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The strange case of the impervious fencer

Alex had quite a weekend of fencing. On Saturday, we went to Dalton, MA for an epee open at the Berkshire Buccaneers. Really nice people (especially coach Bernie Desautels) and a small but very lively event. Alex came in 2nd, losing to Sandy Turoff 15/10.

Sunday was the more interesting of the days. David took him to Northampton for an "E" foil tournament that had all the charm of the night of the living dead--60 foil fencers, not enough strips, not enough refs, each flight slogging through to the next, with very little sense of getting anywhere. There were quite a few BFC fencers so there was no lack of conversation and comraderie. Alex came in tied for 3rd losing to a very young fencer who pretty clearly was wearing a chest protector between his jacket and lame. He was impervious to hits. The blade bounced off, veered off, broke, but only occasionally did the light go off! Alex tried everything--from the banal to the sublime--in an effort to land points. He flicked, leapt, squatted, lunged, and fleched, all to little effect. He broke 2 blades on the teflon kid. And at the end of this frustrating bout, he scored about 20% of the points he should have earned. Both David and Alex were so worked up, even after a 2 hour drive, that they didn't defuse for hours after they arrived home.

This morning I was looking at the USFA site and on the top of the main page, I read: The US Fencing Association Executive Committee has passed a motion stating that "No fencer may wear any rigid covering outside the jacket or knickers." At least they acknowledge that it's a problem. So, what are they going to do about it?

In Harvard news, the dean of the Ed School, Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, resigned today, effective June 30th. She's had a tumultuous 3 years at HGSE and, despite many largely self-inflicted wounds, has had some worthwhile ideas. Where all this will lead is anyone's guess. I'm curious to see who they select to be the interim dean. That will be telling.

Next big trip is RPI Open on April 2nd, then the U19 team qualifier, the Junior sectional qualifiers, and the NAC in Chattanooga. Phew, all this for a family that hardly ever travels!

In the midst of all the fencing, I get to fly to Montreal on April 13th, to spend a day at AERA. We're having a reception at the HEPG booth to celebrate the Harvard Educational Review's 75th anniversary special issue, Education Past and Present. We've invited former board members, authors, HGSE faculty, and staff. Should be loads of fun--I'm so looking forward to seeing former board members and meeting authors with whom I've corresponded.