They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Some pictures are worth much, much more.
At 11:15 p.m. on Sunday, February 17, 2013, Justin Meram tweeted “You kidding me with this?” The “this” in question was an Instagram link to the following photograph:
From left to right: Kyle Hyland, Konrad Warzycha, Justin Meram, Eric Gehrig, Matt Lampson, Josh Williams, Andy Gruenebaum, and Daniel Withrow.
This may be one of the greatest photographs in the history of photography. I immediately knew that its story must be told.
What follows is an oral history of eight Crew players’ outing to a dining and entertainment establishment called Medieval Times. In order to thoroughly document the story of the evening that produced the legendary photo, I conducted separate interviews with all but one of the participants, collecting almost 90 minutes of independent recollections. Just when I finished weaving all of these tales into a coherent narrative, I then received a stupendous email from Matt Lampson. It was obvious to me that this email could be chopped up to serve as omniscient narration for the already-collected tales. At the end of the story, there will be a link to Lampson’s email to me in all of its purest majesty. (Also, please note that any usage of the word “wench” is meant in its original medieval context.)
When I interviewed rookie Dan Withrow, he told me that in order to properly tell this story, it would need chapters. “I’m going to be disappointed if there aren’t chapters,” he said. Rookie mistake. He doesn’t know how I roll. Behold the 11-chapter table of contents and enjoy an over-the-top recounting of an over-the-top evening immortalized in an over-the-top photograph.
Matthew Lampson: ‘Twas a night intended for glory. Two months into the epic anguish known as “preseason,” the figurative Black and Yellow Knights of Columbus desired an evening of majesty, excitement, and copious amounts of medieval fare. The greatest warriors of the lands convened in the mysterious realm known as Orlando. Little did the young squires know, this…was a night of fate and destiny.
With per diem weighing heavy in their pockets, the (figurative) Knights of Columbus felt the manly urge for meat and mead. After much deliberation and angst amongst themselves, it was determined that an evening watching the greatest warriors of any dinner show in the mysterious land of Orlando, and stuffing their faces, was in order.
Justin Meram: I drove past it (Medieval Times) when I was going to the post office to send some stuff home. I mentioned it, but it was nothing serious. I had never been to something like that, so, you know, change it up. People heard about it and it just spread from there. Lampson came into our room and said, “Let’s go to Medieval Times.” He had already called, so me, Josh, and Eric were all gonna go. When they called the said we had to be there an hour early. We changed our clothes and we headed on out.
Eric Gehrig: We saw that it was right down the street from the hotel and Justin had mentioned that he had never been there, and I was like, “We should go.” Justin was like, “I’m down.” We had a re-gen that day and then we had the next day off, so we thought it would be a good day to go. Then we started flirting with the idea a little bit and asking around. Josh wanted to go, then we heard from Andy and Matt, so we called and we were like, “Let’s go.” We rushed out of the hotel and got there maybe 45-50 minutes before the show started.
Kyle Hyland: Me, Matt, and Konrad were in the hot tub and Matt started talking about going to Medieval Times. We were on board.
Daniel Withrow: I kind of stumbled into the plans. It was around dinner time. We always have to coordinate because we only have three vans for the whole team, so I knocked on Andy’s door to see what was going on for dinner and he said, “I’m going to Medieval Times.” My jaw hit the floor. I said, “No, WE’RE going to Medieval Times.”
Josh Williams: It started as kind of a joke. I didn’t think we were actually going. Next thing I knew, several guys were going and I knew that I couldn’t miss this. I had actually been there before. One of my family’s favorite movies is The Cable Guy, and there’s a big scene that takes place there and we thought it was hilarious. So I actually went there with my family once during a family vacation. I knew what to expect but I wasn’t really saying anything. No spoilers. I didn’t want to spoil it for anybody.
Andy Gruenebaum: I think Lampson had the idea to go. Ever since the movie “Cable Guy” I’ve wanted to go. The rest is history. It was a great idea by Lampson and we just decided to make a night of it.
Konrad Warzycha: It was a spur of the moment thing. All of us hopped in a van and headed there.
Meram: We had access to vans for the team, but you have to be over 25 to drive them. Luckily we had Gbaum and Gehrig. Both of them are old and losing their hair, so we had someone to drive us.
