I’m a member of a club you’re not in.
It’s an elite club, one with very, very few members, and it took me a lot of pain and suffering to get into it. In fact, I’m the only person I know who’s a member, and I’m perfectly OK with that. I don’t want you to be in my club. And neither do you.
No, I’m not talking about the club of people who almost missed their own Harvard final round, which I am a reluctant member of. I’m talking about the club of people who’ve broken a bone, mid-round and mid-performance.
It was the Quarterfinal round of St. Joseph University’s Villiger Invitational, and our Duo performance was going well. As it should have been, too; Nick and I had practiced a lot, and it showed, especially during the upcoming sword fight sequence. Slash Left, Slash Right, Wide Swing, Jump, Block Up, Fall to a Knee. We could do it blindfolded, we could do it in our sleep, and -most importantly- we could do it in a hotel room while our coaches threw ice cubes at us. This time, however, it didn’t go quite as planned.
Slash Left! Slash Right! Wide Swing! Jump! Block in mid-air while landing directly on your knee! Wait, what? CRACK.
I screwed up? Inconceivable! Not content with just screwing up, however, I had screwed up in a way that meant the judges had no idea anything was wrong, but massive waves of pain were shooting up my left leg. Wincing at the judges, I realized my grimace could be interpreted as part of the performance, and so I did what any true forensicator would do. I kept going.
After the adrenaline-fueled round, I sat in the cafeteria with an ice-pack and a hastily bought bottle of Advil. I had never broken a bone before, and I had no idea what a broken kneecap felt like. I did, however, know what a normal kneecap looked like, and this elephantiasis-stricken monstrosity was not it. I went to the hospital, got a cast, and went home.
Or so it would have went if I wasn’t the stuff of legends. In truth, Nick and I broke to Semis, then Finals, and eventually won the tournament.
In the end nobody wants to let their partner or their own abilities down, and performing in front of a hundred people creates more than enough adrenaline to cancel out some pain. Although I’d love to take all the credit for sacking up, my teammates were absolutely phenomenal. They practically carried me to the door of each round, at which point I walked in as normally as I could so the judges didn’t notice anything.
I guess I have to pick a couple morals to the story so it’s more than my own narcissistic rambling, so here they are:
1) If you screw up in a round, no matter how big the mistake is, don’t give up and don’t assume the judges saw it.
2) If you’re in DUO, don’t let down your partner; it’s one thing when one of you carries a performance, and it’s another when one of you literally carries the other to the round.
3) Forensics IS a sport, no matter what your friends may argue. I’ve got the leg-brace to prove it.