Morning Briefing: The Force is strong with the French Fencing Federation

Lightsabers are no longer just for "Star Wars."
Lightsabers are no longer just for “Star Wars.”
(The Associated Press)

In a sure sign that the world is coming to an end soon, France’s fencing federation (cleverly named the French Fencing Federation) has officially recognized lightsaber dueling as a competitive sport. Yes, lightsabers, those glowing sabers used in the “Star Wars” films.

For fencing, the lightsabers are made of rigid polycarbonate and are LED-lighted. They even have a chip that emits a sound like you hear in the movies. Only difference, you can’t cut anyone in half with it, so if Darth Maul is reading this, you are safe to compete.

The reason for this unusual move? To get young people to exercise more.

“With young people today, it’s a real public health issue. They don’t do any sport and only exercise with their thumbs,” Serge Aubailly, the federation secretary general, told the Associated Press. “It’s becoming difficult to persuade them to do a sport that has no connection with getting out of the sofa and playing with one’s thumbs. That is why we are trying to create a bond between our discipline and modern technologies, so participating in a sport feels natural.”


Police officer Philippe Bondi, 49, spent about $400 for his lightsaber and body armor. It emits a green glow “because it’s the Jedi colors, and Yoda is my master.”

OK. So if you are in France and you are stopped by an Officer Bondi, try this: Wave your hand from one side to the other and say quietly, “This is not the car you are looking for.” Because the Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded.

Save your money

Have you been thinking to yourself, “Gee, I’d love to have some hair off of Julian Edelman’s face?” Then today is your lucky day.


The New England Patriots receiver shaved his beard on Ellen DeGeneres’ show a couple of days after the Super Bowl and DeGeneres donated the hair to Charitybuzz, which is now auctioning off the hair and will give the money to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston. The high bid as of Tuesday afternoon was $2,100.

Edelman and DeGeneres each donated $10,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs as well.

Cherry picking

Irascible hockey commentator Don Cherry, 85, is not a fan of the Carolina Hurricanes. After each home win, the Hurricanes do a group slow clap and a choreographed routine that changes each time. Sometimes they line up like dominoes and slowly fall to the ground one by one. Other times they skate to the end of the ice and jump into the glass. They call it the “Storm Surge.”


Before warning the team to stay off his lawn, Cherry said of the routine: “These guys are a bunch of jerks. This is the National Hockey League. They better not do this in the playoffs. What I don’t understand … ‘Oh, it’s young men, expressing their joy over winning.’ You don’t do this kind of thing in a pro hockey league. This is a joke.”

The Hurricanes responded by selling T-shirts with “Bunch of Jerks” printed on the front.

Best sports movie

We are at the semifinal round of our reader poll to pick the best sports movie of all time. All of the movies voted through to this round appear on the ballot. You vote for your best five by typing in this url: or by emailing me at Those five will advance to the final round starting Thursday.


The semifinalists are: “Blue Chips,” “Brian’s Song,” “Bull Durham,” “Caddyshack,” “Chariots of Fire,” “Cinderella Man,” “Field of Dreams,” “He Got Game,” “Hoop Dreams,” “Hoosiers,” “Jerry Maguire,” “The Karate Kid” (1984), “A League of Their Own,” “The Longest Yard” (1974), “Major League,” “The Mighty Ducks,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Miracle,” “Moneyball,” “The Natural,” “The Pride of the Yankees,” “Remember the Titans,” “Raging Bull,” “Rocky,” “Rudy,” “Seabiscuit,” “Slap Shot,” “Tin Cup,” “White Men Can’t Jump.”