Will Branson Varsity Dragonslaying Get its Happily Ever After?

DragonSlaying Image

It’s been a difficult year for the Branson Varsity DragonSlaying squad. Image: Charlotte Leane

It’s that time of year again — the cider is flowing, the pumpkins are growing, and the Boys Varsity Dragonslaying team is once again taking up their trademark blue jerseys and lances in the celebrated Branson tradition. Many of you remember coming to the games, enjoying the sunlight and fresh air, and basking in the sweet warmth of dragonfire. However, this much-loved sport has come under scrutiny in light of the recent spate of cheating.
According to Rule 172, Sub-paragraph 3, players are not allowed to attack the dragon until they have rescued the princess (see Rule 58) and/or taken the Grail to the goal line (see Rule 19). But several players, who have agreed to an interview on the grounds of anonymity, admit to throwing the Grail to the finish line or forgoing the quest altogether. One even confided that he had rigged the weights on the cardboard princess, thus making her easier to carry from the dragon’s lair.
These students now face prosecution by the Honor Council. Although some have criticized the death penalty for cheaters as overly harsh, hardcore fans have moved to protect this long-standing tradition. They point to the many years of pure, sportsmanly games that the penalty has created. However, critics believe the body count is too high when combined with in-game casualties. If the deaths continue at this rate, math teacher Mr. Missouri predicts that the team will be gone in one month. This is a somber pronouncement for those of us who remember the destruction of the JV team last year. (Efforts have been made to ensure the dragons are well-fed before game nights.)
But the game faces opponents from another side, too. The Animal Rights Club has taken a stand, accusing the sport of unfair and abusive treatment of dragons. They have advocated for the dragons to be moved from the floor below the teacher offices to the second floor of the gym, which would provide them with more room to run and get exercise. This may prove a good idea, says history teacher Mr. Hannick. “We get these tremors sometimes, when their heads brush against the ceiling.” He also mentions the offices’ unbearable heat, and the time finals were cancelled after several papers caught on fire. “It was very frightening. Someone rushed in with a fire extinguisher and put it out, but by then the test papers were too charred to read.” What caused the fire? “Apparently, one of the dragons had indigestion.”
In light of recent events, many of the remaining players have dropped out. Says ex-dragonslayer Kevin Lancelot: “My friend got eaten last week, and then I just decided, enough was enough, you know? It was just getting, like, way too dangerous. Too many people were getting hurt.” Asked what sport he’s taking now, he replied: ” Emu-jousting. It’s much safer.”