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Olympic Sports Close to Home

You don't need a passport to enjoy Olympic sports!

Photo by Marshal Davis, Liberty Fencing Club LLC

The majority of us didn’t buy tickets to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be spectators at sporting events a little closer to home. Here’s how you can get your family in the spirit of the Olympic Games without having to travel overseas.

Fencing is a popular Olympic sport in which a competitor gains “hits” by touching his or her opponent with the tip or side of a bladed weapon. Watch a live fencing tournament at Liberty Fencing Club in Warrington, PA on Sun., Aug. 12, and Sat., Aug. 18-Sun., Aug. 19. Admission to watch  is free. If you’re interested in trying fencing for yourself, your first class at Liberty Fencing Club is free, equipment included. The club also has a location in Haverford, PA.

Your family can observe classes for free at the Fencing Academy of Philadelphia in University City Mon.-Thurs. after 6pm, and children’s classes Sat., 11am-3pm. To try it out, take advantage of the current promotion, “Taste of Olympic Steel,” on Sun., Aug. 19. For $19, you can take a two-hour introductory course (typically $40), with equipment included.

Red Dragon Red Tiger Martial Arts AssociationIn lieu of one-on-one Olympic combat sports such as Judo, Taekwondo and Wrestling, head to Red Dragon Red Tiger Combatant Martial Arts Association Battle of the East Coast Champions, held at Imhotep Institute Charter High School in Philadelphia on Sat., Aug. 18. Competitions include sparring, black belt team fighting, Katas (or “form” competitions) and a weapons division. Competitors range from age 4 to adult, and levels range from white belt (beginner) to black belt (expert). Spectators can watch for an entrance fee of $5-$10.

Family fun with the Wilmington Blue RocksAlthough baseball and softball are not included in the 2012 or 2016 Summer Olympics, the sports’ International Federations are planning to propose their inclusion in 2020. Until then, enjoy low-cost, non-Major League Baseball games in the area. The Wilmington Blue Rocks play through early-September at Frawley Stadium in Wilmington, DE. Ticket prices are cheap ($4-$11) and the stadium hosts special theme nights including Fireworks Fridays and Sunday Family Fundays, where families can meet with players, run the bases and play catch in the outfield. The Camden Riversharks play through late-September at Campbell’s Field in Camden, NJ, and have theme nights including fireworks and a Harry Potter Night on Sept. 8. Ticket prices are $12-$13 (excluding Club seats), and on special discount days, buy them for as cheap as $5.

Leah Mafrica is calendar editor of MetroKids.

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