Spectators please remember:
I saw this sign posted at an ice rink and thought it simple yet impactful, and it dovetails nicely with our SafeSport mission: “USA Fencing is committed to creating a safe and positive environment for athletes’ physical, emotional and social development, and to ensuring that it promotes an environment free of misconduct.”
Signs like this are sometimes necessary as it is easy to get caught up in the heat of competition and get so focused on winning this bout that we momentarily lose sight of the big picture – the big picture being that sport and competition are about having fun, improving skills, learning lessons and that there are many other competitive opportunities from which to grow and learn.
You know what I’m referring to about getting caught up in the moment, right? The parent who yells at the referee for a seemingly incorrect call; the coach who has a look of disgust after her fencer’s performance; the comments about opponents, referees or fencers that criticize or degrade, to name a few.
I get it, I’ve been there. There have been several times when watching my kids play hockey where I would like to yell at the ref for missing a call for tripping or offsides. I have had to mentally step back and remind myself that it is a game and the refs aren’t perfect ... then allow myself to enjoy watching my son or daughter play and marvel at what they are doing on the ice.
Fencers and others that are there to enjoy the competition deserve a positive, supportive environment. We need to remember the message of the spectator sign as we all work to “take care of” the environment in which our athletes are competing (and practicing). We – the USA Fencing community of members, athletes, referees, coaches and family – can and should play an active role in supporting our SafeSport mission.
Below are some action steps to implement the message: