This past weekend, a group of concerned citizens gathered around the Koenig lawn to obstruct the training session of the Belegarth Medieval Combat Society, or what the protestors refer to as ‘LARPers”. I asked around to get a better understanding of their diverse grievances.
“Every Saturday I look out from my Koenig window and see what I could be if I were either braver or had less to lose,” said one sophomore. Others also seemed to express their own personal grievances with seeing the activities. “It perpetuates this unspoken notion that you’re not a real man until you’ve pounded someone to their knees with a phallic weapon,” said a first-year, “which, of course, is completely absurd. Right?”
One senior told me: “I watched my little brother go to the tryouts his freshman year. Sweet kid. He read books about it and stuff. These nerds went full Connor McGregor on his ass. Like, I shit you not, they smote this motherfucker. They had him cornered with, like, a shield wall, going at him with the lances. They pulled out that thing with the chain and the ball at the end of it. I’m telling you, the one and only time I’ve felt the fear of God.”
Others voiced concern about the political implications of the activity. “I saw a LARPer girl wearing a ‘Pommel the Patriarchy’ shirt in my chem lecture. Isn’t that a threat of violence? That’s a threat of violence,” said one sophomore. Another commented, “Today my LARPer boyfriend lost a Warzone match and then pensively said, ‘the invention of firearms made it possible for the anatomically weak to defeat the anatomically strong.’ This has to stop.”
I asked one of the protestors, a junior, why she insisted on referring to the Belegarth Medieval Combat Society as LARPers, or live action role-players, a term the group rejects. She responded, “Bella fucking what? Aw, shit. I thought this was against StudLife.”