Hurricane Harvey

We were thinking of visiting our parents in San Antonio last weekend, when we heard on the news that a huge hurricane was going hit the Texas coastline.  We thought it probably won’t be that bad; after all there wasn’t even a cloud in the sky. The forecast called for 100% chance of rain for at least 4 days, but it rains in Houston all the time so what’s the big fuss about? But, everyone was in a panic. People were lined up in all of the grocery stores and gas stations, buying up as much as they could of just about everything like bottled water, canned goods, batteries, and gasoline. We had never experienced “hurricane behavior” before, and we couldn’t help but think people were overreacting a bit. They were acting as if a zombie apocalypse was coming… not a few rain drops.

Boy! Were we ever wrong!

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Hurricane Harvey reached Houston on Friday evening, August 25, 2017, after making landfall in Rockport (about 200 miles southwest of Houston) and the rain didn’t stop pouring until the following Tuesday. As the rain kept pounding down, the water level quickly rose above our entire driveway, our yard, and soon, our house was surrounded by a moat (which actually, made us start hoping there weren’t any alligators nearby). We were on an island and all we could do was watch as the water inched its way to our door. By Sunday, we thought for sure that our house wasn’t going to make it. After all, houses just down the street were already seeing flood waters come through their doors. The whole weekend was spent waiting. We had every towel in the house stuffed up against the front and back doors – hoping that would buy us some time. We packed a couple of small suitcases (to include one that was almost full of dog food) and stacked everything on top of counters, bookcases, appliances, and shelves trying to save things should the water come in. We couldn’t sleep because we would keep waking up every hour expecting our beds to be IMG_5612floating down the street.  We couldn’t workout much either because the storm wouldn’t allow us to leave the house! Miraculously, the water never entered our house! It was an inch from our door, but somehow, it never came in!

The rain started to let up on Tuesday and finally we could relax. Sadly, many people were severely impacted by the destruction of Hurricane Harvey. Fortunately, we were one of the lucky ones. People who lived a few miles away lost everything. Even today, almost a week after the hurricane hit, there are still houses under water with many roads, highways, and businesses closed. We felt more than IMG_5636ever that we needed to help our fellow Houstonians somehow beyond making a contribution to the Red Cross (we did that, too). We teamed up with our friends from Newzill, made the trek downtown to the George R. Brown Convention Center (a large convention center being used as a shelter for 10,000 people who had to abandon their homes) and handed out compression socks to the brave, hard-working volunteers, paramedics, and first-responders that are working so hard to help everyone in-need around the clock. We couldn’t believe how many people had been affected by the hurricane. There were so many different volunteers walking around trying to do anything that they could to help; it was heartwarming. Two weeks ago it seemed like our country was being torn apart by hate from the riots in Charlottesville. Fortunately, this past week, the best of humanity shined a light on Houston and the Texas Gulf coast.

We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who volunteered (and continue to volunteer) to help our neighbors survive Harvey’s destruction.

Mind over Matter

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Courtney

 

Have you ever had a problem that you can’t seem to think your way through?  I mean, something that seriously affects your success at work or school? In school, it might be that you just can’t seem to understand math and you need math to graduate or at work, perhaps your co-worker is the biggest drama queen that has ever lived but you need her support to complete a project on time.  Most people think that fencing isn’t really a career but it has been my career for 12 years.  As with most careers there are  hills and valleys but you have to hope the trend line has a positive slope.  With a great deal of confidence, I can say that my fencing career has had a positive slope. While that is true, I am struggling with one major problem: winning in PRIORITY*. Flash back to the 2012 London Olympics in the Bronze medal bout with the Russian team. If you remember that bout (and if you don’t, you can still find it on You Tube) in the final bout, I scored the winning touch in the PRIORITY period. YIPPEE! We won a Bronze medal. Life couldn’t get any better. Fast forward to the Rio Olympics, in almost an identical situation (albeit not the Bronze medal bout), I lost the PRIORITY touch against Romania (btw, I also lost in PRIORITY in my individual bout in Rio).  As the anchor for the USA women’s epee team, my discomfort with PRIORITY situations is a real problem.

I am determined to overcome the fear of PRIORITY!  My goal for this season is to work on developing a strategy to overcome it; to marginalize it and to wipe it off the face of the earth! I’m open to your ideas! If you have strategies that you have utilized to conquer this fear, please send them to me (you can comment on this blog post or send me a message on Facebook or Instagram. More to come! Check back to see what I’m working on!!


*[For you, non-fencers out there, PRIORITY occurs when regulation time has ended and the score is tied. The referee flips a coin and the fencer who wins the coin toss, has PRIORITY.  The fencers then have one more minute to fence and if no touch is scored (rarely ever happens) then the fencer with priority wins. However, this is a “sudden death” period where the fencer who scores the first touch, wins.]

Strategy for Future Success

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Kelley

I have been competing at the international level since I was 15 years old. Now I am 29. When I was in the cadet and junior divisions, I was always at the top. Now that I am solely in the senior division, it feels as though my success has plateaued. For 14 years, my training regimen has been pretty much the same: I fence, I do a ton of footwork, and I run and swim for cross training and aerobic conditioning.

After the Rio Olympics, I knew I still had something to conquer on the strip; I still had a hunger to win but I knew I had to approach things differently in order to reach the top!  Albert Einstein is quoted as once saying, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”  With this in mind, my mother and father pulled us together last Fall (2016) and we closely examined successful fencers to find out what it is they are doing differently than Courtney and me. Accordingly, we examined the workout practices and strategies of many international teams from countries like France, Korea, Russia, Estonia, Italy, China, and Romania.  In general, the athletes on these teams have three huge advantages:

  1. The athletes are professionals – they are paid a salary to train and fence (some are officially employed by their country’s military).
  2. The teams are surrounded by other professionals such as coaches and trainers who are dedicated to their success.
  3. The teams train and live at national or regional training and fencing centers that are supported by the state.

Recognizing that fencing will never be a state-sponsored sport in the USA, earlier this year (2017) teamHurley (which includes me, Courtney, my mother, and father) began to develop a strategy to address these three issues in a truly American, entrepreneurial way.

Follow us for more details about what this new strategy is, how it is coming together, and what the results are!