Lampson: The small brigade of eight (figurative) Knights of Columbus boarded their great white carriage, which happened to be a large Chevy passenger van. Escorted by their fearless leader, Andrew of House GreenTree (more widely known by his war name, ‘The Hebrew Hammer’) the (figurative) black and yellow Knights of Columbus made their two mile journey to the castle of Medieval Times Orlando. As they disembarked their great white chariot, their eagerness as they sauntered across the moat and through the castle gates was palpable.
Behold! Medieval Times! (Photo by Matthew Lampson)
Gehrig: We pulled up and we were so jacked. We were so pumped up.
Gruenebaum: We’re thinking it’s everything we thought it would be. You’re parking next to a castle. It’s everything I pictured it to be. It was a great drive up. Dan Withrow got his trumpet noise going. He can do a great trumpet noise out of his mouth.
Withrow: My trumpet’s pretty good. I was abusing my powers. I was doing it every chance I got. If I heard a trumpet, I would try to outplay it.
K. Warzycha: I was actually sitting next to him, so I got to hear his trumpet a good amount. I didn’t know that he had that in his bag, but he does.
Gehrig: There was a medieval village outside where you could buy stuff. I didn’t get a look at it. I think it’s during the day. They had a bunch of different stuff. There were people dressed up and it was hilarious. We were talking in all of our medieval accents just to hype it up a little bit.
Gruenebaum: We totally changed our language to Olde English, I believe it is. I would just look at Lampson and say, “Winter is coming.” That’s from Game of Thrones. But the guys were great with coming up with some unbelievable sayings. Just lots of “me lord” and “me lady” and “my liege” and stuff like that.
Withrow: That was when we were pulling in. We were just goofing around and we saw the people in old costumes and we were saying, “Welcome to ye olde Medieval Times!” We pretty much ran from our van to inside the building. We parked like 200 yards away and it took us ten seconds to get inside the castle. Once we saw the castle, we knew this place was the real deal.
Josh Williams and Justin Meram outside the entrance to Medieval Times. (Photo courtesy of Josh Williams)
III. BUYING TICKETS
Lampson: After a small amount of waiting in a line full of peasants and peons, the (figurative) Knights of Columbus had their chance to order their tickets. Fully expecting a lofty price of entry per person, the Knights were pleasantly surprised by the generous group rate with which they were given. Following the purchase and the less than necessary and fully creepy comments from their ticket wench, the knights realized the gravity of the seats they were assigned. The knight with which they were now linked to, in both honor and allegiance, was indeed the Black and Yellow Knight.
Gehrig: So then we cross the drawbridge over the moat and go into the castle. Then we got our tickets. I think we got a deal because the lady at the ticket window thought we were attractive. She was like, “Damn, you guys are attractive,” and then blahblahblah, and then she said it would be 35 bucks each. So then she gave us our tickets at Table 4. She said, “I gave you guys good seats too.” They were in the second row.
Meram: She was like, “Are you guys from Columbus? I’m going to have to move out there.”
Williams: [Laughs.] We had a good looking group of guys as you can tell from the picture.
Meram: Thank God Gehrig cut his hair, right? He actually looks like a good-looking kid now. Somewhat.
Gruenebaum: The scenery in there, I mean, if we were the attractive ones, then the standards were as low as possible. So that may have been the case. I don’t know.
Withrow: If she was 80, we all would have been like, “Awwww, thank you.” But she wasn’t, so we were all like, “That’s kinda weird.” That was just the stepping stone for what the rest of the night was going to be at Medieval Times.
Gehrig: So we got our tickets and of course they give us the yellow knight. It was ridiculous. So she gives us our table assignment and we all got our yellow crowns. We’re like, “How does this happen? Of course we’re yellow.”
Meram: Are you kidding me with that? The yellow knight for the Columbus Crew? Everything was just falling in order.
Gruenebaum: It was meant to be. That’s what we decided.
IV. THE PICTURE
Lampson: This twist of fate only heightened the excitement for the young brigade. As the knights made their way inside, they were stopped by some wizardry which captured their images which could later be purchased for $9.99 plus tax. The image has since been recognized as one of the greatest depictions in Columbus Crew lore.
