For those of you that wandered through Washington Square Park this past Saturday and took part in Get Your Wellness On, you may have wondered: what are Olympic Fencing Medalists doing at a suicide prevention fair?
Get Your Wellness On! is more than a beautiful memorial to those touched by suicide. It is a movement to build community. It is a movement to enable people to take charge of their lives so they may be happy and healthy. Sport in general and fencing in particular promote the Get Your Wellness On! mission: empower the mind, empower the body.
Fencing is a community, a place to belong regardless of background, age, ability, or aspirations. There are US National Championships for 10 year-olds and World Championships for fencers age 70 and older. That diverse and warm network you join at the fencing salle never goes away — once a fencer, always a fencer.
If you had a chance to see the athletes of Team USA on Saturday, then you already know that fencing keeps you in excellent physical shape. What is less visible to the eye is that fencing also keeps you in outstanding mental shape. Sports teach you how to set personal goals, how to go about achieving them, and more importantly, how to reassess and carry on when things fall short of your expectations. Fencing teaches you that when a tournament doesn’t go your way, another tournament (your chance for redemption) is only a few weeks in the future. This is a lesson that reaches beyond the fencing strip. Fencing teaches you that in life there is no such thing as rock bottom. Failure is temporary for your next opportunity to succeed lies in the not-too-distant future.
Learning to deal with both success and failure is perhaps the most important skill I’ve garnered during my many years as a fencer. Indeed, sport has given me the physical and mental strength so that I can confidently say:
“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”
I believe all the athletes in Washington Square Park on Saturday would say the same.
We fencers and members of Fencing Masters NYC were proud to be a part of Get Your Wellness On! It was an opportunity for us to share with the City a sport that has captured our hearts, shaped our characters, and given us countless opportunities. Above all, we were excited to welcome so many new friends into the fencing community. We look forward to seeing you on the strip!
Fencing Masters has an amazing event coming up on November 17 at the Hammerstein Ballroom to benefit USA Olympic hopefuls. For more information click on the link
As you know, Get Your Wellness On, would like to be represented at the 2012 London Olympics. I would like to help make somebody’s dream come true while bringing the subject of suicide to highest possible level of attention. Everyone watches the Olympics! If we all contribute whatever we can, we can do it.