The Greatest Male Fencer in US History; A Bronx Tale | The Players’ Tribune

The Greatest Male Fencer in US History; A Bronx Tale | The Players’ Tribune


– That extra fighting spirit comes with not having a lot. Those are the ones that have that desire, and they make greatness
come out of nothing. – I tend to look through my opponent. I’m not really focused on who you are. I’m just focusing behind you,
because I’m trying to kill you and embarrass you just to end this match. I think people characterize
the Bronx as like, “Yo, you live in the Bronx?” And it’s not even like that, right? It’s hard-working people – hard-working people, who are
immigrants a lot of the time, who are just trying to
kind of figure it out…. Trying to figure it out. It’s an unfair reputation the
borough has, a lot of the time. There are things that
are tough here, right? But it’s unfair. – Daryl Homer, I remember
the adversities that he had. All those things did not break him. It gave him more fuel
to be great in fencing. But it’s a process. – Growing up in the Bronx
does give you a certain grit. Where I grew up, and how I
grew up, and the environment, more than anything, kind of
impacts my view on the world. And then it does give you
that chip on the shoulder like that, like, “Man.” – Daryl Homer. – C’mon, c’mon. Yes! – One. – That’s O.K. [Cross-talk.] It’s all right, Daryl. Come on. – My mother, I don’t even know how she did it. You know, a single mom in the Bronx, public assistance for a while. She just grinded it out and figured it out. Just constantly … just found ways to do things for us to be at our best. She found The Peter Westbrook Foundation. It’s a nonprofit organization started by Peter Westbrook, mainly for inner-city youth. He’s a six-time Olympian, he medaled in 1984. And
through this foundation he’s really globally changed
the face of the sport. The first day I came,
it was literally like more akin to a basketball court than you would think a fencing club. You’d walk around and
see all these black kids with like, fencing stuff. All these kids live in Brooklyn, Harlem, Queens, the Bronx. – This side is cutting. Ready, cut! Oh, I like that! Ooh! Do I like that! – Trash talk … you know,
it was like really cool. – I remember when he came to the program he had a big head. Fighting with the coaches, fighting with me. I realized, “Wow, this is
a talented little kid.” So what we tried to do is mold that fighting spirit, mold all that adversity, to get him to push in fencing. – Tied for third place is Daryl Homer, of the NYFC. – Make no bones about it, fencing is a white,
European, aristocratic sport. Sometimes it’s not easy
being an African-American in the country. It’s not easy being an African-American in the world. So therefore, sometimes it’s not been easy being an African-American
in the sport of fencing. – People look, and they know like, “This dude is way different than us. And he’s operating on a
completely different plane than we are. And he lives his life way
different than we are.” – The adversities, the ups and downs, the vicissitudes in fencing, prepare you for the vicissitudes and the ups and downs of life. You have to size the person up, size the opponent up, and come up with an antidote, come up with a solution, within three, four minutes. And in life, you have to sometimes make difficult decisions and come up with an
antidote. “What do I do?” – It is kind of a music. When you’re doing really well, you’re in tune with your opponent. You can feel their fear, you can feel their hesitation, and you can take advantage of that. – Like in all Olympic sports, it takes great ethics, it takes great discipline, it takes great, hard, unbelievable work. And when you think you’ve reached the top of dedication and hard work, it takes even more. You have to live it. You have to sleep it. You have to dream about it. Your whole life is that particular sport. Immerse your mind, your body, your spirit, your soul. That’s the only way you can become great. That is the only way. – Even while you’re working out, sometimes you have doubts. But you’re like, “Nah, I’m
working out right now.” The mental preparedness
comes from the sweat equity. I put in a body of work, and that gives me more confidence. – Daryl Homer has unbelievable technique. He is superfast. He has great defense. Well, all Olympians have that. But he has something a little special. He has a good mind – he is able to find out what works against this person within seconds. He has mental toughness. He knows how to play chess with his body. He has a good nervous system. All the ingredients, very rare, but all the ingredients you need to become an Olympic medalist. – I won the medal in Rio, I just remembered all the work, and all the times I doubted myself. I was like, “Yeah, it was all worth it for this.” Your life flashes before you. I was like, “This is amazing. This is amazing. This is literally amazing.” I think the biggest thing plaguing a place like the Bronx is kind of like … we
call it “brain drain.” When you become something or someone, many times you move out of it, right? And, I think, you don’t invest back in it. I think the more resources
that are invested here, in a way that kind of
helps the community and helps the people, will only, like, feed more greatness. – He has a lot more time to sharpen his sword, a lot more time to rise to higher heights. But I always tell Daryl this: “No matter how great you are, or how great you think you are, always remember you have to give back to the least of these. You have to give back to children. That’s what life is about. The more you give, the more you receive.” – You can’t battle your opponent if you’re battling yourself. You have to put a lot
of things into yourself so when things don’t go well you still have reserve. Go! – Give, and then you will be given a lot. Help people, and you will
rise to higher heights. – So the sword’s there
and my arm’s here…. I’m going to go here. O.K.? Hey. No, no. In here … I’m gonna lunge. – I’m impressed the heights
that he is achieving in fencing and in life. And I expect to see more greatness come out of him. – There is going to be one, two, three, however many people like me, who are able to do something like this. It’s very unlikely that all of these things could happen, that someone in the environment I was in could find all these resources. But if I could give someone
else those resources, it’s not as unlikely for them. It’s giving people an opportunity. It’s giving people an opportunity. – Sports is a mirror image of humanity. The Olympic Games were created in 1896 to stop wars. The objective of the Olympic Games is to fight each other through sports and through peace. That’s why the Olympic Games was created. So I believe that we can use the sport to fight, but more so
to uplift one another, to know one another, to
encourage one another, to see that we are pretty much all the same people. So sports make us come together. And I believe that by coming together, bridging the gaps, we’re able to uplift one another, encourage one another, even love one another, and help all of us – all of us, different backgrounds, different color, different race – help all of us to
contribute to the greatness of mankind.

10 Replies to “The Greatest Male Fencer in US History; A Bronx Tale | The Players’ Tribune”

  1. WOW! Outstanding video, inspiring story, this is truly a master piece! Magnificant post, thank you!!! 👍👍👍

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