So my long, arduous trek that has been grinding me down since early August has finally drawn to a close. I even had a short day at work today, and spent most of the afternoon watching Doctor Who. The evening is likely to consist of more of the same, or possibly some Minecraft. And yes, me and mine are all safe and dry.
But I wanted to talk about Crown Tournament, in an attempt to debrief and to sort out my thoughts on the matter. I’m going to break this recap up into a few posts, covering my first round, the second, as well as the Warlord tourney on Sunday (in the rain!).
The big tournament was held Saturday, and we were lucky enough to have sun (and the heat that came with it) for most of the day. There were twenty-four fighters on the list: twelve knights and twelve unbelted fighters (myself included). We processed before their Majesties in order of precedence, and I while I was nowhere near the front, I was surprised I was as far from the back as I was. My girlfriend and I processed in, with a troupe of our friends as escort. I’m sure our herald said some awesome things, but I was a little too nervous to focus on much more than walking and bowing at the correct times. Thanks to all of you that made that happen.
The tournament was a 2-out-of-3, double-elimination format, with the unbelted fighters choosing a knight to challenge for the first round. I chose a duke (meaning he had previously been king at least twice), a man who has been fighting at least 60% longer than I’ve been alive. He is also one of the premier hand-and-a-half swordfighters in the area, and I don’t get nearly as many chances to fight with him as I’d like.
We talked before the tournament, and he seemed excited to see that I was fighting. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring my own hand-and-a-half sword to the tournament (I almost put it back in the car that morning). I had the opportunity to borrow one, but it didn’t feel right in my hands, and this being Crown Tournament, I didn’t want to take any chances. We ended up fighting standard sword and shield style, and I really do regret having to turn down what would have surely been a fun fight.
But as they say, old age and treachery will triumph over youth and exuberance. I ended up getting killed with the same shot twice. My head wasn’t in the right place that first round, and apparently I reached too far past my shield as I swung. Looking back, I felt like I was fighting as I would at practice, not like I needed to in a tournament. One could make excuses, such as the format of choosing a knight feels like setting up a pickup fight, but the truth is I don’t know what I was thinking. Not what I needed to, for sure.
I talked with him afterward, and it turns out he was standing just outside my range, but close enough that with a small reach I could engage. But that reach is what got me killed. That, and the fact that I stayed toe-to-toe with him, not using my youthful
stupidity stamina to wear him down. But so it goes. And I have noticed myself reaching slightly while fighting at practice; it just hasn’t gotten me killed enough to warrant changing. But what was great was that when I talked to this duke afterward, he offered to work with me to break some of those habits. I always appreciate it when someone is willing to tell you how they won, in addition to helping you avoid it in the future. So I will definitely have to take him up on his offer in the near future.
My second round felt much better.