My name is Jack and I am 19 years old and have been attending TCF my whole life. I am a fencer and fencing coach. I started fencing at an after-school class at Glenearn Community Campus and attended for a year, then due to low numbers it stopped so we looked online and found Salle Ossian Fencing Club, almost on our doorstep – a fifteen minute walk away. It turned out that Salle Ossian is one of the most successful sabre fencing clubs in the UK so this was a big jump and very daunting to see a large part of the U20 and Senior GB fencers training there. I trained twice a week for about a year till Covid lockdown then once we were allowed to train again I had a conversation with my head coach Phil and decided to join the high performance programme and take private lessons as part of that.
I did my first local competition, the Stirling Sword, in January 2020 just before lockdown, my first big competition and second ever competition was the U20 British Nationals in September 2021, which even Phil thought was a bit crazy to do. Phil had mentioned that the Junior Commonwealths were due to take place in 2021 but had been delayed and were rescheduled for 2022; I went on to be selected for this so started my first competitive season with my first British competition and ended it with the Commonwealths which is a bit crazy to think about. My achievements in my own career have been a bronze medal in the Commonwealth team event, bronze medals at Scottish Youth Championships 2023, bronze at the Manchester British ranking competition and a number of medals at Scottish and British competitions. A highlight on the coaching side was supporting the U17 fencers from Salle Ossian at Junior and Cadet Nationals where one of the fencers became the British U17 champion 2023, another fencer won a bronze medal and a third fencer placed fifth.
I am currently waiting for hopeful selection for the Junior (U20) Scottish team for the 2024 Junior Commonwealths in New Zealand and after that preparing for my first season at Senior level, next season and looking further ahead hopefully being selected for the 2026 Senior Commonwealths in Australia.
My faith has helped with my attitude in coaching to have patience with some fencers who need things explaining many times, and in my own fencing career to not focus on results, understanding that there is more to life than competition success which the stress of never fully goes away – I’ve had to discover this through experience. Organisations like Christians in Sport have helped me meet other Christians involved in sport and I’ve found it helpful to know other Christians have the same pressure to perform and the challenge to also witness for Christ.
People in Tayside Christian Fellowship have been very supportive as I find it extremely difficult to miss church on a Sunday when competing so I find it very helpful that there are activities during the week and I also have other small group studies I attend.
I’d recommend TCF to anyone looking for a caring church with people to support them in all areas of life as people from TCF have not just supported me in my faith but also in other areas of my life which has helped me grow not just in my faith but as a person in general.
– Jack Geddes
Article published February 2024