No matter how good you get at sabre, you will always lose more than you win.
Something about it hurts. It hits you right in the lizard brain. You just lost a sword fight. You’re dead.
If you lost at a big tournament that you’ve travelled across the world to be at, well, that hurts even more.
Yet the vibe at the A-grades is surprisingly sanguine. True, every so often someone has a profound philosophical disagreement with a referee and flips out a bit, but at the end of the day, everyone is all backslaps and camaraderie. It crosses teams. It crosses language barriers. You get maybe 30 minutes to sulk and brood in a corner, and then you’re expected to get back in with the pack.
The ones who don’t get this are the amateurs. The minor teams. The weekend warriors who are pinning their self-actualisation on some ranking number they dreamed up, in many cases a number nobody had the heart to tell them was about as feasible a goal as learning how to fly. They walked in with dreams of glory, and they lost. They’re dead. And death sucks, so they sulk and brood and go back to their hotel room alone.
What the pros understand is that you always die. It doesn’t matter how much of a legendary hero you are, you can get an arrow in the eye or a stray musket ball in the ribs, or some punk of a peasant foot soldier with a pike can just get lucky, and then that’s you, legendary hero, dead before the start of the T64. You can’t control it. The best you can do is get to a point where the only ones left standing are also legendary heroes, and at least when you die it’ll make an awesome story.
And that’s important. Because sabre is Valhalla.
What you do, every time you go into a tournament, is ride onto a field knowing that you will go down in flames. And it’ll suck. But it doesn’t matter in the end, because after all the noise is done, we meet again in a big hall somewhere and eat and drink and tell stories about how we died today and what thrilling heroics we did on the way.
Then tomorrow, you do it again. Hundreds of times.
Maybe one time in a hundred you’re the greatest hero of all, and you’re still standing at the end of the day. That’s great, but tomorrow you’ll die again.
Don’t let it get to you. You’re in Valhalla. Try to die gloriously.