Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fencing Idea

My two favorite sports in the Olympics that just finished were fencing and archery. I fence and have for several years. What I know about archery I learned from Errol Flynn’s “Robin Hood:” I’ve never pulled a bow in my life. These Olympics were by far the best in memory simply because of the diversity of sports available to watch. It was also interesting to learn that watching the events as they were streamed was much more immediate and compelling than the occasional truncated and theatrically commentated versions that showed up on one of the television stations later.

The simple reason was that the streamed versions usually had less comment provided by more focused and knowledgeable commentators. I found the streamed events more dramatic, more involving and they made me want to watch more.

The disparity in coverage set me to wondering what would make fencing more interesting to a general audience, a topic of obvious interest to the sport’s national and international governing bodies, the USFA and the FIE. Here’s a thought. Perhaps fencing needs some events liberated from the conventional strip. Modern sport fencing evolved from dueling. But swords were used in many other contexts and situations. Epee is the most obvious candidate for such an extension because it isn’t encumbered with the complexity of right of way.

Still, developing such a sport , whatever it would be, would be far from trivial. Nevertheless, it’s worth some formal experimentation. And it will need a fanatical champion whatever it is. But, there’s precedent: consider the relatively new diversity of biking and skiing events.