Fencing: An Unheralded Team Sport Seeks Respect


Stab your friends! The rallying cry of the fencing club that can be recognized around the school has fallen to deaf ears as North Atlanta treats it as a club rather than sport.

The definition of a sport varies from person to person. Some may consider the marching band to be a sport while others don’t. A quick google search defines a sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill where an individual or team competes against another.” Under this definition, a variety of clubs at the school should be recognized as a sport including the épée fencing club. 

Fencing, a sport that dates back to the time of the Romans, is the use of a sword to defend and attack based on set rules recreationally or competitively. Although fencing was one of the first sports in the Olympics and one out of the five sports to be featured in every single modern Olympics game, North Atlanta fails to give it the same level of treatment that sports teams continue to receive. 

The North Atlanta Fencing Team has worked with the Georgia High School Fencing League for the past six years and with each tournament the fencing Dubs go on, they get experience with the other fencers in Georgia. At NAHS, there are only about six members of the épée fencing team who are forced to practice in the sticky cafeteria. While some would consider having to exercise in the cafeteria to be bad enough already, the club is also left with the tables out and the floor to clean. According to the team captain, Marin Cochran, the main issue with this is mostly respect. “I understand that it can be hard to prep spaces but I feel as though we could be more respected as a team,” Cochran said. 

Unfortunately, becoming a recognized sport isn’t that easy. It requires a teacher, coach, and support from the PTSA, none of which the fencing team has. Finding a teacher who fences and can coach the team is already extremely difficult. Adding onto that, receiving PTSA support for the club hasn’t been the easiest either. These two details have been the main cause of the lack of recognition on the school’s part. It is highly unlikely that there will be an official fencing coach at NAHS and thus fencing is left with little respect. “Our odds of becoming recognized are slim so the best we can hope for is respect,” said Cochran.  

The lack of recognition given to the épée fencing team from the school is not for any reason, yet that’s not the main issue of the matter. The overall issue is the lack of respect given to the fencers. Maybe it’s because it’s frowned upon to stab your friends for fun or maybe the fencing team would just be too powerful if it was fully recognized as a sport.