(Kelley) For my very first blog post, it was tough to figure out what to write. There are so many things I can tell you about fencing. I’ve been doing it almost 20 years now, so it’s extremely difficult to figure out where to start. There are so many wonderful aspects of this amazing sport, but with that comes disappointments and frustration. I imagine every sport has their fair share of highs and lows, ups and downs, peaks and valleys. I can’t tell you how many times after a disappointing finish that I have thought to myself, why do I do this to myself? Why do I keep at this even when I clearly suck (I am always rather hard on myself). Surely there must be something better out there that I can be doing with my life? But after I calm down, take a breath, and can clear my head (sometimes this process takes days, weeks even), I always realize that I stick at it because I live for those glorifying moments (as few as they are) when you come out on top at long last; when all the hard work, sweat, and tears pay off. When they put that medal over your head, or play your anthem, it makes it all worth it. Fencing is an incredibly humbling sport. You are constantly reminded you are mortal and should never be complacent, because your time on top is fleeting. In fact, you can turn around the next day and lose to everyone (trust me, I’ve been there). Enjoy the win while you can, but the hard work can never stop. Because once you’ve reached the top, everyone is gunning for you. In fact, your job becomes that much tougher. People don’t fence you the same way they used to. There’s a fire in their eyes now, and they WANT to beat you so badly. You have to constantly prove why you deserve to be there. But along with that, comes their respect. To earn the respect of your peers is a feeling that lasts a lifetime. I get to travel all over the world, see and experience things that some people only dream of. I get to do something that I love with my sister, whom I love. We feel each other’s pain, but bask in each other’s successes. As a team, I believe we can do anything together. So I guess what I am trying to say is, you have to find your own reasons as to why you stick at it, but just know that I would do it all over if I could. Disappointments and all… Bring it on!