I am a native Iowan who longed for more than a simple Midwestern life. I went to school in France for two years and fell in love with the people, culture, and language. Since I am a crazy woman I moved to Texas–land of Spanish-speakers–after graduation to teach French in a high school. 13 years in public school taught me a lot and gave me many leadership opportunities. In 2012, my husband, David, and I decided to take a risk and both teach part-time so we could try and build up our fencing club. It was a long, challenging road, full of sacrifice and lots of beans and rice to save money. It paid off as the club grew from 1400 square feet, to 5600, to our third location with 10 metal strips, a workout area, a full armory, and a large parent area.
One year in, when we were just starting to break even, Covid came.
We offered classes every night on Zoom and worked so hard to keep our tight-knit community together but, as more people had to drop fencing for financial reasons, we had to close CEFC. When quarantine was over, we tried to have a physical location again in a room on the top floor of a hockey center in Euless but it just wasn’t the same. We sold all our equipment to a friend in St. Louis and reluctantly closed the door on that dream.
David interviewed for other coaching positions and was hired as the sabre coach at Atlantic Fencing Academy in New Jersey. We packed up everything that would fit into our pickup and moved East. I found a job as an Instructional Designer at Seton Hall University and David also secured the Head Fencing Coach job at Wagner College. We never imagined he’d be a Division 1 NCAA coach, but here we are. I’m a Volunteer Coach there so we still get to travel together to tournaments and keep our joint involvement in the fencing world alive.
I was never able to successfully coach and compete at the same time and had given up competition for about five years to focus on the club and our fencers. Now that I no longer have the stress of club ownership, I have once again turned my focus and determination to making the Veteran World Team. Although I still miss the camaraderie of CEFC and being able to train regularly with adult fencers, I find ways of keeping my fencing skills sharp.
Although life definitely threw some curve balls, this move has been good for me. I enjoy exploring this new area and relish seeing the Raritan Bay every time I return to our apartment complex, the New York skyline as I venture farther north, and the Atlantic Ocean at Shore Points south. I now have strong opinions about pizza and know how to navigate jug handles. It doesn’t feel yet like “home” but I look forward to the kinds of adventure this new chapter will bring.