Last Friday I spent most of my night hanging out at the Pattonville Stadium in my knickers. Lovely. Myself and three fencing students from Georgia State were on site to do a fencing demonstration for Relay For Life. Basically we were a bit of entertainment for those who were out late for this event and for those who were staying over in tents on the grassy field. We were quite a site for the people even though we spent most of the night just standing around. It seems that most people have seen fencing on TV - but few have actually seen people who refer to themselves as fencers up close. A lot of the younger kids would come up to me asking about the weapons, how everything works, and of course if they could try it out. I was more than happy to talk to people about the sport, why it is a lot of fun, and to hold my $150 Uhlmann FIE epee - but you are not about to play Zorro with it.
Around midnight we were finally allowed on stage - and we fenced to the hottest beats of the 80s, 90s, and now. On a wet stage. So there we were, slipping and sliding, trying to encourage all the kids to get into the sport. I of course was stiff after standing around all night, and it was all I could to give everyone a good show - and not get my ass kicked in front of a crowd. The biggest crowd pleaser was the two sisters who fenced each other - all the moms and daughters got excited, and nearly begged for autographs after they were done.
It was a bit ironic... I was giving up my Cinco de Mayo celebration (i.e. Cinco de Drunk-o) to do this thing with a girl who I nearly yellow-carded at Rome's Clocktower Open the weekend before for trying to fence with an oven mitt. The guy from GA State was actually pretty good, and it took some effort not to look like I was getting killed - I am a pretty cautious fencer, and cautious fencing doesn't please crowds. But if it gets more people into the sport, I am all for doing it again.