The New Extreme Sport: Jousting

Sometimes one might encounter a simulation of jousting at a Renaissance fair, but this medieval sport is now returning as a full-contact martial art. There are about 200 jousters around the world and 30 in North America, and as Dashka Slater writes in The New York Times, the sport is becoming increasingly authentic and dangerous:

Over time, modern jousters have learned the lessons of their medieval predecessors — plate armor protects better than chain mail, and more armor protects better than less. Even so, there are still plenty of injuries: concussions and dislocated shoulders, broken hands, assorted fractures and gashes. In one much-talked-about incident a few years ago, the Australian jouster Rod Walker suffered a partly severed penis when a lance veered south during a match at a Renaissance fair in Michigan — a targeting failure that might not have happened if both he and his opponent hadn’t been competing with broken hands.

Link via The Agitator | Photo by Flickr user Jeff Kubina used under Creative Commons license | Previously: Would This 16th Century Helmet Terrify a Jousting Opponent

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Well the nitwits doing this are free to bash themselves silly but the horses have no choice and this puts them in considerable danger. I'm never for using animals as play things in dangerous "sports".
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When I worked at the Ren Faire in Northern California, I sat next to a group of jousters after hours in a nearby cafe. Listening to them talk about the finer points of jousting really took a lot of the romance out of it. They were basically rodeo guys that wore armor. After hours, they all wore cowboy hats or stained ballcaps and horseshit covered boots. Not knightly at all.
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