I had a goal in the tournament to do just as well as a lefty this year as I did as a righty last year. I figured that should be an attainable goal. I won no fights last year (despite what the results say), but I fought the entire tournament without taking a break, like I do every year. If I fought the whole tournament this year, I’d reach my goal.
Someone once remarked to me that Birka is a lot like a giant fight practice. I prefer to look at it that way. The alternative would be to look at it like a giant pissing contest, which I prefer not to do. As I was looking at it like a fight practice, I decided I was going to work on my attitude. I think my attitude and my offense is what is holding me back right now in my fighting. I can improve the one with pell work. I decided to work on the other as I fought this tournament.
My first few fights I did very poorly. The down side to getting out more is I know more fighters. So every time I encountered an opponent, I thought, “Oh f***, it’s _______, they always kick my butt in practice.” My first fight was Fergus. I didn’t even remember or notice he was a lefty and got butt wrapped as a result. My first fights were all one shot one kills. Every time, I talked myself up in line, then I got out there and thought “Oh f***, it’s _______,” and then I got killed in one shot.
After going through that a bunch of times, I started getting at least one swing in before I lost.
There was one fight against a pole arm that went bad for me. I got short hafted in the forehead. It wasn’t excessively hard. I’m not sure why or what happened, but I lost time. The next thing I knew, I was crying and trying desperately to get out the following phrase, “I know it was haft, but I’m going to take it as good.” I must have looked disoriented because one of the marshals, who later introduced himself as Ken, kindly escorted me to the MOL and left me with my friend Heather who promised him she would give me water. He left and she poured me a cup, but I was afraid that if I took off my helmet, I would stop. Nobody had water with straws, so I continued fighting without drinking. I later found out that someone who was nearby when this occurred was talking about the incident with other people. He apparently said he didn’t see what the big deal was and made it sound like I was making a big deal out of nothing. I will explain by saying that crying was a natural reaction to the pain I felt and that I was trying to make as little a deal as possible so I could get back in line and keep fighting. It’s sad that there are people out there have nothing better to talk about than judging me based on negatively misinterpreting my actions.
I was a little out of it, but got back in line. I ended up behind the guy who had just hit me with the pole arm. He apologized. I said that it’s part of the game and my tears are just my body’s reaction to pain. I held no grudge and didn’t have any hard feelings (in case that wasn’t clear already).
Most of my fights after that lasted longer. I don’t know if my attitude improved, if other people were getting tired, if I was out of it and numb from the head shot with the pole arm, or my adrenaline kicked in and was causing me to feel less. I hope I wasn’t being numb. Almost all of my fights blended together. I vaguely recall fighting my squire brothers Tally and Ivan. I also fought Omega who suggested I move more. I also recalled fighting a young Bloodguard fighter twice in a row. He killed me the exact same way twice. I was really annoyed with myself for falling for the same combo twice.
At about 1:30, two and a half hours into the three hour tournament, something weird happened. I don’t know exactly why, but I found myself walking back to my room instead of getting back on line. I was very out of it. I think people talked to me, but I don’t remember who or what was said. When I got back to my room, it hit me that I didn’t finish the tournament and didn’t win a single fight. That meant I didn’t reach my goal of doing as well this year as a lefty as I did last year as a righty. I was very upset about it.
Then I tried figuring out why I left the tournament early. My two theories are that I was extremely dehydrated or that I had a mild concussion from that pole arm shot. I didn’t pay much attention to hydrating before the tournament and drank champagne the night before, so it could have been that. My pupils were normal, I didn’t have double vision, and only had a slight headache. I have never had a concussion before (to my knowledge) but it didn’t seem to fit the description.
I lost 42 fights this year before I quit. Last year I lost 45. I heard unofficially that I ranked 58 this year. I also heard, unofficially, that my squire brothers did well for themselves. Ioannes came in 2nd place (even though he spent 20 minutes out due to an injury) and Ivan came in 11th! Even though I didn’t do well, I can still take delight in the fact that they did well!
In other news, Honig, who is in my household, was elevated to a well-deserved Laurel! Her elevation was wonderfully planned. Everyone who escorted her in to court had a peacock feather (her heraldry is a peacock). Someone even handed them out to the royalty! It was a wonderful way to show our support and I am very happy for her!
It was nice to see so many friends and family! The only down side was I didn’t have enough time to hang out with everybody as much as I would have liked. I also am extremely grateful to one friend in particular who was kind enough to not only drive me to and from Birka, but also share a hotel room with me, allowing me to attend! Overall, I enjoyed myself and hope to do better in the tournament next year.