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The Southern "Spin" on the Medieval Joust




Two teams … two boats … two men, dressed in white, ultimately battling for victory and prestige, but in the end only one winner remains dry at the completion of the battle.  The victor raises his shield high in triumph, while the other goes home literally soaked in defeat! 

I am sure that if I were to ask you what images come to mind when you think of the Medieval World, your thoughts might quickly jump to scenes of knights on horseback clad in heavy armor as they go out into battle; or the sights, sounds, (& smells!) of a small village as it's inhabitants seek to live out their lives in extremely hard circumstances. But for many of us, our minds race toward images of the various “games” that were played during this time period. 


During the Middle Ages, one of the sporting events that was readily trained for by the knights of the time was the game of “jousting.” Knights, along with their pages, would train for this event during the “off” season when they were not at war.  After the end of the Middle Ages, the south of France put its own “spin” on this traditional sporting event.  Since 1601, instead of knights clad in armor, mounting their faithful steeds and conquering their foes on land, here in the south they battle their opponents on sea.  Two teams … two boats … two men, dressed in white, ultimately battling for victory and prestige, but in the end only one winner remains dry at the completion of the battle.  The victor raises his shield high in triumph, while the other goes home literally soaked in defeat! 


Each summer, this traditional joust takes place along the ports of the Mediterranean Sea.  It is pretty awesome to think that even before my ancestors had made their journey to America back in the late 1600's, this traditional game was being celebrated on the waters of the place that we now call "home."

For more information on this traditional sporting event that reflects an aspect of the summer activities here in the south, I would highly recommend the following website:  

http://www.en.ot-sete.fr/water-jousting-tradition-tournament.html



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