Gehrig: So right when we turn the corner after getting our yellow crowns is when we took the picture. The picture is epic. It was literally like we were meant to be where we were at that moment. It was spur of the moment. We just walked over there. I sat down. Matt sat on my lap. And then we were like, “No smiling!” Of course, the two on the end blew it by smiling
Meram: When we got in we took a family picture in a knight’s chair. Konrad and Kyle really messed it up by smiling, but it’s still one of the quality pictures in my life.
Withrow: We were all on the same page. There was to be no smiling. Nobody smiled in old pictures. Lampson is sitting on Gehrig’s lap and we’re all stonefaced, but then Kyle and Konrad are in the corner smiling like little children.
K. Warzycha: It was my first time at Medieval Times and I was just so excited. They were talking it up so much that I was just caught up in the moment and I smiled.
Hyland: We didn’t get the memo about not smiling, so me and Konrad ended up smiling and making the other guys very angry.
Williams: We gave them a bunch of stuff for that later. This was serious stuff. There’s lives on the line. You can’t mess that up by smiling. There’s battles going on.
Gruenebaum: They’re just extremely nice knights, I guess. Actually, I don’t think they’re knights. If you smile, you’re more like the guys scooping up the poop while we’re the guys on the horses going into battle. So that’s the difference there.
Williams: I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but as soon as I saw the picture, there was no way I wasn’t getting it. I had to buy it. I mean, can you believe it turned out that way? Unbelievable. It’s a great picture. I guess I just wasn’t really paying attention and realizing what all was going on until I saw the picture. I was like, “THAT’s what just happened right there?”
Withrow: Great picture. But if all of us had been serious, I might have made a Fathead out of it and put it on the wall right behind my bed. Incredible.
Gruenebaum: It’s just a money-making scheme that every theme place does where you take a picture and then you can buy it at the desk. There were six or seven suckers in our group that bought one, but I was one of the only smart ones who didn’t. I’ve got to save that per diem. I’ve got a daughter at home who needs timothy hay and pellets, so I didn’t buy one. The memory is in my head. And on my phone.
[NOTE TO CHILDREN’S SERVICES: Gruenebaum’s daughter is a pet rabbit named Roo.]
Lampson: The waiting area was full of common folk buying expensive and useless trinkets. The knights’ throats were dry, and needed quenching. The barkeep had a familiar dialect to one of the knights. Young Konrad of House Polandia (more commonly known by his war name ‘The Polish Pistol’) was more than willing to converse with the bar wench in their common tongue of Polandia. After acquaintances were met, the (figurative) black and yellow Knights of Columbus patiently waited for their group to be called into the arena…group yellow 4.
Gehrig: So after the picture and before the show, we were at this little cocktail hour thing. We had a couple beers. Me, Andy, and Josh were talking to people wearing all the different colors and telling them that they have no chance. We were talking some serious (crap) to some random people. We were really immersing ourselves in the medieval culture. We were ordering beers like, “Fetch me an ale from ye cellar” or whatever.
K. Warzycha: We were doing our best to use Medieval Times language.
Gehrig: Lamps wasn't drinking because he’s Lampson, but we were all doing the accent. They tried to give us a stein, but we just went with the collector’s cups. I have them up in my room.
Withrow: When we were in the waiting area before they seated everybody, if it got quiet, I would do the trumpet and people would look around and get excited, like, “Is it time?” It was amazing.
Meram: I took a picture with the king. This guy was 85. Baller. He had long white hair. Incredible.
Justin Meram with the king. (Photo courtesy of Justin Meram)
Gehrig: So we’re having our beer and the king is walking around straight-up knighting people and we’re screaming “Yeah!” We were so pumped up. We just couldn’t wait to get inside. None of us got knighted.
Lampson: The King’s Herald beckoned for the yellow 4’s, so the black and yellow (figurative) Knights of Columbus made their way to the arena. They found their places and patiently waited for their feast to begin.
Gehrig: We met our waiter and we started asking him how good the yellow knight was, and he said he was pretty good. We were pretty stoked, and then he started bringing out all of the food. There was Pespi, tomato soup, half a chicken, some ribs, potatoes…it was pretty good food.
Meram: The food! Are you kidding me? The food was incredible. The tomato soup was outstanding. I drank the whole thing. The chicken was falling right off the bone and melting in my mouth. The ribs, a potato…the dessert was an apple turnover. Good stuff.
