May 7, 2020 we became official! WFencing is a nonprofit organization of coaches and fencing professionals working to advance the sport of fencing. Our overall mission is to increase diversity in our sport by unifying and building equity between women and men.
Incorporation came on a day of uncertainty, grief and transition for many fencing club owners and coaches whose jobs are at risk. Covid-19 has taken over the headlines. Fencing clubs are struggling to pay rent. Classes are online, and in this virtual environment we feel our connections are in isolation, too.
Listening to 15 women on a Zoom call, processing this rapid change, this is what we heard:
We were tired. The closure and break in our daily lives were initially met with great relief. We felt guilt for that relief, for our own selfishness, but it was welcomed.
We are now grieving. We grieve with our students about the loss of celebrations and closure for our seniors. We wanted these things. Team accomplishments and year end celebrations will not be taken for granted in our generation of coaches again. We grieve for our greater world and for the United States. The racial and economic disparities cannot be ignored. We express gratitude for those who have supported us and we feel guilt for those less fortunate. We ask, “This is a woman’s way?” We certainly cared!
We will reinvent. We are challenged to adapt. Some are uncomfortable teaching on Zoom; while some of us have avoided the unknown, others embrace it. What will our future look like? Is this temporary? What are we learning that will make us better coaches and leaders? We looked to one another and we connected.
There is something serendipitous that this organization formed by women for advancing justice and equality has been born during a pandemic. Now is the time to push, insist and persist.
Jen and Cathleen