With all that happened during rapier champions, the thing that will stick out the most was Evan calling out, "I believe in you daddy!" during my semi-final fight with Rowan Hershberger. At that moment, no matter what then end results of the day were, I was the winner. This kid, my son, he's just the best I could have ever wished for.
I started the day doing single passes with friends. I had wanted to get a pass in with every member of the Order of the Golden Rapier present. I missed a few through the day but will hunt them down at a later time.
There were 68 fencers entered into the tournament, so I had a pool of 9. In my pool were, D.Sterling McGuire, Collin Monro, Thomas V. Berger, Bridgette Yvette, Josh Hoh and others. I was fortunate to come out of the pool.
In the round of 16, I faced Juliean Galak, M.T. Murphy, and Meg Swanton. Good grief, they are all so good. I made it to the semi finals where I ran into the killing machine that it's Rowan. At the start of our last pass is when I heard Evan call out to me. I asked her for a moment and went over to give him a big hug. She asked if I was ready to resume. At that point, nothing mattered more than trying to make him proud of me, as a fencer, but more so as a dad. Rowan bested me to take her place in the finals, rightfully.
After the bout, I was a mess for all good reasons. The love from my family, making them proud; adrenalin crash; and the emotions of knowing this was the last time I'd be fencing like that in a tournament, as I'd decided months ago this was my last tournament until I can get my ankle fixed. I started fencing in the SCA as a way to keep moving after I smashed the ankle in 2002. The pain after activity now impacts my life, and I hate having to tell Evan that I can't do things with him because of the pain. He's such a good kid, so thoughtful and caring, and I want to do all the things I can with him.
But heck, what a way to go out, doing a thing that I love. At court, Evan was called up and received a token for being inspiring. I was then presented with The Cloak of Perseverance by the Queen and the Ladies of the Rose:
It was a very good day.