The people-watching associated with fencing is often as entertaining as the sport itself—and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to watching parents during a tournament. Parents during tournaments can range from enthusiastic cheerleaders to coaches (either actual coaches or parents who think they know something when they don’t) and to parents you would think are mental asylum escapees.
A few months ago during the Capitol Clash Super Youth Circuit, as soon as the referee declared “fence!” a father began to scream ruthlessly at his son. His son, unable to focus and relax on the strip proceeded to lose every pool bout. As he unplugged from each bout, the father’s relentless screams continued. At one point, I turned to see the father grab his son by his (facial) cheeks, and the boy’s simple crying dissolved to hysteric wailing. The boy left the tournament empty handed after losing his first direct elimination match.
Yet, this last weekend at Junior Olympics, our club had two parents who played a really supportive role in their kids becoming junior olympic champions. I wanted to share this article with you as a primer on conducting oneself as a parent during a tournament. Curious to hear your ideas.