It is the end of an era.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose: A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to search and a time to give up; a time to keep and a time to throw away, A time to rend and a time to sew; a time to be silent and a time to speak, A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
It is with the heaviest of hearts that I announce today that Cutting Edge Fencing will not be in operation in its current form for the foreseeable future. We did our best for the past 8 months during the COVID pandemic but it is no longer economically feasible for us to continue to keep our doors open.
CEFC was founded as an experiment - to see if there was a place in the fencing ecosystem for a club whose core values were community, mutual respect, and a love for the sport. A place where short-term competitive success was never allowed to come at the expense of long-term athlete development. A place dedicated to the advancement of the athlete as a whole person, and one where people of all ages, backgrounds, abilities, and desires would be made to feel welcome. All that was needed to be a part of this community was a love for the sport and a willingness to work hard.
And we succeeded.
That’s an important point, so I’m going to say it again. We, all of us together, succeeded. Those goals have been met.
We had some help along the way, but this little club, all by itself over here in Tarrant County, Texas, in what many have derisively described as a “fencing desert” is recognized as a leader in our sport. It took some time to build the necessary mass of fencers, and for them to start gaining the experience needed, but there is no questioning the success of the SabreCats. Fencers representing CEFC have won competitive accolades at every level of domestic competition. We grew into one of the dominant sabre clubs in our region and a force to be reckoned with nationally. And through it all, our fencers have consistently and perennially demonstrated the utmost in sportsmanship and teamwork. Our junior fencers are consistently recruited by the most selective and team oriented universities. And our vets, well, the competitive record just speaks for itself. Our practices and methodologies have been recognized, and subjected to the ultimate compliment - they’re being copied.
We started in November 2004, almost 16 years ago to the day, in the upstairs room of the old North Richland Hills Recreation Center, and we close today in our third full time space - each bigger and more welcoming than the last. CEFC is more than a place to meet, but that physical meeting space is important. What is even more important is how new waves of athletes and their families have helped turn those spaces into reality. From building floors, to painting and sanding, to all of the various little details, the physical locations have been the result of a lot of hard work and effort on the part of the community. The last space we had was called one of the best spaces for the training of fencing in the country by everyone who comes to see it.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of musing about what might have been. And yes, before the coronavirus pandemic, we were on the cusp of even more amazing successes. We did our best to adopt to the changing circumstances. We even helped to develop some innovative methodologies that are going to revolutionize how our sport is trained for in the future.
Let us however reflect not on what has been lost, but what has been gained. For each of us that is a bit different.
What are the next steps forward for our community? Where do we go from here?
Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to that question. We gather here, socially distant, and spread out, in the shadow of a pandemic that is wrecking havoc on the social fabric of both our little fencing community and our entire country. But know this. Each one of you will ALWAYS be a SabreCat. You’ll take that with you and it can be source of pride and strength for you in the days, weeks, months and years to come. Different parts of this group are going to end up doing different things. And that’s ok. Doing what you need to do has always been part of the SabreCat way.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the one who points out how the strong person stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the one who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends themselves in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if they fail, at least fails while daring greatly.”
Go forth and dare greatly.