Quick Take: Full Metal Jousting, “Death Sticks & a Coffin”
“The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in war.” – Josh “Wolfman” Avery
Review: Full Metal Jousting, “Death Sticks & a Coffin"
(S0103) With all of the bone-grinding, muscle-rippling danger implicit in Full Metal Jousting, it’s easy to lose focus of the real heroes of the sport – the horses. Even without armor, the warhorses match the competitors’ fierceness and intensity as they tear down the track – and how can they not, with names like “Navarro” and “Praetorian?”
As the competition progresses, we get to learn the finer points of the sport’s rules, while the riders’ training gets more physically demanding as they encounter new obstacles on and off the saddle. Following last week’s first unhorsing, the competitors are subjected to the unrefined rigors of barrel-riding to get a feel for when they finally eat dirt. Some of the riders also seem to struggle with their control of the reins; in a real jousting match, the horse’s reins must be dropped prior to impact, or else risk penalization and serious injury to their steadfast steed.
Despite a few training mishaps which causes the show’s host, Shane Adams, to doubt some of the riders’ commitment, both teams finish their preparations with plenty of dented Grand Guards, and a spent stack of shattered lances. Despite a squabbling over groceries on the Red Team’s side of the house the night before the match, Josh Avery is determined to live up to his “Wolfman” nickname and take on Joe McKinley from the Black Team.
Despite the similarities between Josh’s experience as a theatrical jouster and Joe’s as a riding instructor, they each display different penchants for integral jousting techniques. Josh’s accuracy and timing are amplified by horse Navarro’s solid build and steady speed, while Joe’s riding stability and slenderer build are reinforced by Praetorian’s rambunctious rigor.
Last week’s immediate unhorsing was ultimately insurmountable, leaving the rest of the match particularly lacklustre. Joe and Josh, however, put on the most impressive and exciting duel yet, leaving it to the final pass to decide the week’s victor. Not only did both competitors shatter their share of lances against each other, but on the sixth pass, we get to witness a crushing double-unhorsing. Only separated by four points in the final pass, the riders get too anxious and miss each other, resulting in Josh winning for the Red Team’s second consecutive win by a score of 23-19.
With impending hospitalization awaiting one of the competitors next week, and a loss of ambition in another, the stakes will be raised even higher for the remaining jousters when Shane introduces a smaller cash prize – the context of which, we’ll have to wait and see.