I have a simple story to tell you.  I’ve fenced at the Purdue Open for many years, now.  I have had good and bad results throughout the years, but I’ve never lost track of the notion that I fence for fun.  I can only fail if I am not having fun.  Certainly, I work to improve my skills, and I thank the ever patient Maestro Paul Geraci for his direction and instruction.  At the end of the event, however, I must always remember that I measure success using the “…did I have fun” yardstick.

At this, the 2013 Fall Open, I had plenty of fun.  I was fencing well, and I was meeting players I had not seen in months.  One of those fencers was Cesare, a young grad student I had not seen since the last Purdue event.  As we shook hands I saw a huge smile come across this face.

“Mark, I have to tell you.  I am so happy.  I have won my first bout ever!”

That reminded me why I fence and why I love fencing.  I thought of all the fencers who hoped to get medals that day.  I thought of the fencers who hoped to improve their USFA rating.  I thought of myself, and the goals I have.  After hearing him, I was humbled.  Happiness had overtaken Cesare, and it is happiness and that  all fencers hope to find on the strip.

No doubt one day Cesare’s bar will be raised, but I’ll always know that happiness is happiness whether you are first place or last.  If you have done your best work then happiness is a reward that will outlast any ribbon or medal.  MB

Cesare (l) versus Mark Brandyberry.

Cesare (l) versus Mark Brandyberry.