Williams: Justin and I were talking about how good the food was. We just went at it like barbarians.
Hyland: There was no silverware. We had to sip our tomato soup right out of the bowl. Everything was with your hands, so it took you back to medieval times, really.
Withrow: It was pretty good food, but I’d like a fork. Call me old fashioned, but I’d like a fork.
Gruenebaum: There were no utensils IN medieval times, hence there are no utensils AT Medieval Times.
K. Warzycha: The food was good. I didn’t know you ate with your hands, so that was kind of surprising to me. Some of the guys were all over the place, but I kept it together.
Williams: When we were done, we got a wet-nap. I didn’t know they had those in medieval times, but I guess they did.
VII. OPENING EVENTS
Lampson: By this point in the challenges, whether it be jousting, swordplay, horse-riding, or spear throwing, it was clear that the black and yellow knight was far superior to his competitors. The (figurative) Knights of Columbus took every chance they could to ensure that everyone in the arena was aware of their knight’s superiority. One may even go so far as to classify it as “yellow swag,” as there is no basketball or football team in the Land of Columbus.
Gehrig: We were in the second row, right by the entrance where all of the knights come in. Slowly but surely the show starts. First they brought out the horses and the horses started doing their thing. They said how in medieval times, the horse played a huge role and was the trusted right hand man for the knight. Those horses were doing some crazy (stuff), dude. They were jumping around on their hind legs, bowing, running around in between each other, and all sorts of stuff.
Williams: Then they had a falcon doing figure-8s and flying around the arena, which was pretty cool. There was a guy in the middle and he would whirl this little bird looking thing and the falcon would fly off over the crowd and then start dive-bombing this guy. That went on for about 30 seconds and then he left the bird up there and the falcon attacked it and landed right in the middle there. It was pretty cool.
Gruenebaum: They had a bunch of horse dancing and things that were more of a visual aesthetic, I guess you could say. We were looking for blood, so we weren’t as into that part.
Gehrig: The king and queen sat right above the entrance. It was legit stadium seating, and the middle was a dirt pit where all this stuff goes on. So they introduce all of the knights and we’re on our seats, getting all of the fans up in the yellow section. Everyone’s laughing at us. We bought some flags, so we’re waving yellow flags around and yelling stuff, just trying to get the yellow knight going.
Then the knights came out on their horses after they were introduced. We made an absolute frickin’ ruckus for the yellow knight. The guy looked like a bad-assed dude. He had long hair, and we were just pointing at him and screaming, “YOU!”
Meram: The yellow knight? We were pumped for him. He’s a stud. Long hair, muscular…it was incredible.
Withrow: Apparently it was a necessity to have ridiculous 1980s rock hair. These guys were perfect for this.
Yellow Knight (Photo by Justin Meram)
Gehrig: After the introductions and horses, they started doing skills competitions, like jousting rings and stuff like that. They ride their horse and have to put their joust through these rings. The yellow knight was flawless, of course. They also did a relay between the three knights on our side and the three knights on the other side. Our side won. All signs were pointing to victory, so we were getting more and more pumped up. It was ridiculous.
Meram: In the skills competition, the yellow knight knocked it out. He didn’t miss a single ring.
Williams: Of course the yellow knight killed it. They did a jousting thing with some rings and then they did a spear competition where you ride your horse and throw a spear at the target. Then they went to the jousting and all hell broke loose in the yellow knight section.
VIII: THE MAIN EVENT
Lampson: By this point, it was clear that the devotion to the Black and Yellow knight held no equal comparatively to the other crowds. Soon it became evident that even the other opposing knights themselves had come to recognize and spurn the black and yellow section. Some may have classified the black and yellow (figurative) Knights of Columbus’ support as obnoxious…and it probably was. However, the knights themselves could feel their support truly making a difference. Young Eric of House Gehrigan took it upon himself to even provide their knight with the war name, ‘The Hammer.’ It only seemed fitting due to his overwhelming power, girth, and work ethic. Young Eric of House Gehrigan even went so far as to start chants of “Hammer! Hammer! Hammer! Hammer!” which surprisingly enough, everyone in the Black and Yellow section willingly joined.
