In the beginning, there was Ben, born
into the family of Roberts.
Clearly forming a pattern from early on, Young Ben experiences the best Christmas ever. Note that he has not yet learned to smile. Ten points if you can name the future Knight of the Scroll playing with the dollhouse in the background.
And Ben was raised on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, and Willow, and
Dungeons & Dragons, and upon images of brave knights in their burnished
plate armor. And his parents took him to an SCA event called Mayfaire
when he was but a small lad.
And in sixteen short years, Ben
became . . . well, a sixteen-year-old young man.
Now it happened that as his
sixteenth birthday drew nigh, Ben was sitting in his room playing
Legend of Zelda with his best friend (also named - curiously enough - Ben),
and he said, "My birthday's coming up."
And there was a long silence.
And then Ben's friend Ben said,
Ben and Ben were not known for
their scintillating conversations whilst the great god Nintendo held
sway over their hearts and minds.
However, young Ben thought to
himself. He said, "A sixteenth birthday is not a thing to take
lightly. It should be something cool and memorable." And so saying,
he betook it to himself to think of other birthdays he had enjoyed.
And when he thought of his sixth
birthday (or it may have been his seventh), he remembered, "I had a
Dungeons and Dragons birthday party! And all my friends came dressed
up in home-made capes and stuff. We went for a treasure hunt, and that
To which he immediately appended,
" . . . for a six-year-old."
But the memory of that party stuck
with him, and he said, "Wouldn't it be cool to create that same sort of
feeling on my birthday party next week? But dressing up and going
door-to-door looking for treasure would not only be lame for my age,
but might also get me thrown into some sort of asylum."
Then he thought, "But going into a
nearby park and fighting with mock swords wouldn't be lame - it would be
cool and manly!" So he imparted these thoughts to his friend Ben on the
following day, whilst they were walking to Diamond Shamrock for lunch.
And Ben's friend Ben said, "You
know, come to think of it, I knew a guy up at Boy Scout camp who knew
how to make these 'boffer swords.' They were shaped like swords, but
made of pipe and padding, and you could hit people with them and it
didn't hurt. We could make some of those."
And so they went to McConnells' Hardware the following day during lunch, and bought PVC pipe and duct
tape and closed-cell insulation foam. That afternoon, they built two
"boffer swords" and tested them out in the park behind Ben's house.
By Ben's birthday party, six
swords had been made - one for each of Ben's friends. It may be noted
that - at only six friends to his name - Ben was never the most popular of
fellows. It may also be noted that anybody who was already thinking
that when they read it is a jerk.
And the first six warriors were:
Benjamin Roberts, Benjamin Holman, Brian Russell, Andrew McRae, Zachary
Mammenga and Jonathan Sargent.
That day, the six played a
"medieval capture the flag," during which each team of three tried to
steal the other's flag, and kill all the other team besides. It was
very much fun, and Ben kept humming Madmartigan's Theme from Willow, to
the endless annoyance of the other five.
It was so much fun, in fact, that
as soon as they returned to Ben's house for Nintendo, cake and ice
cream, Ben said, "So, when do we want to do this again?"
That was the start of it.
Ben's friend Ben, and also Ben. This garb has yet to be replicated in terms of sheer amount of research and authenticty.