Notes from an ex-Fencing Jock.

There are three sabers that hang over the mantle at our summer home here in Italy. They are my fathers and they are fencing swords. He was a fencer in college back when ink was used on the tip to determine a “touche”. He passed on the fencing bug to me and already a big fan of Tolkien and Dumas growing up I started taking lessons at Santelli’s in Manhattan. I loved fencing. I hated the fact that I had to do tons of tedious and repetitive exercises, but then again isn’t that true of all sports when you are a kid – you just want to play. I got pretty good and even earned a trip to the Junior Olympics to which my parents categorically said no. With no fencing team or club in college my Olympic hopes were dashed forever!

I do, though, get to live vicariously through today’s athletes and in particular one of the greatest fencers ever to fence in my opinion: Valentina Vezzali. Fencing is about speed, focus, cat-like reflexes, hand/eye coordination, footwork, balance and most of all timing. Even with modern technology it is hard to follow fencing with the naked eye and, at first glance, decide who landed a point or “touche” especially given the need to establish which fencer had the “right of way” when both are simultaneously on target. As so many individual sports, fencing gives you quite an adrenaline rush. Watching a “fuoriclasse” like Vezzali is a pleasure and an honor. Watching her dominate the sport for so long winning 6 gold medals in 5 Olympics (and medaling individually in all five), not to mention World (13 golds) and European (11 golds) Championships, is epic.

I was pleased, therefore, to get a call from the New Amsterdam Fencing Academy (NAFA) recently inviting me (with a very funny reference to The Princess Bride) and my older son to a Daddy and Me lesson. They offer special classes for 2-4yo and their parents to teach them the very basics. I am really looking forward to holding a foil again after so long and hopefully having a fun day with my son (as always hoping for his full collaboration…). You can find out more about NAFA on their website http://nyfencing.com and I hope to report back about a fun experience. Who knows maybe one day I’ll see my son fence his way to the Olympics! Families of athletes get free tickets to all the events, right?

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No Mo Mo’ – A salute to Movember and farewell to my “Undercover Brother”

So sad to see it go, but alas I am mulling over bringing back the goatee and so after growing the mo’ for all of November for Movember – no mo mo’ for me.

Throughout Movember, a group of about 50 dads was spurred on by our fearless ring leader Laid Off Dad and did an amazing job of raising around $19,000 for prostate cancer research and men’s health awareness in general. To top it all off when it came time to start thinking about shaving off the whiskers that have become a constant source of irritation to my 3 month old (how can you stop yourself from smothering a newborn with kisses – albeit prickly), LOD gets a nod from Philips Norelco to not only use and keep some of their high-tech 3-D shaving gizmos – a trimmer and an electric shaver (for which you can get a nice $30 rebate over here), but they were willing add to the group’s donations with an additional $15,000. All we had to do was shave our whiskers for a national, nay worldwide, audience (see the all the silliness at the ‘Stache-tacular Shave Off site).

So without further ado here is my whisker striptease. For copyright reasons I cannot put a soundtrack on this video, but if you feel goofy and have time you should play it with “That Dude” by The High Decibels. Trust me it works real nice!

 

 

The trimmer worked great although the vacuum thingy that is supposed to keep all the whiskers unsurprisingly had a hard time keeping them all in. The shaver was pretty impressive (aka a close shave) considering I am a safety razor guy. I did use a wet shave and brush with cream because you do not under any circumstance want to pull metal across your face without lubrication, but as they say: “De gustibus non disputandum est.”

I hope you enjoyed and I hope you keep Movember in mind. My mo’ will see you all again next year for more silliness.

My “Undercover Brother”.

As we turn into the last lap of #Movember , I wanted to confess that I was hoping for an “Abracadabra” look, but with a toddler and a newborn it’s a miracle I haven’t sliced my face up shaving. Therefore, I would like to introduce you to my “Undercover Brother.”

He’s a scratchy little bugger. Sort of a painful sidekick. Figure that I actually shaved off my goatee to grow this bad boy out. I don’t know why, but the mo’ is twitchier than the goatee. Not sure why. Also it just looks terrible on me. Could be the false impression of balance that a goatee gives you since it is vertical as opposed to horizontal and so growing the mo’ has shown what having a “round” face is all about. Or it could simply be that I am somehow related to Ned Flanders.

As #Movember wraps up another successful year, hopefully our silliness (at least in my case) in growing mo’s has given you pause for thought about prostate cancer and men’s health in general. Make sure to donate to me or to the Dad 2.0 team lead by Doug French of LOD fame. He has put together a stellar cast and has raised an astounding $13,500 so far making us the 48th ranked team in the nation. If you are feeling generous I would appreciate even a small donation that is easily made at: http://mobro.co/NewYorkDad

My “Undercover Brother” thanks you!