Gehrig: It went on from skills to battles. The premise was that the winner of the Medieval Times tournament would fight this knight that came from the outer lands from outside the castle, which they portrayed as some barbarian guy who came over and starting talking (crap) to the king. The king was telling that guy he couldn’t be on our lands, so the premise was that whoever won the tournament would have to battle that guy.
K. Warzycha: I just thought they were going to ride around on horses.
Gehrig: The knights all fought each other, 1v1, in kind of a like a tournament. This was combat. They would joust each other, but once they got to ground, it was combat.
Gruenebaum: They start with a joust, and then with some below-average acting, one of the guys gets knocked off about ten seconds after he gets hit. Then he does a nice little roll and it turns into a ground battle with various weapons. It was still very entertaining despite the below-average acting. It takes some skilled choreography.
Gehrig: Some knights would use a sword, some would use a ball and chain, and so on. Obviously it wasn’t real, but we’re yelling “RIP HIS HEAD OFF!” We were ready for blood to start squirting out. It was pretty intense. It’s hand to hand combat and they portray him as killing the guy. Then they carry that guy off and the next two guys come on. So the guy that’s dying comes limping off and we’re just berating that guy because they had to go right by us. We’re screaming “YOU’RE PATHETIC!” and just getting under everyone’s skin.
Lampson: It was clear the opposing knights were getting annoyed. The Blue Knight (presumably from Montreal) went so far as to make gestures to the (figurative) Knights of Columbus as they heckled him. No one had ever believed it possible, but not only had the (figurative) Knights of Columbus managed to rattle the Blue knight, they had managed to get him to break character.
Williams: Our guy was the yellow knight. Of course with us being ornery kids, we singled out the blue knight because he was looking at us funny. We singled him out right away and rode him the whole night. He kinda bought into it and was having fun with us.
Gruenebaum: The blue knight, we were in his head. He won one of his battles and then turned to us and gave us a nice little smile.
Williams: It all started with the ring thing, and we had been making a lot of noise, so when he came by us, he gave us the eye. So Gehrig pointed it out and we all went off of Gehrig. When it comes down to it, I’m going to go with Gehrig started it. He was the ringleader. So the blue knight would always give us the eye after he did something, but if he messed up, we would let him hear it.
Lampson: Daniel of House Withrone (known by his war name, ‘Otto’) staked his claim as the black and yellow section leader through his extroverted loyalty to their cause. He let his voice be heard throughout the arena, and spurred his companions to voice their support.
Withrow: There’s eight of us, and we’re clearly going to be the loudest people there. We’re all yelling. You hear one guy yell and then you feel like you have to raise your level, so there was competition between us. We had the blue group across from us and he was talking smack to us. Oh man, it was magical.
Meram: We had to get into the moment. I think emotions got the best of us. We were eight grown men and we were losing our voices. It was a blast. Josh and Eric were really loud, but actually, Withrow was getting really into it. He was getting scary. I think he was part of the whole act.
Withrow: Yeah, I guess I was kind of rowdy. I definitely fueled our rivalry with the blue knight. He was making eye contact with us. He would do something at the other end and then he’d literally drop what he was doing to look at us. At that point, I stood on my chair and yelled across at him. It was a legitimate rivalry. It got to the point in the show where he died. They carried his body right in front of us and we were giving it to him. I was screaming, “GET HIM OUT OF HERE!” I spared nothing going after him and him only.
Williams: I just kept dropping Cable Guy lines like, “Spike him!” I heard a “Rip his head off!” from Gehrig.
Gruenebaum: There was a 12-year-old girl in front of us yelling, “Off with his head!” That was the highlight of my evening. This little girl wanted more blood than we wanted, which was incredible.
Williams: I don’t know if Medieval Times has ever seen that type of rowdiness before. We were inspired by the Nordecke. Gehrig kept saying, “I can’t believe we’re yellow! I can’t believe we’re yellow!” Not only that, it was yellow and black, which was perfect for us. We basically took the Nordecke to Medieval Times.
Gruenebaum: Young Daniel bought me our black and yellow flag. We were proud to wave that flag all night.
Gruenebaum and Withrow with their flags (Photo by Matthew Lampson)
Meram: We were 100% the Medieval Time Nordecke. I mean, the Nordecke is a top-notch fanbase in America, and we just wanted to have a little fun.
