Thursday, December 18, 2008

Welcome to the Underground

When TeenTuna told me she wanted to join the high school fencing team, I believe my first reaction was, "the WHAT?" It's not as if I have never heard of fencing. But I WENT to that same high school, and there sure wasn't a fencing anything -- be it swords of stolen goods -- back in the day. Her coach is the retired coach of the MSU Fencing Team. The WHAT? I went to that school too, and who knew they had a fencing team?

My knowledge of fencing is limited to Daffy Duck cartoons, late night ESPN watching, early episodes of ABC Wide World of Sports (in between agony-of-defeat ski jumping trials) and a movie or two. So in order to soothe the family disease of "having to know" I started trolling online for equipment sites, information, etc. I still don't know much, but feel as if I've learned all sorts of interesting things.

After mentioning our new fencing escapades a few days back, I was surprised to learn that several readers were themselves, fencers. WHAT? I mean other people do this? WHO KNEW? It's a secret fencing underground, known only to other secret fencers. I find it both baffling and wonderful that somehow I have discovered this new little subsection of humanity that participate in something nobody else would really imagine. Fencers. Swords. EnGarde and all that stuff. It's fabulous!

It reminds me of when I got involved in another rather retro activity: spinning. Spinning as in spinning wheel. Spinning as in turning wads of wool into yarn. As sure enough, as I started to get interested in spinning I discovered there were entire pockets of society who were spinners as well. Here I was thinking I was doing this really rather odd, old fashioned, Sleeping Beauty kind of thing, and I find out the mother of an elementary school classmate has three spinning wheels. And goes to spinning guild gatherings. But not the original gathering -- the NEW gathering because the original gathering became a bunch of not nice people, so there was a rift and the splinter group formed their own sub secret society. SERIOUSLY. So the sub secret society, which I seemed to have stumbled across also attends spinning and wool festivals. With their spinning wheels. Plural. Because if you only have one, you're a real rookie. Seriously. Who knew?

My friend assures me it was like that when her son started Ice Skating. The super secret ice skating underground was strong and deep, with skating moms freezing their axels off every morning at 5am. And there was drama. And intreague. And, considering we all know the whole "whack your opponent in the knee" drama, this particular underground is intense and filled with drama, to say the least.

I'm constantly wondering what other secret underground groups might there be? Midnight sports league? Scrabble tournament? Juggling? The options are only as limited as my imagination. So I'm keeping my eyes and ears open to new activities and new possibilities. You never know which tunnel of the Underground I'll discover next.

Fencing. What a classic. It's even better than Synchronized swimming. And wouldn't you know it, there is a huge underground array of gel-haired uber-lunged swimmers who love nothing better than to put on the costume and swim and dance upside-down underwater for 5-minutes a stretch. How do I know? Yeah. I was a member of that secret society as well. Who knew?

Welcome to the Underground.

7 comments:

Meagan said...

Yep. You should see our secret handshake. Very dangerous.

bozoette said...

There is most definitely a juggling underground, complete with conventions, festivals, competitions, and one-upsmanship! Check out the IJA for a taste of it all.

Annie R said...

My husband and I are part of the kite flying underground. We fly the multiple string kites that do loops and stuff like you see on the beach in Hatteras. My husband actually participated in a US vs Europe kite competetion. Team USA got their asses handed to them. But I got an almost free trip to the Carribbean out of it so it wasn't all bad. Check this site out if you have a minute: http://www.aka.kite.org/

Anonymous said...

Dude-it don't get more underground than Hamstertime.

sherry said...

I have a one child who is a member of the Barrel Racing underground and one who is a member of the Belly Dancing underground.....it makes for some interesting weekends.

ladyloo said...

I'm looking into joining the Roller Derby Girls underground.

Intelligentsia Jr. said...

My student and I have a funny handshake we do after fencing, but that's because he's a lefty and I'm a righty and you're supposed to shake with your non-weapon hand. Welcome to the fencing underground- we're really really nice here! The really funny part of the fencing underground is historical. The coach I teach under is way into heavy weapons, and is still trying to convince me to do spear.

Strangely, I've also just started spinning :) I only have a drop spindle, but I've finally got it churning out a respectably thin single so I might be able to try plying soon!