Note the abstract simplicity of his badger poster. (Why "badger"? I didn't choose the nickname--it was bestowed by a teammate, and the only explanation he would offer is "it describes your fencing." This comment, after much mulling, resulted in my tag line, "Badgers: small, fierce, stubborn. Not too bright.")
In any case, this year my bro continued his awesome streak with an Xmas present that consisted of--Badger Patches!
This gift also gave me the impetus I needed to post about badges in general--one of the most ubiquitous ways to liven up a uniform.
There is a stunning array of badges at the average competition, and I've only begun to scratch the surface. Borges-like, I'm working on a benevolent taxonomy to organize this huge array. For example, badges can be:
A way to show identification and solidarity, uniting you to your teammates in the vast sea of competitors. This sleeve sports both country and club affiliations. (Hi, Three Rivers! You rock.)
While many club badges are minor variants on the theme of club name/weapon, some make epic leaps of creativity. Isn't the Savannah Fencing Club's patch GREAT?
And this SFC club member also sports a patch from my second category: badges as a way of expressing individuality. Smokey the Bear? Fencing? Why not.
Smokey also demonstrates the power of badges to function as social objects--"engines of socially networked experiences, the content around which conversation happens." In other words, giving a shy person like myself the opening to meet someone by asking "hey, what's with the bear?"
Last, and most poignantly, badges can memorialize, like this arm band worn by the New Mexico Fencing Club in memory of a lost teammate--Connor Porter.
What a wonderful way to honor a young man's memory and celebrate his love of fencing.
I am faced with the much less solemn task of deploying the badges my bro hunted down for me. One went straight onto the removable foil case from my Leon Paul equipment bag.
Others are going on my sleeve (I'm experimenting with placement. The lead patch will still be my club affiliation, Rockville Fencing Academy.)
Not even all these badgers can complete my badge ambitions, however. I still hope to find a copy of this patch to add to my collection:
It celebrates a project that aspired to put a Linux-powered robotic marsupial on the moon. I think this is a suitable analogy for my fencing aspirations.