K. Warzycha: That made the whole experience for me. We started cheering and getting into it, and then the people around us started cheering and getting into it. And then our knight ended up winning, so it was perfect.
Gehrig: Slowly but surely, the yellow knight took everyone down. By the end of the night, our throats were shot. Absolutely shot.
Lampson: Challenge after challenge, the Black and Yellow Knight imposed his dominance over his competitors. In the final sword duel, while there were times that he looked in dire peril, the young (figurative) Knights of Columbus were there to support him on to victory.
Gruenebaum: The yellow knight, this guy was a master at everything. He could hit you with a sledgehammer or do whatever. This guy was clearly the best.
Williams: I didn’t really quite get the whole story, but after the yellow knight beat all of the other knights, he had to face some guy who I guess was trying to take over the kingdom. He was, like, from a rival neighboring kingdom. So the king arranged for their best knight to face our best knight, which was the yellow knight. He ended up beating him down, much to the delight of us yellow knight supporters. Of course, at that time, the whole crowd was with us.
Gehrig: So the yellow knight ends up winning the Medieval Times tournament, and he has to go 1v1 against the barbarian. He ends up winning and the king is doing his thing and we're all going nuts. We were on a completely different level. We were so excited from the win.
Meram: The evil guy came out and the yellow knight had to take care of him. It was easy. Piece of cake. Yellow knight brought his A-game. He ate his meat and potatoes before the match. He didn’t lose a fight. He was the champion.
Lampson: The Black and Yellow Knight was the Champion of Medieval Times. What an incredible twist of fate. The Knights of the Columbus Crew immediately came to the realization of how incredible this night truly was. Not only were they destined to represent the same colors with which they embody on the field of battle, but those colors evoke undying devotion from their supporters at Crew Stadium as well. And above all, the Black and Yellow Knight was crowned the champion, the ultimate goal that these young men strive for every single day.
Meram: The yellow knight won, so the next thing up is the Supporters’ Shield, Open Cup, and MLS Cup.
Withrow: It was all fate. Of all the knights, we got the yellow and black knight. And then he ended up dominating the whole thing. I mean, come on.
Williams: That’s what we were thinking. We were by far the loudest section and maybe that played into it. Maybe we gave him a little edge.
Gehrig: We almost wonder if because we were so loud and raucous…I mean, maybe it’s just random that the yellow knight won, but maybe they were like, “Dude, the yellow knight has to win this.”
Withrow: The other theory is that since the lady at the ticket window thought we were hot, she knew who was going to win and so she gave us that knight. That was a theory. We obviously never went back and found out.
IX: POST-BATTLE MEET AND GREET
Lampson: Following the exodus out of the arena and into the common room once again, all of the defeated knights were there to mingle with the common folk. As the troop of (figurative) Knights of Columbus made their way through the people, they were tickled to overhear comments such as, “Not THESE guys again,” and “Oh geez, it’s THOSE guys.” They took those comments as endearing compliments, and continued their search to convene with their champion.
By happenstance, the young men ran into the Blue Knight. After a laugh, the Blue Knight assured the knights that everything was predetermined, and that they had no sway in the outcome of the evening. Joshua of Kleve Land advised us all to blow these comments off entirely, as he had both sensed and labeled the Blue Knight (presumably of Montreal) as a sore loser.
Gehrig: After the show, we knew they were all coming out. The blue knight comes out and we’re talking more (crap) to him.
Williams: We greeted the blue knight with some boos. We jeered him a little bit, but we gave him the benefit if the doubt.
Gruenebaum: It was all in good fun. We were going to go back every night until he retired, but one night was good enough.
Williams: We wanted to talk to him to get some information about how serious they take it and stuff like that. I mean, they must practice because they’re pretty good at everything they did. I was surprised at how good they did.
Gehrig: We told him we were hoping it was going to be him against the yellow knight. The blue knight was the yellow knight’s rival. He was legit. I think he was ready to flip us off all night. Anyway, he said he was in the final in the earlier show, but it in our show, he was supposed to lose. It’s scripted, obviously.
Hyland: We tried to get our picture taken with the blue knight, but he wasn’t really having it. He said it was all predetermined and he was bummed because he was supposed to have the last fight but it got rearranged last minute and then we showed up and started talking crap to him.
