Here I sit at one of my favorite coffeehouses on the last day of 2014, reflecting back on this year and all it has brought. Most of it good and exciting, some of it not so much. Here’s my list of the events that had the most impact on my life these past 365 days.
8. Adopting Sasha and Ivan, the CEFC SabreCats. We lost Mia the SabreCat unexpectedly in May. She was the CEFC mascot; everyone was heartbroken over it. We adopted Sasha shortly after in the hopes that she would help us get over the loss. She did. But then we noticed that she was lonely and decided to get her a little brother a few months later. Ivan is the friendliest, sweetest cat we have ever met. I get regular threats from people at the club who say that they are going to kidnap him.
7. Darth Vader at the Fort Worth Opera Gala. Coordinating the Star Wars fight scene for the opener to the Fort Worth Opera Gala in September gave our club a one-of-a-kind experience. We got a spot on Good Morning Texas because of it. A lot of people who wouldn’t normally have ever thought fencing is in our metropolitan area now know we exist. We do a LOT of demos at libraries, schools, even the local hockey games, but this was exposure on an unprecedented scale.
6. Going to Boston for the Vet camp and staying for the High Performance camp. This taught me a couple of things, most notably that I am now a Vet fencer. 8 consecutive days of camp is a BAD idea. Taking a day off in the middle to go sight-seeing with a friend taught me that it’s ok (and necessary) to stop and recharge. I also learned that I can do more physically than I think I can. That’s dangerous.
5. Rediscovering Wonder Woman. She has become my inspiration. I wanted to be Wonder Woman when I was a kid and discovered I still do. She is a tough, ferocious warrior. I got so crazy for her this year that I got numerous Wonder Woman Christmas gifts and briefly considered getting a tattoo in her honor. Still might. Just no money right now. Is there a Kickstarter fund for body art?
4. Learning to ride horses. I haven’t started as a beginner in anything for far too long. Learning to ride English has been so much fun. I have enjoyed starting a new skill from scratch and find that I am far more philosophical about my mistakes these days. Thank goodness!
3. Posting the Take it Like a Man article on this blog. That started a serious, unexpected s***storm. Up until that post I had no idea how powerful my words can be. It caused some serious backlash and truthfully made me a little more tentative to stick my neck out there. I usually stir up trouble behind the scenes. Not used to the “being the top post on the fencing thread on Reddit” thing. But it also showed me that it’s a topic that generates a TON of discussion and passion. That’s a good thing.
2. Earning two Silver medals in Vet WS events at the December NAC in Dallas. Joining the ranks of Veteran fencers after 10 years with the “young’uns” has been an incredibly satisfying experience. Fencing has never been so much fun or so satisfying. It’s amazing to get to rub elbows with World Team members at events, to battle it out ferociously then go for dinner together afterward. To get to know these people from so many walks of life who love fencing and take it seriously, but not in the same way the “kids” do. Fencing Vet events has been a motivator like no other and renewed my drive and desire for excellence on the fencing strip. Earning those medals was an incredible experience. And hearing Ellen O’Leary say “Kate Sierra? I know that name. You’ll be up here a lot.” as she hung one of them around my neck was something that I’ll treasure forever. OMG! Ellen O’Leary knows who I am!!
1. Moving Cutting Edge Fencing to our new location. This is definitely the event that affected life the most this year. It was terrifying to take the financial risk to expand our club to a location four times larger. But it has worked. OMG. It worked. Having more space of course allows us to teach sabre fencing to more people. We have more than doubled our member list this past year. But it’s so much more than that. The larger space has enabled us to work our athletes harder, which has produced great results for our club this season. We have our first Division 1 fencer. We have our first fencer who will go off to college and fence. We have fencers with points on various National lists. We have a budding armourer and referees. We have our first Veteran National medalist. We have an awesome core group of adult fencers, some of whom are joining the Vet ranks. And we have a horde of young, energetic sabrists scurrying around who can’t wait to show us what they can achieve. It’s so exciting, I can hardly stand it.
If you were to make your own “Magic 8” list of your top events of 2014, what would they be?