The swords flicker back and forth like twin snakes, their owners slowly circling each other. A feint, a hasty parry, and then she lunges, her sword sliding through her opponent’s defenses.
This is the Hendrix Sword Club. Every Friday from 3:30-5:00pm, on the lawn behind Couch Hall, a special gathering takes place. Students drop their backpacks and school related worries and pick up swords and shields instead. What comes next is a raw display of pent up rage, excitement, and pure energy. Swords stab anything that moves and battle cries are bellowed.
But Sword Club is about so much more than the swords. As Rachel Petelle explains, “It’s fun to just run around with friends and not think about studying for a little bit. It’s good exercise too!” It’s important to find spaces and communities that allow you to de-stress and unwind after a long week of working and studying. College is a rigorous experience, a time to challenge yourself academically. But it’s also a time to let loose, and meet amazing people that don’t mind running around together with medieval weaponry.
Gabrielle Skerpan, the former President of the club, is excited to see so many new faces joining the club. “Last year we pretty much just had one person from every class, so we’re really happy that so many people are interested in Sword Club this year. It just makes me so happy that there are this many people that care about the club and want to help shape its future. It makes me proud.” Skerpan oversaw the club during the pandemic and worked hard to ensure that the club would remain open once the college opened its doors once again. The future of Sword Club is bright, explains Elizabeth Yang, the current President. “I want to make Gladiators big again. I fell in love with Sword Club by watching Gladiators: the goofy, theatrical production of fighting with your friends in front of an audience.” Sword Club has traditionally hosted this event on campus, but due to a decline in membership as a result of the pandemic, was unable to host the event last year. “My goal is just to bring back Gladiators and keep it running after I’m gone,” Yang stated. And with a massive boost in membership this year, Sword Club looks like it’s on the right track to reclaiming its former glory.