Gruenebaum: The blue knight expressed his disappointment in the outcome because it is predetermined. We got after him and he knew he was going to have to lose the match. I hope these guys have a day job as well.
Lampson: And then, like an angel coming from the heavens, the Black and Yellow knight emerged. He had an aura, an ambiance about him. After the young men rushed him to show their gratitude and support, it became apparent that the (figurative) Knights of Columbus legitimately embarrassed this man. However comical it was, the brigade implored for a group photo. Everyone stood proud to be in the presence of the champion. Justin of the Meramese Islands and Kyle of the High-Lands may have even shed a few tears of appreciation and admiration.
Gehrig: Then the yellow knight came out and we were screaming and we jumped on him.
Withrow: When he came out after walking down this long tunnel and he saw us, you knew he was so embarrassed and just wanted to turn around and go back to the locker room. He actually looked at the ground and started shaking his head and we’re just screaming, “Yeeeeeeeahhhh!” The yellow knight was definitely mortified that we were still there. A look of terror crossed his face. It was like, “These guys are still here?”
Gehrig: I mean, we’re all grown men, he’s a grown man, and we know this is fake, but we’re acting like this guy is the second coming of Christ. You could tell he was like, “Okay, I have to act like a badass, but man, this is embarrassing.” So we got our picture with him. We’re all on the stairs acting all serious. It’s so money.
The Yellow Knight Photo courtesy of Justin Meram
Gruenebaum: I don’t think he was too thrilled to see us, but he was a good sport about it.
Williams: I think it kinda got to the point where everyone may have been a little over us. We were noisy and I think everyone was kinda like, “Alright, let’s get away from these guys.”
Gehrig: You could hear people saying, “Oh God, it’s these guys again.” People were just in terror, dude. It was hilarious.
Williams: Then we bowed to the king. That was the last thing we did. We Tebowed to the king.
Photo courtesy of Justin Meram
Withrow: The best part was that we set it all up. We waited for an opportunity, gave the camera to someone else, and then we all walked up to him and kneeled down while nobody says a word. The picture’s taken, then we get up and don’t even say a word afterwards. We just walked away. He was like, “Ohhh, you guys were into it!” in his terrible king voice. He had no idea what was happening. All eight of us walked up, bowed down, took the picture, got up, and then got out of there. That was a perfect capper to the night. We never said a word to him. He had no idea. He didn’t know what to do.
Gruenebaum: He was very honored. To have such A-List celebrities in front of him and bowing down to him was a pretty humbling experience, I’m sure. He thought we were a rowing team, but whatever.
Meram: Even when it was time to go, we kept talking trash to anyone who had different colored crowns on. Anybody that wasn’t supporting yellow, we were on their case.
Gruenebaum: On the way back to the parking lot, we were still waving our flag and yelling at people, making sure they knew that the yellow knight ruled.
Lampson: Following the Tebowing in front of the King himself, the (figurative) Knights of Columbus took their leave. They frolicked to their great white Chevy carriage, already reminiscing one of the greatest evenings of their lives. With flags, cups, and crowns in hand, Andrew of House GreenTree led them back to Castle Embassy Suites.
X: STORMING HIGUAIN’S CASTLE
Lampson: As the (figurative) Knights of Columbus scampered briskly up the steps of Castle Embassy Suites, they had heard a foreign ruckus that caught their ear in a nearby living quarters. Eyeing that the door to this area was ajar, full of both zeal and excitement, the young men burst within the room. Much to their incredulity and anticipation the room was filled with fellow Black and Yellow (figurative) Knights of Columbus. These particular Black and Yellow knights, however, were representative of the faraway lands of Sudamericanos (known for their technical skills, questionable attire, and uncanny ability to all fit in the same vehicle.) The immediate interaction was full of shouting, astonishment, and uncertainty. After the photographs were shoved in the faces of the Sudamericanos, they began spewing questions to the (figurative) Knights of Columbus in some strange language. One Sudamericanos (figurative) Knight of Columbus seemed to take the lead over the others in his bewilderment. He was later determined to be the legendary Sir Frederick of House Eegwhyeen (known by his war name ‘Pipa’ and distinguishable by his strange resemblance to hobbits in stature.)
Williams: We were still hyped up when we got back, so we broke into rooms.
Withrow: To get to Andy’s room, we had to walk by Pipa’s room. The Spanish guys are always in there, and we saw Pipa with his kid in there.
