Saturday, April 21, 2012

Olympic European Qualifiers, Bratisvlava

No Olympics - now what? First of all, some thanks...

I suppose to some extent the Olympic goal was possibly a bridge too far from a starting point of having begun the sport at the ripe age of 18 in a country without a recent international pedigree in fencing. Furthermore, this was not necessarily my explicit personal goal but instead it was rather to push myself to see what I could achieve. As an external watermark of achievement, in this brief lull of reflection, I'm proud that I was selected to participate and that I participated to the best of my ability.

Thanks for all your kind words of support over the last few days! More especially I'd like to thank all of you for your support, which took so many different forms, over the last ten years or so. Thanks especially to my family for their constant love and encouragement; to all the great friends I made through the sport in Ireland who helped foster this passion for the sport within me; to my club-mates and coaches at US Metro who've helped me achieve this level; to all the wonderful friends I've met in my time in France; and of course, Laura, who has been a constant support and has bore the brunt of the fencing-induced mood-swings, depressions and poverty over these last 3 years. I remember particularly today my number 1 fan - my grandmother - who died last year and those friends who were taken from us too young.

I'm happy with how I fenced today and I feel I reached my own personal goal of leaving content to have no regrets and achieving one of my best international performances. Somewhat analogous of my international career at certain moments key decisions and luck didn't always come my way but that is the flawed and masochistic sport I chose.

Today really reminded me of the brutal nature of this and to varying extents all sport. That such happiness/despair can rest on the trajectory of wildly-bending shards of metal, the interpretation of referees, a minute twitch of a muscle propelling the sabre towards it's target, the endemic corruption involved in any international sport governed by a poorly defined set of conventions... And yet I can't quite bring myself to hate it. I think I'm in an abusive relation with this sport and I, like 99% of the participants, am the battered spouse. I suppose then the only question becomes when to leave it and how...

But now as one arbitrary cycle comes to a close, it's a moment to reflect and to allow myself a moment of pride (if I may be so self-indulgent) and decide what to do next. Perhaps, I'll even start writing a blog.




JH said...

Really well written and inspiring post Owen. It's been too long since we spoke. We should really catchup.

Plus you should really get on board this blogging thing. It's the latest fad! (At least, that's the kids are saying these days!)

Claudia says, "Why don't you just say, 'I miss you!'" Lousy broads, I tell ya!

Alexandra Lolies said...

I just read this. It made me sad. And momentarily made me lose all hope. And then I got over it.
Nicely written.

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