London Olympian and Beijing silver medalist Tim Morehouse visited Governor Livingston on Thursday, bringing his "Fencing-in-the-Schools" clinic to the school. The 4-hour clinic is offered as part of Fencing-in-the-School's mission of empowering youth to achieve excellence through the sport of fencing, and Thursday's visit to GL was sponsored by the Highlander Booster Club.
Tim, along with fencing colleagues Kurt Getz, US National Foil Team Member (2009-2010) and Marat Israelian, NCAA Epee Champion, shared their fencing techniques and strategies with Governor Livingston's 44-member boys' and girls' fencing teams, their coaches and parents.
Said GL Head Coach Tony Barbera, "It was very interesting fencing from an Olympian's perspective - it's very different from high school fencing. Everything happens much faster, and there's a lot more emphasis on the thinking aspect. We spent a lot of time stressing how you have to PLAN your next bout, not just fence it.You must set up your opponent for each attack. I was impressed by that." GL sabre fencer Ian Fan summed it up nicely: "It was fun, informative and inspirational."
During the final hour of the clinic, Tim talked to the group about his own experiences. He truly believes he is no different from any of the kids on GL's team. He himself started out as an average fencer in high school and college, but got where he is today through hard work, dedication, and pursuit of a deep understanding of fencing. Tim likes to tell the story of working as a 7th-grade teacher in an inner-city school district. He quickly realized that his students were reluctant to answer questions because they were afraid to fail and afraid to try. That inspired him to show them that anything is possible if you try by going out for the World Cup fencing championships. Although he lost several times over throughout that process, he eventually qualified for the Olympics and brought home a silver medal. He also talked about setting goals and striving for the top. At one point, when Tim went with the US team to fence at the World Cup, the team set a goal of coming home with a medal - and they celebrated hard when they did. But what they didn't realize at the time was, they had a real chance of coming home with the gold medal. They had set their sights too low, and were satisfied too soon. Tim's message to the GL team: you have nothing to lose by aiming high!
The Governor Livingston girls' and boys' teams will be looking to apply what they've learned on Friday, when they hope to hand their former coach Vincent Paragano and his new team, Bernards High School, their first defeat of the season. The teams face off at 9 at GL.