This Parry Riposte’s for You

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As we all know, fencing is in BIG TROUBLE! Dark Forces are at work and fencing may be dropped from the Olympics. Now I know you’re thinking: “Wait a minute! They’re considering adding men’s Freestyle Bungee Cord Jumping and women’s Underwater Ultimate Frisbee to the next Olympics. How could they get rid of fencing?”

Well there exists an important market out there that really appreciates men being really manly and doing silly things like emulating yo-yos. This market also really supports any sport that involves women in swimsuits. It is this market that has so far ignored fencing, and to save our beloved sport we must bring fencing to the BEER DRINKING MARKET!

What is the difference between fencing and baseball, basketball, and football (outside the fact that fencing doesn’t revolve around the possession of some spheroid piece of leather without any real practical value)? About a zillion bucks, lots of heavy steroid use, and the fact that FENCING ISN’T SPONSORED BY MICHELOB! We need to tap (so sorry) the beer-drinking sports fan’s interest. Sadly this will probably require the use of cheerleaders (shudder!). Fencing needs name recognition!

We need to be sponsored by responsible corporations that promote safe driving while producing enough alcohol to stupefy every driver on the planet to the mental capacity of a houseplant. We need to have the Coors Light Foil Championships, the Miller Genuine Draft Epee Finals, and of course Budweiser sponsoring the Bud ALL-AMERICAN ALL-STAR MANLY SABRE MELEE!

Just think of it! Thousands gathered at Madison Square Garden to root on their favorite fencing teams, Everyone drunkenly doing the wave and spilling their beer (“Spill all you want, we’ll brew more!”) with every parry riposte. The fans would taunt the opposition fencers with cries of, “Hey fencer, fencer, miss that parry, hey fencer fencer…”

Every director’s call would be greeted with a happy chorus of “PARRY RIPOSTE! ARE YOU BLIND! THAT WAS BEAT ATTACK ALL THE WAY, YOU JERK! KILL THE DIRECTOR!” Even more exciting is the prospect of the millions of drunken TV viewers screaming at their television sets with equal fervor.

During the televised matches really cool beer commercials would play where groups of sweaty and manly fencers (with flannel shirts and baseball caps thrown over their uniforms) would enter smoky and manly bars and say manly things like:

Mac: (In a very manly voice):

That was a heck of a prise-de-fer attack, Hank. Let me buy you an entire vat of beer.

Hank: (In an even more manly voice):

Thanks, Mac, but you better make it a vat of Miller Lite, I’m performing brain surgery on my own son in the morning.

(The men laugh in a very manly fashion and dump beer on each other.)

In the Budweiser commercials, sabre fencers would simply ogle women in swimsuits who would find the sabre fencers terribly interesting because they could still vaguely pronounce the word “Buuddd” while being three sheets to the wind.

So there you have it. Sure there will be sacrifices, like having to chew gum and spit all the time, and of course the silly nick-names like “BOOM-BOOM,” etc. (which are so much easier for the besotted brain to remember). But this is a small price to pay for the survival of fencing.

So grab your flannel shirts and let’s get to those bars for more research. Besides with a $100 million a year fencing contract you can retire early and take up another sport, like maybe bungee cord jumping…

by James P. Tanner III, 1992

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