Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun
For years, it was one of Maryland’s favorite trick questions: What’s the state sport? Had to be lacrosse, right? Nope. Think knights, mighty steeds and colorful coats of arms. Jousting, baby.
The query doesn’t work quite as well these days because lacrosse became the state’s official team sport in 2004. But have no fear. Jousting, a sport that traces back to Maryland’s colonial roots, remains on the books as well.
Just to be clear, the jousting you see these days does not entail knocking a competitor from his or her horse. Rather, the rider’s goal is to spear three tiny rings while navigating a series of arches. The trick is to keep your horse calm enough to ride a straight line while wielding a custom-made lance with enough precision to snare rings no larger than 1 inch across.
The competitors wear jeans and T-shirts in lieu of armor. But they are still referred to as knights and maidens.
The state’s jousting schedule is robust, with events held most weekends from late April until early October. This year’s slate will climax with the Oct. 7 Maryland State Jousting Championship on the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds and the Oct. 14 National Jousting Championship in Brunswick.
So get thee to a joust, loyal subject of Maryland.