This column just went vernal

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DAVID LIN (INSET) ADN IN ACTION AT THE 2013 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS (RIGHT) Photos: Martin Froger-Silva and Emily Kluver

The astronomical first day of spring was just a week ago, which means sports will soon be starting up (or going back) outside, now that a non-polar season is here. We have a few big things coming in April with the usual suspects.

 

First we have another first for this column. You probably played Robin Hood, pirates or other sword-fighting games when you were younger (or even recently, I don’t judge), but have you ever thought about taking actual fencing lessons?

David Lin is a senior at Swarthmore College. During his first year there, he and the guys on his dorm floor were looking for a bonding activity — so they took up fencing.

Why fencing?

“We thought it would be cool to stab each other,” Lin said.

Lin’s sense of humor is apparent immediately upon getting into a conversation with him. He bonded with the others through fencing so fast and so well, in fact, he came out to the group within weeks of their first parry and riposte. It was something he hadn’t done before leaving home, and coming out made him a little nervous, but it was also liberating.

“I grew up in a small town in Southern California,” Lin said, “and it was very Mormon — not the environment where I felt comfortable coming out. So I was in the closet until I got to Swarthmore. I just couldn’t be out before then. But these guys are accepting and they’re all cool with it.”

Still fencing in his fourth year, Lin is getting ready for the biggest and one of the finest competitions of his college years — the USACFC National Championship. Though Lin downplayed his fencing skills, he said it’s great to be part of the team and hang out with guys he’s gone to school with the past four years. He said he’s not sure if he will continue fencing after college but isn’t completely counting it out.

“Part of what’s cool about fencing is it’s part just you against another person and it’s also about the team,” said Lin. “Everyone cheers each other on so it’s definitely a team sport, but also very individual.”

I asked him if there was a particular time in a competition or practice that was especially memorable.

“I don’t know if I should tell you this because the coach still doesn’t know,” said Lin, “but one day it was hot in the field house and we went out to the track to practice and ended up doing piggyback jousting. It was incredibly dangerous.”

And he advises against trying it.

The USACFC National Championship, the largest collegiate fencing event in the world, is April 11-12 at the Sportsplex in Feasterville. For more information, visit facebook.com/USACFCfencing or usacfc.org/.

Stonewalling

The Stonewall Dodgeball 2015 Winter Tournament is March 29 at St. Paul’s Community Center, 1018 Wallace St. One champion out of 18 teams will dodge away with the crown. Games start at 11:30 a.m. and finish before the after party begins at 5 p.m. at Field House, 11th and Ritner streets. Come cheer on your favorite friend, color, team or team name.

Regular season play for Stonewall Volleyball ends April 7, but you can join the teams and their fellow ballers — dodge and kick — at the spring pub crawl. The crawling for charity is April 11 in the Gayborhood and proceeds benefit local LGBT agencies. “Candyland” is the theme and more info will be available in the next Get Out and Play column.

Registration for spring kickball leagues ends March 30. Sunday league play starts April 26 and Thursday league begins April 30. Each league runs eight weeks followed by playoffs; stonewallkickballphilly.leagueapps.com/.

Short Stops

• Philadelphia Fins Aquatic League is holding a social and fundraiser during the line-dancing classes 7-10:30 p.m. March 27 upstairs at Woody’s, with 50-50 tickets on the agenda.

• Out Philadelphia Athletic League is hosting an all-sports bowling fundraiser 6 p.m. March 28 at St. Monica Lanes, 1601 Shunk St. All are welcome.

• City of Brotherly Love Softball League opening day is April 12 at Dairy Fields in Fairmount Park.

• Sports and recreation info can be found inside the back page of the PGN this week.

Springtime is the best time to get out and play! Whom do you want to play with? Email [email protected].