Salient: An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University, Wellington Vol. 24, No. 6. 1961.
The Changing Face of Fencing
The Changing Face of Fencing
In the good old days the firm of Ellis & Co. could be relied on to win the fencing shield at Winter Tournament, preserving at least some tattered shreds of pride for us. In time, however, the old firm disbanded, for even the greatest academic longevity falls prey to the ravages of old age. With the new decade there was a new team to represent Vic., and thereby hangs a sorry tale: at Christchurch. August 1960 (a date that will be remembered by future generations along with Thermopylae and The Somme), tragedy struck, as our team were smitten to the ground by Canterbury.
From the Olympian Heights of their (enforced) retirement, the old firm blasphemed: Tony Ellis himself, aroused from his state of corpulent senility, fulminated long and wrathfully; he had always won by inveigling his opponents into a Bacchanalian orgy before the match, and the same thing should have been done this time; alcohol was cheap, and results well repaid the initial investment. Chris Beeby, rusticated from Victoria, but still determined to finish his Home Science course at London University, was prostrated by news of the catastrophe, as was "Pom," who is still recovering in a Stokes Valley Darby and Joan Retreat. Kent Beard was so upset that at the recent National Drinking Horn Championships he swallowed glass and all, thus setting up a new National Record.
But already a brighter day has dawned, and the present Vic. team await with confidence the onslaught of the visiting Australian team this May. Star attraction is Richard D. Peterson himself, the only person in the club to take himself seriously. Second-in-agility is Ross Martin, who dashes into the fray to his family motto of "A Beer, A Beer!" This fencer is being closely watched by National Selectors, who have hope that this season will see him score his first point against an opponent. Chris. Home can be relied on to introduce an element of farce to the gathering; recently returned from the Pole, where he was coached by Professor Dotti Pilotti, we believe that this year he will be able to distinguish between the President and his opponent. Richard Hall provides entertainment of a totally different nature; unhandicapped by a petty observance of any rules of style or technique, and apparently unswayed by considerations of humanity, he proceeds to carve his victims with a detached air that belies the fires of insatiable ambition that consume his soul. In strong support of these stalwarts are Graeme Scott, Selwyn Churcher and Geoff. Low, whose main handicap is a childish belief that in a Varsity team ability is more important than capacity.
Among the females of the species come sabreur Gerda Bucher, who at a pinch can also fight foil, although her technique is the same for both weapons. Lorna MacKenzie, the baby of the party, has a youthful bloom that lulls her opponents into somnolence or enchantment (depending on their sex), making them easy meat. Dale Youren, straight from the country, gallops into battle with stock-whip and foil, while Sarah Tidey, in spite of a preference for Vodka and Russian fashion magazines, fights orthodox Italian style with energy that fully compensates for lack of efficiency.
In short, the Vic. team has arisen from the ashes to still greater heights than before, and we assure all interested non-participants that the honour of our University rests safely in its hands.