As I sit finally on the plane flying home, Billy Boyd’s “The Last Goodbye” playing in the background I am filled with so much emotion, adrenaline, exhaustion and intense satisfaction it’s so very hard to get out. I just got through security with my armor & weapons. The security guys recognized me from my interview on CTV News last night. “You’re the girl who loves the Violence!” Then they proceeded to look through my bags, enjoying the armor & weaponry, which was awesome but still, I almost missed my plane lol.
This past weekend has been such a great experience. I got to be on the field with my brothers as an equal. A viable team member in every way, in a full blown, International competition. And while I still need so much more experience to be anywhere near the caliber of any of the men on the USA team, I know now, without a doubt, I will get there. It will take a lot of hard work, a lot of hard hits and that’s perfectly OK with me!
I got to fight some of the biggest men in this sport, I got to face almost all the teams at least once and even though I didn’t get to face Scallagrim actually on the field (I was the reserve fighter), it is one of my biggest goals for next year.
I have to say, that as the first time this tournament has allowed women to fight with the men, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect in response to me taking the field with the team. I was more than pleasantly surprised. From the moment Regis Dufour picked me up from the airport til the time I climbed into our taxi back, I got nothing but support, happiness, congratulations and feelings of welcome. From EVERY SINGLE TEAM there.
No one ‘took it easy’ on me. No one dis-counted me and I got put in the dirt just like every other fighter there. I did get some really amazing help, suggestions for improvement and best of all some great compliments. My first fight, one of the Quebec fighters came up to me after the fight told me he was the one I laid into with my voulge. “I took two hits from you, I did not wish to take any more. You hit with more power than I ever expected”. I grappled with one of the Montreal team, stayed up and kept him tied up til we won. He told me I was a tough fight & he did not expect me to engage him first. After all the fighting was done another member of the Montreal team came up and asked how old I was, he had heard I was older than he thought. After I told him I am 48, he told me he wanted me to talk to his mother, he wants her to fight. (This both elated me and made me cringe lol) He said she is built a lot like me and is very strong and he wants her to come out and fight. I am pretty sure he would be the only Mother/Son team in this sport at the moment lol. I guess it is true I could have given birth to any number of fighters that are out there under 30!
And finally today, I was in our first of 2 final rounds. I got pinned against the fence by two fighters. One tried to take me down and couldn’t. Then another came to help. Neither could get me to go down. My team came in and took care of both of them. Then I was free to turn and start hammering away at the backs of the couple left. From the moment I was against the fence I hear my teammates (both USA teams) screaming my name, telling me to stay up, to not go down, to hold on. Then when I was free shouting to turn and bring the pain. I did, and got the final guy to go down.
I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing it felt, as I am pounding away at the other team, hearing our guys going crazy with pride that I was still up. I knew in that moment, I was built for this. I truly AM the girl who loves the Violence lol. And I have found my place. It’s on the melee field, surrounded by men who want to do violent things to me, and THAT is the best, most crazy, comfortably uncomfortable, insanely unpredictable place I can ever hope I get to be.
I would also like to say I am truly happy I got to fight Longsword this weekend as well. While I did not win the fight, Bene Robitaille gave me more than a few helpful tips (aka bruises) to help me gain more experience. I learned a ton and also know that come Gulf Wars, my dance card is going to be full with training from Alex & Rob. I will also be headed to Seattle to work with Aveloc for a training weekend before Poland if I can find a way to fit it into my schedule. Between these three powerhouses and training at home as much as possible with the Wolfpack,I know I can get to the point I want to be. It’s going to be hard, long training hours but it will be worth it.
I have to say Thank You to all the guys who fought with me and against me. Every one of you made this weekend amazing but there are a few that deserve some special Amy Lovin’.
Alex. You kept me excited about this tournament for almost a year. When I got here you took care of me. You housed me, you fed me, you supported me, you told me what I needed to hear, both good and bad, and you did it all while you were sick, enduring a broken finger because of my gauntlet and while missing your wedding anniversary with your beautiful wife, the most awesome Amy we both adore. I can never thank you enough for all you have done to help me get to this very moment 🙂
Regis. You made sure the USA teams were so well taken care of. You picked almost all of us up at the airport, you got us to our various hotels. You gave us great places to eat. You shared your amazing mead and you got us rides back to the airport. You are a master at coordinating, and I run events for a living so I know ;). Thank you for helping make this so easy for us all. You & yours my friend, are welcome to come visit me in Utah anytime you like. I will make sure you are as well taken care of!
David, Simon, Dmitriy, Rich, Jeff, & Derek. You guys ROCK! I never left that field without feeling the love. You helped me learn so much this weekend. Every fight I learned something new. Every time we walked off the field, one or more of you gave me insight into how to do something better, or how to tweak a move just a little bit more effectively. Not once did I ever feel like I didn’t contribute in some way, or feel like ‘I did ok for being a girl’, because you all made me feel like a regular part of the team, which is what I have always wanted.
BobbyD, Don, Sam, Trey, Rodney, Gabriel and Andrew. You never once took it easy on me. You pushed me, helped me, teased with me and supported me no matter what. I love you guys, and I truly can’t wait to fight with you, whenever you’ll have me 🙂
I know to some of you, it seems kind of silly, being so happy just getting to be one of the guys, but truly, that is the biggest compliment any of these men could ever give me. The struggle for women in this sport has not been easy, and will continue to be a tough path. But this weekend has shown me that integrated teams can and do work, even more so than just within your own team region.
Women just need more experience fighting. Which is no different than any of the guys were in the beginning.
You can study film, you can do walk throughs, you can listen to suggestions on how to do things all day long. But until you are in the thick of it, getting a faceplate full of dirt or being shield punched in the face over and over again, you can not grasp exactly how to do things. Real time experience is paramount for us. We already have to overcome so many things just to be able to walk on the field, never miss an opportunity to learn from the men!
I have posted all the photos I took but I also have several videos to upload as well. I will post them on my YouTube page as soon as I can.
Thank You all for getting this far. Now I can get some sleep on this flight since I managed to get all this down 😉