“Is there a reason why the uniforms are all white?” asked Carla Hutchinson, as Coach Dan fastened the zipper in the back of Kassandra’s uniform.
“Tradition, more than anything,” he said. “It goes back to the days when fencing turned into a scored competition, instead of a blood sport. Back then there were foils with these little prongs at the end of them,” he said, holding up the tip of a foil to Carla, dabbing the plastic tip to help her visualize where the prongs sat. “They’d dip a piece of cotton in red paint, and put it at the end of the foil, where the prongs held it in place. When you hit your opponent — if I may,” he said, pointing his foil gently in the direction of Carla, who nodded to allow Coach Dan to touch her with its tip ” — some of the red paint was suppossed to get on your opponent’s uniform. Back then, you were required to wear white uniforms to make it easier to see when you got hit. Now electric scoring’s eliminated the need for wearing white, but by the time that came around white uniforms had become a long-standing tradition that nobody was willing to challenge.”
Carla’s eyes widened. “How interesting!”
“Of course, some guys figured out they could coat their uniforms to repel paint — that was fencing’s first cheating scandal.”