Participating in Renaissance fairs is what brought teacher Ken Nichols and student Ann Nicholson together in Nichols' current class through the Mount Airy Learning Tree, "Swashbuckling for Stage and Screen." At fairs around the country, Nichols would focus on swordplay, jousting and choreographing. He eventually earned certification in stage-fighting and now teaches the art at colleges and choreographs fights for theater productions. At the medieval fairs, Nicholson, alternatively focused on the dramatic portrayals and now hopes to add combat skills to her repertoire. Your correspondent signed up for the course fancying it might be fun to flourish a sabre like Errol Flynn. In class, we are learning and practicing an array of thrusts, slashes and parries with our blunt edged and tipped swords along with some footwork. We are working our way toward performing a convincing sword-fight scene and, with proper cuing, not getting hurt! Video of class stage-fighting with swords for theater and movies
Weighing in a hefty 12 pounds at birth Darren Fenice's right shoulder was damaged by forceps during delivery. Erb's palsy resulted from the injury that stunted his arm and significantly impairs his range of motion. In school, he lashed out at the kids who were tormenting him him and was once expelled. When he grew up he began to practice martial arts as a means of self-defense, focusing on American Kenpo. A back injury sustained in competition has now sidelined him. Based on his experience being picked on growing up, he remains a strong advocate against any form of bullying. He is currently pursuing a career in science education and he pursues another of his passions - cooking dishes from his Austro-Italian heritage. Watch video interview here.
In 2013, Kim Hyunh got so tired of hearing about fantasy football from the guy she was then dating that she joined his league. He was the league commissioner and she went from on to beat him - and perhaps, not coincidentally, break up with him. Now she's a league commissioner herself. Her teammates,all guys, liked her idea of having a rubber ducky race to determine draft order and of having a weekly challenge. And how could they veto the "Kim"missioner? She wishes more girls would play. Watch video here. And in this video she explains how fantasy football works and her current role as commissioner of her own fantasy league, the "Ducking Awesome League."
At the Mount Airy Village Fair, Urban Athlete trainers challenged passersby to try to shake two heavy ropes in undulating rhythms and sustain it for a minute. Not easy! Watch video here.
Aficionados gathered on Saturday at the Water Tower Recreation Center in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia to play "pickleball" to mark the sport's half century mark. The sport, a mid-way mash-up of ping pong and tennis, was made up 50 years ago by a Washington state U.S. congressman and some friends to amuse their bored families after a shuttlecock couldn't be found to play badminton. Pickleball is becoming increasingly popular among aging baby-boomers who enjoy racket sports but find it difficult to cover the ground required on a regulation size tennis court. Dan Wheeler founded the Northwest Philadelphia meetup group which now numbers over 500 members. Watch video and interviews here.
The Impact girls fast pitch softball team in Roxborough hand washed cars, including your correspondent's not-too-dirty sedan, this past Saturday on a pay-what-you-want basis to raise money so they can enter more tournaments. At your correspondent's bidding, a couple girls mimed their batting and pitching techniques. Many have ambitions to play softball in college, according to their coach who was lending a fair amount of his own elbow grease in the wash line. Watch video here.
Drexel University Homecoming King Richard Felix and his frat brothers cheered on the Drexel men’s basketball team to victory against the College of Charleston Cougars this past Saturday. And the Drexel Dance and Sprit teams helped the Dragons breathe fire in the come from behind win. Drexel trailed from 6 to 8 points for almost the entire game but clawed their way to a 53 to 51 win in the final minutes of the homecoming game at the Daskalakis Athletic Center in West Philadelphia. Watch video here.
Lee Bierie generates leads for Logan Heating and Cooling at a table inside the Home Depot store in Dublin, Ohio. And he pitches "buckeye boys" handmade by his wife for $10 a piece. Also known as the "Brutus" it is the mascot of Ohio State University football team.
Sam of Westville New Jersey heads into NYC on a New Jersey Transit train for some fun after completing a 5K color run for charity at the Englishtown Raceway track. He showed pictures taken after the race of himself and his family in t-shirts and shorts splattered with colored paint. The run entails passing through four stations where differently dyed corn starch is thrown on them.
Color runs take place across the country. According to thecolorrun.com “The Color Run™, also known as the ‘Happiest 5k on the Planet’, is a unique paint race that celebrates healthiness, happiness and individuality.”
Michael Gieschen, left
Because Mike Gieschen’s niece met her fiancée while competing at vaulting event, a passion they share, the blind artist decided to create a wedding gift depicting their shared hobby. (Vaulting is essentially the striking of gymnastic poses atop a horse).
Constructed of celluclay and smoothed with joint compound, built over a wire and paper armature, a male and female couple are shown, each standing on one leg atop a horse with an arm around the other’s waist, the other arm extended horizontally forward and the other leg extended horizontally back as if they were flying. Taking artistic license, not knowing whether this is an actual vaulting pose, Gieschen, in this work, expresses his hope that the newlyweds will soar together and happily in their new life together. The couple marries today