Next weekend is the first Div 1 NAC of the 2013-2014 season. What steps do you take to make sure you’re prepared before a big event? Here are some of the fencing peripherals on my mind as the big day approaches.
Six weeks out: Register (Read my lips: No triple fees!), buy airfare, and make hotel arrangements (hopefully with roommates).
One week out: Wash your whites. It takes mine nearly two days to dry, so Saturday afternoons are the only practical time to do so. I like when my whites are extra sparkly at a tournament; it helps me feel prepared. Plus, I like to make friends at national events, and that’s a lot easier when I don’t reek of fencing juice.
Five days out: Check that all your equipment is working. It’s probably not. Fix whatever is broken and make a shopping list of any parts you might run out of.
Four days out: What do you like to eat before you fence? Buy it now and take it with you, if it’s not too perishable. I have enough trouble as it is making myself eat before I fence; the last thing I need is to deal with strange hotel food the morning of a big tournament.
Three days out, or whenever is your last practice day: Load all your fencing gear out of your locker and into your travel bag. Check everything twice. Remember to pack tools and spare parts so you can replace tip screws and tighten pommel nuts stripside.
Two days out: Eat a lot of carbs for dinner. Pack your toiletries bag: if you wear contacts, bring extras (Once I had to lend my glasses to a similarly nearsighted teammate). If you’re traveling east, go to bed and wake up early so you don’t have trouble changing time zones.
Last day before the event, or travel day: It can be hard to eat healthily on the road, but I’m always much happier when I take a little extra time to find food that’s filling but not heavy. When I arrive in the host city, I head to the venue before I go to the hotel so I can get my mask and body cords checked and buy any equipment I need. Lines for armory and vendors are both dramatically shorter in the evening than they are during large morning events.
Then the real fun begins!
Is there anything on this list that you’ll be adding to your routine? What have I missed that’s a mandatory part of your packing ritual? Leave a comment and share!