In July of 2009, the Renaissance Re-Enactment group I was part of was asked if we could help grant a wish for The Make-A-Wish Foundation. Of course we jumped at the chance, but as a father of a special needs child I would have done it regardless. We learned that the young boy’s name was Bobby and his wish was to be a Knight and fight in a Narnia-style battle. Right up our alley!
In the months leading up to the event, dozens of people rallied with us to donate their time and resources, including a seamstress who made his custom outfit and a photographer who captured the entire event.
What we still needed, however, were fighters to assist in the battle.
On Bobby’s big day, he and his family arrived with his Make-A-Wish representative and Bobby dove into a fun-filled day of games. Our guild performed 5-10 minute one-act plays and Bobby was the Guest of Honor.
After the games and the plays, I was given the greatest task of them all—to be Bobby’s Knight for the day! I trained Bobby and his little brother in sword fighting. And by trained, I mean I gave them two of our boffer (aka foam) swords and showed them how to block, thrust and swing. Then I let them practice on me until they were done (I had war wounds for a couple days afterward!)
Before the battle, a feast was held in Bobby’s honor. He and his family sat at the head of the table while we all indulged in medieval fare fit for a king, including huge ribs, potatoes, corn on the cob and baked chicken.
The day was going great, but we were still concerned that no one had answered the call to have fighters help us grant this wish. As we entered the battlefield I was shocked to see nearly 200 people dressed as Centaurs, Satyrs, leopards and other Narnia characters ready to engage in battle! When Bobby was led by the jousting team into the field on a Morgan War horse, the crowd began to roar and I became overwhelmed with excitement. I was so honored and proud to be part of something so special.
I helped Bobby off the horse and the battle began! As the evil forces were destroyed, the Black Knight still stood, waiting to go sword to sword with Bobby.
It didn’t take Bobby long to use his newfound skills to slay the evil knight and place his foot triumphantly on the knight’s chest. Bobby thrust his sword in the air and the crowd erupted in cheers.
With the battle over, the King and Queen of Faire and our King entered the field where they Knighted Bobby. Thirty knights knelt behind him as he took his oath of Knighthood. As part of the Knighting ceremony the honoree is given what is called a colee’ (a confirmation of sorts) and each of us Knights stood up and proudly took the colee’ for Bobby.
At least a dozen different groups showered Bobby with gifts. However, one of the coolest gifts was bestowed upon him by a fantasy/ mythical guild called the Greenwood Revolliers. They had a woman reach into a walking tree (which was really a man dressed in a 10’ tall walking tree costume) and as she reached inside, her hand started to glow. She pulled out a glowing energy Amulet and presented it to Bobby.
The entire experience was so overwhelming and I was personally grateful to be covered in sweat as it made it hard to tell if I was crying.
At the end of the night when everything had settled down and I was able to reflect on the entire day’s events, I was humbled when I thought back to Bobby’s response when asked how his day went: This is the greatest day of my life!
Mine too Bobby. Mine too.
Allegiant Team Member