Fencers Step Out to Save Lives

On September 17th, members of the Fencing Masters NYC team joined forces with Esmeralda Williamson-Noble to raise awareness about suicide and to promote mental health and well-being. At the inaugural Get Your Wellness On! fair fencing was presented as a form of “alternative healing” — a sport that strengthens both the mind and body while also providing a supportive community people can turn to in times of need.

Members of Team Fencing Masters NYC at the Get Your Wellness On Fair (Kathleen, Kurt, Tim, Daria, Melvin)

Inspired once again by Esmeralda’s endeavors, Fencing Masters NYC stepped out on the town on October 28th to use the sport of fencing to help save lives.  After losing their infant son Alexander to SIDS, Esmeralda and her husband Hugh began the Windflower Charity Ball as a fundraiser for First Candle. Over a decade later, the well-attended Charity Gala, with its live and silent auctions, is the organization’s major annual fund-raising event.

To help First Candle in its efforts to unite parents, caregivers and researchers nationwide to advance infant health and survival, the Fencing Masters NYC co-chairs (Tim Morehouse, Daria Schneider, & Kathleen Reckling) donated 2 VIP tickets to our Hammerstein Ballroom event on November 17th. To compliment the auction winner’s introduction to fencing, Olympic Silver Medalist Tim Morehouse donated an hour fencing lesson.

Tim poses with the auction item winner! His 5 daugthers can't wait for their fencing lesson with Tim or to attend Fencing Masters NYC on Nov. 17th

The total package was valued at $750… and as the night began, Tim and Kathleen crossed their fingers! Please! Someone! Bid on us!

Do we have $500? Yes!

How about $1,000? Yes!

Can we have $1,250? Sure!

What about $1,500? SOLD!

At the end of the night, we had met several former fencers and children of fencers — a neat reminder that everyone does in fact know someone who fences. The most exciting parts of the evening? Seeing the Fencing Masters NYC donation become one of the few lots to exceed its estimated value and watching the sport of fencing raise $1,500 for First Candle and SIDS research.

Tim & I were honored to be the Williamson-Nobles’ guests and were proud our donation was able to support First Candle”s mission to “provide every baby with the best possible chance to survive and thrive.”

For those of us working on Fencing Masters NYC, there is nothing more invigorating than sharing fencing and using it to serve others. The auction results are a testament to the power sport has to do good in the community — an athlete doesn’t have to be a Peyton Manning or a Lance Armstrong to raise awareness for a cause, they just have to be ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work.

Rumble in the City: Taking the Sport of Fencing to the Streets of NYC

I remember the first time the elevator doors opened onto the New York Fencers Club. I could hear the fencing before I could see it. The clangs and clacks of the blades, the thuds of people lunging, the John Cage-esque random boooop of the scoring machines — you could feel it; it was electric.

This past June, while the FIFA World Cup was raging in South Africa, another World Cup was underway here in New York. Olympic medalists. National Champions. Champions in the making. Yes, the best and brightest fencers in the world converged on the Brooklyn Marriott, only a short subway hop away from downtown Manhattan, and you missed it. An opportunity to see Olympians in action and fulfill your inner-child’s Star Wars/Robin Hood/Three Musketeers fantasies, and you missed it.

Fencing Masters NYC comes to the Hammerstein Ballroom Stage on Nov. 17

But have no fear, fencing is back for the New York public in a BIG way. The Olympians are coming, and  they’re doing it up for you in style.

On November 17, 2010, the Hammerstein Ballroom will be home to a landmark fencing event. Featuring the living-legends of the sport, Fencing Masters NYC is a celebration of fencing’s history, honor, and athleticism. Olympic champions from around the world will square off against members of Team USA in a quest for the title of Fencing Masters Champion. The event will include dinner, cocktails, an interactive expo, and special performances. The producers of Fencing Masters NYC have pulled out all the stops to make this an elegant, high-quality, memorable event. It will be a night of top-caliber fencing, special tributes, and above all, fun and excitement!

Spearheaded by members of the fencing community, Fencing Masters NYC is an important and much needed event for the sport. For too long, fencing has stood on the margins of professional-caliber athletics. Those who have taken up an epee, foil, or sabre already know what a dynamic and engaging sport fencing is, and the aim of Fencing Masters NYC is to broadcast these qualities to the public on a national scale. Indeed, Fencing Masters NYC has single-handedly changed the way the media looks at the sport! For the first time since 1980, fencing will be televised outside the Olympics. The event will be syndicated to 14.5 million homes in the tri-state area thanks to a partnership with SNY, television home of the NY Mets.

Fencing Masters NYC is first and foremost a vehicle for garnering financial and moral support for 2012 Olympic hopefuls. Fencing, while amateur in the United States, is a professional sport. American athletes striving for London 2012 pursue full-time training schedules and drop thousands of dollars annually on travel and related expenses. Despite historic medal wins in 2004 and 2008, fencers still lack major corporate sponsorship to support their Olympic dreams.  As a not-for-profit organization, proceeds from the Fencing Masters NYC Hammerstein event will go to sponsored fencers on Team USA.

Interested in joining us? You should! Check out the Fencing Masters NYC website for a complete roster of competitors and ticket information.

Click here: Fencing Masters NYC

Please, Sir, Will You Stop Tapping… It’s interfering with my blogging

I’m currently sitting in Columbia’s Art and Architectural Library — Avery. It’s a lovely, cavernous, old-world sort of place with grottoes of books, iron railings around the second level of shelves, and huge wooden tables with proportionately huge wooden armchairs. On days like today, when the outside temperature is in the 60s and the sun is shining, the big floor to ceiling windows illuminate the marble columns and recessed white ceiling, making it a warm and cheerful place to get some writing done.

Across the table from me at this very moment is one very STRESSED business schooler. Or maybe he’s an undergrad in economics — I don’t know, neither do I care. His book bag and coat are both on the table, intruding into my work space. He has a venti starbucks cup, which must have once contained a non-fat, extra-shot iced latte. Now all it contains is ice, which at evenly spaced intervals he feels the need to shake and tip into his mouth and then CRUNCHING on them. He has a lot of ice cubes still to go. I hope they turn the heating on soon…

In between the ice-rattling, he rotates among “spider push-ups” (this is the name my parents have given to the act of spreading out one’s fingers, holding the two hands in front of your face and then pushing them together so that the fingers tap and spring off one another… it makes a tap-tap-tap-tap-tap sound… especially when the fingernails need a good trimming), face scratching, pen chewing, head scratching, frenzied writing, watch checking and over-zealous page turning.

Oh! Oh! Oh! He just picked his nose and looked at it… now he’s resuming the writing. Back to the nose now… now the ice.. now the writing… page flipping… face scratching…

Now he’s standing, finger twitting, page tapping, sneezing (I am not gonna say gablessyou), page sorting… he hasn’t stopped moving and noise making.

I’ve decided this man shouldn’t drink coffee. Not only is he red in the face, clearly HE HAS A LOW CAFFEINE TOLERANCE… so low in fact it makes him act like he’s on crack.

Typically, when I’m working in Avery, I find it counterproductive to listen to my i-pod — it just ruins the ambiance. Except for today. Today, the ear buds are in and Stevie Ray is cranked up all the way.

This fellow has just confirmed my belief that B-Schoolers should stick to their own library. There they can crunch ice, hell, even talk on their blackberries. Once upon a time I was all for cruising for future CEOs in Uris, but I think my tablemate (did I mention we’re the only two people  at the table… the other end is totally empty) has officially made me change my mind… that and the increased number of architectural students now making use of the art history study room… did I mention how very sexy architects can be? 😉

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