbecue-Italian-Mexican-cold cuts sequence (which traditionally just repeats two and a half times for SN) that the lunches at the Anaheim Convention Center were almost dazzling in their array of items that appeared to be prepared from fresh ingredients instead of merely thawed or rehydrated. I hadn’t realized how low my expectations of tournament lunches had become until I saw the lunch food this year—for me it was one of several factors that made this year’s SN far less grim than I’d expected.

• Another positive factor was my own schedule—even though I was BC chair for 8 days (twice as many as last year), my 3 days on/1 day off/3 days on/1 day off/2 days on arrangement worked out much better for me than last year’s 2 days table/1 day off/4 days BC chair/1 day off/2 days table. I didn’t have to switch gears between table staff and BC chair, and best of all, I didn’t have to work 4 days in a row. (In the years since we’ve had to go to single BC chairs instead of co-chairs, we’ve learned that 3 days are doable, 4 days are rough, and 5 consecutive days should be avoided at all costs.) Even so, by the final 2 days, we were all dragging, well into that dangerous state where if we sat still for too long, we’d suddenly realize how tired we were and how hard it was to stay awake.

• I’d hoped to have a BC co-chair/trainee at SN this year, since we so desperately need more BC staff trained as chair, but it didn’t work out–we needed our experienced staff too much for running events. If our training plans for this season work out, maybe we’ll be able to return to having 3 or 4 co-chairs for SN, which is better both for running the tournament and for developing new chairs.

• Good golly, we had an epidemic of lessons in shorts and t-shirts this year! Amazing, too, how many of those ignoring the USFA’s full-gear-for-lessons policy decided to violate it directly in front of the BC stage.

One of the most interesting lessons I ever watched, back before I ever got involved with bout committee, was Vladymir Nazlymov (in full gear) giving a lesson to one of the Crompton brothers, who was in shorts and t-shirt and wore no mask. It was a fascinating lesson to watch, completely different from the lessons my daughters got—Crompton was in no danger of being hit, because he was practicing only attacks, but Nazlymov, even working with an experienced and talented fencer, had the good sense to wear protective gear.

Violation of the gear policy is always more of a problem at SN than at NACs, and Olympic years are even worse, with increasingly tense and cranky Olympic coaches resenting having to wear full gear within the venue, contrary to their usual practice in their home facilities. At SN, though, we’ve got all these newbie fencers and relatively inexperienced coaches who see the elite coaches and fencers violating the policy and think, “Gee, it must be okay if they’re doing it.” Many of the resulting lessons are painfully cringe-inducing. Which is why the policy exists: to protect the scary fencers and coaches from their own bad judgement.

• Finally, I’ve neglected my carpet collection for too long—here are a few patterns from the Anaheim Hilton:

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