Detroit, Part 2

Sure, the LOC for the Detroit NAC was great. Patrick Webster and his sister, Amy Webster (who also worked as a BC trainee for the NAC), did a fabulous job creating an LOC who did everything we could have wished for to help us run the tournament smoothly.

But what really set this Detroit LOC apart was their outreach. They weren’t just helping us out—they were selling fencing to their community. It wasn’t just the usual newspaper articles and TV stories, either, though there were those. There was also this:

This exhibition was set up in a room right next door to the venue, and every so often, the energetic Bobby Smith (En Garde! Detroit, PWF and Wayne State alumnus) would come through the venue, leading a school group or a group of parents and kids, explaining the sport as they toured the room. He often ended the tours right in front of the bout committee, drafting one of us to explain a bit about what we do at tournaments. Then he’d ask everybody if they were interested in learning more about fencing to take a look at the club card they’d been given (which were also in our goody bags):

“Take a look on the back and see whether there’s a club in your area. If you’re interested in learning more, I can find someone here today who can talk to you about their programs.”

Which is, I suppose, one of the virtues of having a huge crew of LOC volunteers—at any given time, the odds of finding someone from a specific club in the division were pretty good. It was really nice to see a USFA division that understands that when more people are interested in fencing and find a way to learn more about the sport, all of the division’s clubs benefit.


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