Williams: Pipa, Matias, Glauber and all those guys were in there and we still had our crowns on and our flags and we were chanting and everything. They didn’t know what was going on, but we let them have it.
Agustin Viana: It was incredible. We were just relaxing in the room on our day off and we just started hearing some noises. We heard some people shouting. And there were those guys, our teammates, with something on their heads. Then we realized that they were coming from the medieval game and it was really funny.
Withrow: All of us just piled into Pipa’s room. Of course, I was playing my trumpet. We’re waving the flags and screaming about the yellow knight. Then we put a crown on the kid’s head. We left there with pride.
Federico Higuain: My family was with me and so my son was also there. They put the crown on the baby and that was surprising. I couldn’t believe it. At that moment, I thought they were crazy, but if I had known about that (Medieval Times), I would have been going with them!
XI: FINAL REFLECTIONS
Lampson: After it was clear their conversations were taking them nowhere, the young (figurative) Knights of Columbus scrambled out the door just as they had entered it, hastily and awkwardly. It was at this time that the young warriors of the Black and Gold went their separate ways, to relive, revel, and dream of what they had accomplished that grand evening.
Gehrig: It was great just to get away from soccer for a little bit. We just got to enjoy each other without soccer. I mean, we enjoy each other every day, but this was out of control. Just imagine us in a medieval setting screaming our heads off. It was stupid, man. It was a good time.
Withrow: It was a great opportunity to see the guys away from the soccer field and out of the hotel. Everybody was so much fun.
Hyland: Overall it was a good bonding experience and a good time for everybody.
Meram: It’s something where you need to get away from the game and all of the serious stuff and just be a kid again. We’re all pretty young. Not many people understand the lifestyle of preseason. You’re away for basically a month, and you’re in a hotel missing your loved ones. You have no car and you’re with the same people all the time. I always tell people, “Imagine the people you work with and then spending a month in a hotel with them and you can only talk to those people for a month.” After a week, things can get difficult and some chaos happens, but you have to stay positive with it. You just have to get through it. Preseason is the hardest part of the season for sure. You just need to get away sometimes. You do the business all day and then at night you step away.
Williams: It was over half way through the preseason and I think everyone just needed that. We just needed to get away from the soccer field, laugh with the guys, and go out and enjoy ourselves. I think everyone appreciated that night.
Withrow: Oh my gosh. If I could do that every night, I would. I knew it was fixed and everything, but there is nothing like going there. Absolutely. Especially as a grown man.
Meram: It was a great night. I think I dropped at least $150. Tickets, pictures, flags, you name it. I would go again tomorrow.
Withrow: We all have our crowns. I bought me and Andy a flag. Once we saw we could buy the picture, most of us bought the picture. It came in a framed box. I’ve got so many souvenirs from that place. I’ve got cups. It looks like I robbed the place.
Williams: We rubbed it in to everyone. They all seemed kind of jealous and people were talking about going the next night. We were actually talking about going every night after that and just ripping the blue knight and cheering for the yellow knight, no matter which section we were actually in.
Withrow: Konrad told his dad how much fun we had and then there was a rumor going around that the whole team was going to go the next night as a team building exercise. If the whole team would have went, we definitely would have gotten kicked out. It would have been too much. If our guy lost, we would probably storm the court in protest.
Gehrig: It was epic. Epic is the word. We got home and we were like, “Holy (crap) dude, what the hell just happened?” We were blown away. We were telling everyone on the team our stories. It was awesome. It was worth it. It was really, really fun. We had a blast. It was so sick, dude. We were straight-up knights for the night. Or peasants. Or serfs. Whatever. If I would have had a robe, I would have been in there. I wouldn’t have cared. We literally immersed ourselves in the moment.
Gruenebaum: It was a good time. The only thing that was missing was Eddie Gaven.
Lampson: Was everything that happened coincidence? Was it just chance that they represented the Black and Yellow? Was it happenstance that the Black and Yellow Knight was crowned Champion of the realm? That is for you to decide, but as a lowly scribe and witness to that night, I happen to think it is indeed a vibrant symbol for things to come.
Mathyew of House Lampsonite
[Read Lampson’s full email to me by clicking over to the blog!]
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They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Some pictures are worth much, much more.