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How to Fence If You’re Hungover: A Useful Guide for Historical Fencers

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by Meg Floyd


It’s Sunday morning, and you made elims, you poor bastard. Caught up in the revelry of Saturday night, you drank more than was wise and vaguely remember stripping down to your skivvies and wrestling a 100 kg Nord who you think was named Olaf, but you’re not sure. Either way, your eyes are bloodshot, your mouth is like cotton, and your head feels like someone’s driven a railroad spike into the base of your skull. And your stomach certainly isn’t certain about anything right now. What’s a fencer to do?

1. Go through the grieving process. Deny that you’re so hungover, plead with yourself as to why you drank so much, be angry that you ruined your chance at elims by getting drunk, and finally accept that this the most natural perfect state of fencing on a Sunday morning, and that you walk the path of your ancestors.

2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Slowly. Puking water’s an unpleasant sensation. But if you can get some fluids into your system, you’ll start to feel corpse-like rather than actually dead.

3. Eat something, but not too much. Avoid hot food and protein. Cereal bars are good here. Something with a little sugar in it to perk you up and bread to calm your stomach down.

4. And behold, there was caffeine, and it was good. Ingest caffeine in whatever form you find it most palatable, and it’ll wake you up some. You may be feeling sharp-edged and wary in your corner of the ring, but at least your eyes will be open.

5. Accept that you are so tired you don’t want to move, but move anyway.

6. Enjoy the sensation of feeling every bump and bruise in slightly more clarified detail. Miss the sensation of everything feeling fuzzy and warm last night.

7. Warm up gently and stretch out. You’re going to feel like you’re fifty years old, while at the same time deeply resenting the chipper-looking fifty-year-olds bouncing around you because they were smart enough not to get toasted when they’re competing. It’s okay to hate them. Just know you’ll be them one day. Maybe. If being this hungover doesn’t kill you first.

8. Avoid the lead female organizer. The one with the mother-like attention and overly loud voice who’s trying to shimmy everyone into order so the event starts on time. Her voice is going to feel like a razor sawing inside your head.

8. Parry hits to your head. You’ve already got a headache. No need to make it worse.

9. When fencing, discover that there’s an upside–you’re so tired you can’t get adrenaline-drunk like you did in pools, so you fight with a surprisingly clear, if aching, head and do better than you thought you would.

10. Promise yourself you’ll never do this to yourself again. Then book tickets to the next event knowing you will.


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