This weekend, I did an all-too-rare thorough cleaning of my fencing mask.
Lining – out. Strap and bib – off. All cleaned.
And I’m glad I did so, because …
Which is, um, unsafe.
And there’s no way I would have noticed this with the normal daily pull-on, pull-off of the mask. It was only because I was trying to soak the build up of sweat and floor-grime out of it that it was discovered.
I don’t even know how long it’s been like that — I can’t remember the last time it has been given a thorough safety inspection. Such inspections don’t happen in the UK, and world cups are more concerned about the conductivity of the bib than the safety of the mask.
Until one fails catastrophically, of course.
And I can’t help but wonder why there’s a seam in that particular place. I realise that seams must exist somewhere, but they are necessarily weak points in a fencing outfit’s protection. They should be better placed.
Check your kit regularly, kids. Yours could be next.