Once you have children, it’s never quite ever about you anymore. Your life revolves for the better (and rarely for the worse) around your child and their development into healthy, well functioning human beings. And most parents agree that all of this is not only worth it but immensely gratifying and even fun! Having what it takes to be a fencing dad isn’t much different.
When it comes to being involved in a sport like fencing, your job as a father can often be thankless, exhausting, and also stressful. But at the same time, it can be very rewarding to see your child find success and joy in the sport they love.
Here are three valuable lessons I’ve learned from my years of being a fencing dad.
It Takes A Lot of Patience
Fencing is a marathon, with lots of little sprints. On the competitive side, it’s a long process to build up your success, attending several competitions and eventually, hopefully, qualifying for national tournaments. On the training side, it takes a lot of time to learn the minute details, muscle control, handling of your weapon, and anticipating movements from your opponent.
Also, unlike many other team sports, your child is pretty much on their own through their fencing journey. They don’t have teammates to lean on if they’re tired or losing. They have to summon a strength both mentally and physically sometimes, to complete a bout.
And through all of this, the only thing we can do as dads is wait and watch and support them. Drive them to and from practice. Travel with them to competitions. Encourage them to spend more time learning about the sport they love.
Being Present For Your Child
The most important thing about being a fencing dad is to be there – as best as you can, and within reason.
Being available for your child to talk to, to share wins and losses with, and all of the in-between requires time and patience. Being knowledgeable about the sport they’re playing is also important.
For some fencing dads this comes easily. For fencing dads who know nothing about fencing, it can be a bit more challenging, but it’s still so important.
At every single competition, after every single bout, win or loss, my children look for my wife and me as soon as their fight is over. And we see this at elite competitions as well! Gold medalists hug their parents as soon as they possibly can.
Being present for your child is extremely important in all areas of their life. Putting down distractions to focus on your child is good for them and you. And when it comes to being a fencing dad, this is especially important.
You don’t have to be an expert fencer. But you do have to have an open mind and a will to listen to them. Let them tell you about fencing. Let them tell you or even show you how to do things. They’ll love sharing what they learned with you, and as a result, it may bring you even closer together.
Fencing Can Be So Much Fun
Fencing is a lot of fun to watch. (It’s even more fun to play!) But for spectators including the dads that are attending competitions, it can be especially fun to watch your child execute all of their training! It can also serve as a teachable moment for you and your child when they may not do as well.
But generally speaking, if a child isn’t having fun, they’re probably not going to last long in any sport. Thankfully, once a child has been bitten by the fencing bug, it’s most likely going to be a sport they’ll love to play long and late into their lives. And often, seeing our children have such pure fun, is also very fun for us!
Being a fencing dad is an act of selflessness. A fencing dad must promote the growth of their young fencer and support them in their goals. To encourage them in good and bad times. To learn about the sport they love and help them develop their skills. If you’re lucky to have this experience, then you may know exactly what it takes to be a fencing dad.