On The Fence About The Club Presidency

, , , , , , | Learning | March 24, 2020

This happened in fencing club at our boarding school. We’re rather laid-back and relaxed, but at some point, another school challenged us to a match, which required us to send a student representative with the coach to help settle the details. So, the coach brought it up in a fencing lesson, stating that he needed someone to become the “club president” and help him with the details.

Our boarding school has a quirk where we call the Year Twelves “Juniors” and the Year Thirteens “Seniors.”

Someone proposed that there be an election, which prompted me to cast my vote for my enthusiastic junior. But that idea was shot down as the strongest fencer in the group decided that we should have a tournament with the club captainship as the prize, which was an even more popular idea.

Then, just when we were putting on our gear and preparing for the tournament, one of my fellow seniors argued that as we seniors were preparing to go to university, club captainship should fall to us as we needed it more on our personal statements than the juniors did. They could have their turn as club captain next year, when they themselves became seniors.

Somehow, they convinced the coach, mostly because other clubs in school had a similar precedent. I wasn’t very happy with the decision, as I considered it childish and the two seniors vying for the club captain position were basically people who joined the club at the same time as the juniors. In fact, they never even held a sword until they joined the club, unlike half of the juniors, who were veteran fencers in their previous schools. They just wanted the position to burnish their personal statements and make themselves more attractive to universities.

Regardless, the coach did not seem to notice that those two were blatantly after the position for selfish reasons and named the only other senior in the club president: me. 

He was backed unanimously by the juniors, leaving the two other seniors stunned. They then tried to argue against my appointment, but the coach shot them down. I was the last member of last year’s team, the oldest and seniormost student and the one with the most attendance, and although I wasn’t the best fencer, I was the only veteran fencer among the three seniors.

I didn’t really want the position, but I could not deny being greatly amused at the way my fellow seniors’ faces fell. Still, I offered the two of them the opportunity to claim club captainship in a mini-tournament between the three of us. Two easy victories later and I was crowned club captain. Somehow they never really came back to the club during my captainship.

The coach used a balloon sword he picked up from a fencing shop to “knight” me and offered it to me as my “sword of office.” After I stepped down as captain after the year, I was allowed to keep the sword as a farewell gift.

According to my juniors, it has now become a tradition for the coach to “knight” new club captains with such balloon swords and that they’re allowed to keep the blade after they retire.

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