A Day for Swords and Guns

Today Katie, my kids, and I (yes, I did just use an Oxford Comma) went down to my parents house for a little R&R. While there, really whenever there, I am drawn back to my high school activities of air soft fights, sword fights, bicycle jousting, and video games. What, you might ask, is a father of two doing gallivanting around having padded arrows shot at him while attempting to thwack his youngest brother with a foam sword? Having a marvelous time, that’s what.

After I was thoroughly worn out with swordplay we carried our activities inside where Nathan (my youngest brother), my Dad, and I played Modern Warfare Black Ops II together on PS3. My Dad is not the most experienced gamer (read here– “he has played non-flight sim video games thrice in my memory), but he learned the ropes quickly and gave as good as he got by the end of the night. There is something about seeing your Dad jump out of his seat after a particularly good game that makes things seem right in the world.

And this is where I think there is an ultimate difference between boys and girls. None of us talked about our feelings (not that we never do that), none of us were particularly talkative at all really. But somehow, by the end of the night, we were closer than we have been in recent memory. The act of playing together, or working together, or doing any task together is a binding covenant between men. It requests only one thing–that each man does his best, but it promises something infinitely more important–that each man who gives his best will be my brother. Yes, in terms of eternal significance, that video games means nothing. But the relationship it builds up mean everything. I leave you with this, one of my favorite quotes from all of literature and stage. From Henry V, by Shakespeare.

WESTMORELAND:

O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING HENRY V:

What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

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2 thoughts on “A Day for Swords and Guns

  1. Nice defense of video gaming co-op & manhood! I was never any good at FPS games; the action-adventure side-scrolling games were more my style of covenant-building.

    The Henry V quote kinda comes out the blue, however…

  2. Not really, Adam, the bonding and the play are just a way that Dads and their sons “act out” the kind of good against evil, protect your family, fight for what is right, and there are things in life worth dying for mentality. Then if they read history together, watch historical movies and talk about the role of men as protectors and providers with honor, they grow up and courageously live out those concepts. It is one part of a big picture of ways that men can play and work together and form an unbreakable bond that can be remembered when they play games.

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