Driving home to Atlanta from Missouri was tough. It was the day after Christmas, I was tired, and the road was uneventful. After I got into Kentucky (I-57 to I 24 East), I put on Lil Jon's "Crunkjuice," figuring that getting crunk would at least keep me awake.
One of the tracks has a repeated line (I know, which ones aren't) that disses people who talk about folks behind their back. That immediately brought my mind to the last tournament of 2008 - the Dunwoody Southern Star. I came off a disappointing showing in Colorado Springs at the NAC C, and wanted some personal redemption at this local event. Due to waking up early to referee the E and Under event before, or the alcohol I had the night before, or the stress from traveling from ATL to DEN to COS back to ATL and then on to ORD and then a delayed red eye flight back to ATL, I crapped the bed in the pools. Worse, the score in the round of 64 DE was too close for comfort. Even with a four touch lead, I felt like the new kid in school wearing khakis trying to hold in a bout of mudbutt. Then I lost in the round of 32 to the #1 seed.
Losing was bad, feeling like a hack was annoying, but what pissed me off was hearing people talk about me when they saw the standings after pools. I am sure it has happened before - my 2008 fencing career was a dogpile compared to 2007 - but it has never been a relevant issue in the past.
When I was a U, not placing at the bottom was a victory. Plus I had to win my pool in an open to secure a high enough seeding just to get an E. Now, here I am as a B struggling to pull .500 out of pools. I was in better shape last year, but I also had a less stressful job (and admittedly, less money). It seems like my fencing is always at the mercy of the time vs. money resource battle.
In 2009, I don't want to spend weeks on end fasting and abstaining from fun just to place at locals, but I am going to work harder to stay in shape, and keep a positive attitude. My success is going to be doing the right little things all year, rather than cramming them in the week before an event.
And to the haters out there... to paraphrase Lil Jon, I'm in fencing to have fun and win - you're in this to hate and lose.