A familiar refrain that I hear from parents at fencing competition goes something like this: “The ref was completely wrong. He called so many touches incorrectly, and he gave way too many red cards.” The might go on about some other issue with the fencing referees, some way that the ref called the match unfairly and so caused their child of this parent some ill end.
It’s tempting to take part in this kind of conversation after a match that doesn’t go our way – we’re naturally looking for somewhere to put that responsibility. If we know that our fencer worked hard and did their best, it’s easy to lay blame at the feet of one of the people who were on that strip, and that person who gets the blame is often the ref.
Why it’s time to stop judging the fencing refs
This is a big issue for me, because I feel strongly about the role that fencing refs play in this sport. Not only that, I think that there are some compelling reasons why we shouldn’t be modeling this kind of behavior for our kids.
Let’s dig a little deeper into why it’s time to lay off of the fencing referees.