National Champions

Tuesday, 25 March 2003

last tues­day i left for Colorado Springs, CO to sup­port my team­mates at the NCAA fenc­ing cham­pi­onships. it was quite the trip. Those who drove were 4: Steve, Mad Dog, Matty, and my­self. the first 18 hours of our drive out there were fine; un­til we ar­rived in Colorado amid the af­ter­math of one of their worst bliz­zards in years. I-70 was closed 12 miles into Colorado de­spite the fact that there was nary a snowflake on the ground. we de­toured to CO-25 which was also closed. we de­toured to CO-40, closed. we ended up go­ing all the way to Pueblo and then drove north till we ar­rived in Colorado Springs. 8 miles south of Colorado Springs we fi­nally saw some snow, by the next day most of it had melted.

we beat the team out there de­spite leav­ing af­ter they did. they’re flight was laid over at St. Louis and the next day they had a con­nec­tion in Houston be­fore fi­nally get­ting into Colorado. the tour­na­ment was sup­posed to start on Thursday and con­clude on Sunday but since none of the teams could make it out on time they resched­uled and had a com­bined tour­na­ment last­ing all day sat­ur­day and all day sun­day. tough stuff with the al­ti­tude.

that left us with two full days to kill. since the Super 8 we were stay­ing at was lit­er­ally 30 feet from the Drury Inn where the rest of the team was, most of our time was spent over there goof­ing around, uti­liz­ing the hot tub, etc. Janusz was glad we were out there so we didn’t have to pay for our meals for most of the trip. we went to a bar one night, saw Chicago as a team and ate and ate and ate. the night be­fore the tour­na­ment we had a team meet­ing and every­one got their goals.

the first day of com­pe­ti­tion was in­tense. our fencers dropped a few bouts here and there, and the di­rect­ing was a bit try­ing at times, but by the end of the day we had a nice cush­ion in 1st place, al­though we still knew it was go­ing to be quite close. the 2nd and fi­nal day was a roller­coaster of emo­tion the en­tire day. we were only up by one bout in the fi­nal round with Penn State right on our heels. we needed any com­bi­na­tion of 3 ND wins or 3 PSU losses to se­cure the vic­tory. we won. there was pan­de­mo­nium. all of those clich s about win­ning and be­ing a champion…are true when you re­ally are one.

our AD Bernard took us to Carrabba’s an ber-nice Italian place in cel­e­bra­tion. once we got back to the hotel a few folks went on an al­co­hol run and a bunch of us went to the bars. i like tequila shots. we played a few games of pool, just re­laxed with our team and a few peo­ple from the other mid­west teams. then we went back to the hotel, par­tied a bit more and hit the road home. (Mad Dog drove first, he hadn’t par­taken be­cause he is on an­tibi­otics). 20 hours later we ar­rived in South Bend. ex­hausted but vic­to­ri­ous.

i can­not speak, my voice is shot from yelling. i shot plenty of footage to make a swee­t­ass video and took a ton of pic­tures. we are cham­pi­ons! i am a cham­pion! w00t!