I have a teenage boy; to be precise he turned 13 last month. I feel like we are always driving each other crazy. He is a happy, friendly, sweet boy who can laze around and let life come and go as it does. He has the maturity to understand that “Mom is my biggest critic but also my biggest advocate.” He is someone who knows when to hold his ground, but there are very few situations when he really feels the need to do that. There was one time he wanted to pre-order a video game with his gift money but he easily gave in to my guidance that he could only play it when he got all A’s!
I see him as this balanced guy who has a very calm reaction to most things, including things 13 year-olds typically find interesting. We’ve tried many activities in this relentless search for his passion. Football, soccer, tennis, basketball, cricket, robotics, drums, piano, cello, guitar . . . you name it. Finally we stumbled on fencing. I found fencing as part of the journey while creating iQuriousKids and probably would have never thought of it otherwise.
Little boys and sword fights . . . duh, how obvious! But hindsight is 20/20 and I can tell you I had not heard of this as a sport before. Sid started his fencing lessons at Alliance Fencing Academy about six month ago by taking a summer camp. At the end of it he wanted to make it work once school started, even though it meant doing homework and snacking in the car. I was watching with wonder as this change in him was new to me. He would make it back on time from school on his bike and rush me to drive him 30 min away to class. I thought this would fade after a month.
He proactively started asking if he can take private lessons, and that is when I realized I need to find out more about this sport. Fencing is an Olympic level sport. There are three types of swords one can use and it so happens that one of the best fencing schools is right here in our backyard. Alliance Fencing Academy, where Sid trains, has been the most personable experience we have had. The coaches have a real passion for the sport and the atmosphere is so friendly and thoughtful. I did not say this earlier, but one of the reason’s I took keen interest is because of Sarah – who manages Alliance but is also a mom who has both her kids well advanced in this sport. She gives me constant advice as a working mom. A few months after joining Coach Sergey, pulled me aside and shared that I should consider various tournaments for Sid and that he would speak with Sid to gauge his motivation. “It is a sport that takes a lot of practice and so we need to make sure Sid wants to do this,” he said. In that statement I knew that he had picked up on my boy’s temperament. It’s very personalized and it feels great to know that my boy seems to have found the right match. It’s clear to me now that it’s not just about what he likes or where he has potential, but actually what he likes is highly dependent on where he finds an encouraging environment – where he feels he is set up to do well.
Alliance is a place that knows how to set their students up to do well, so well in fact that two of their students fenced for the United States in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro – Kelly and Courtney Hurley. Andrey Geva, the owner of Alliance Fencing Academy was part of the coaching staff that prepared the United States fencing team and ultimately the designated coach for the Women’s Epee Team and the Head Coach for the Hurley Sisters during their individual event.
It’s early days for us but I feel like he has finally found something that he will enjoy, pursue, make friends, and in tandem cultivate as his unique interest. Please know that despise my critique, Sid is my role model and inspiration. But I have also come to terms with the fact that I could never be him as he could not be me. So moral of the story – Realization is the first step to Reconciliation and Happiness. I am still at Step 1 and fencing will help us both get to Step 2!