Courtesy Pixabay

Hillsdale stu­dents have redis­covered an old way to resolve their dif­fer­ences — at point blank range.

“Of course, we don’t always fight with pistols,” laughed Hillsdale Gentleman’s Dueling Club Pres­ident Andrew Slang. “We rotate weapons every week so no one gets bored. Just last week we bor­rowed some of the college’s horses for jousting.”

The club meets every Wednesday to learn about dif­ferent dueling tech­niques, fol­lowed by an hour long free-for-all. While the club ini­tially began as a small circle of nemeses who endorsed dif­ferent schools of eco­nomic thought, it has since expanded.

“I would say the club really took off during the last election cycle,” Slang said. “Espe­cially once Trump pulled ahead. The con­tro­versy swelled our numbers quite a bit.”

Fol­lowing the increase in par­tic­i­pation, Slang and his fellow duelists have had to relocate several times as they outgrew their space. Though the Hillsdale campus is notably spa­cious, they chose the quad for its strategic location. However, since con­struction on the chapel began, they have moved to the Student Union.

“Yes, they started meeting in the dining hall a short while ago,” a member of the kitchen staff said. “It was a little dis­con­certing at first, really, but they had so many weapons we couldn’t say no. And now we’re used to it.”

Slang said he started the club because of Hillsdale’s famously con­tentious aca­demic com­munity.

“I grew up in a very shel­tered home,” Slang said. “And then I got to Hillsdale, and there were so many diverse opinions. No matter where I went, everyone wanted to debate me. I was so over­whelmed, I felt I had no manly recourse for my honor except the field of battle.”

For some, the con­tention is political. For others, it may be one of the finer points of Protestant or Catholic reli­gious doc­trine.

“I never would have engaged in some­thing like this,” said one beard enthu­siast. “But then someone chal­lenged my phi­losophy on facial hair, and that was totally unac­ceptable. I’m sorry, but a goatee just doesn’t count, and if you don’t like it, you’ll have to face me like a man next Wednesday.”

Others join for aca­demic reasons.

“Mostly, I just joined because my friends were into it,” sophomore Jesse Failing said. “But then I got totally hooked. People fighting every­where, blood, gore, unbridled rage — it’s like straight out of the Iliad, you know?”

Even science majors have found some­thing to love. Chem­istry major Stephen Noose joined because of his passion for physics.

“Per­sonally, the club is a great prac­tical appli­cation of my studies,” said Noose. “The bat­tle­field is all about impulse, momentum, and torque.”

The club’s officers have formed a tightly knit, dislike-minded band through their ded­i­cation to the club’s activ­ities.

“It’s a great outlet for stress, I think,” club His­torian Chris Cor­nu­copia said. “We’re all under so much pressure at a college like this, so it’s good to have some­where you can go to just like… totally murder somebody. I think it’s very psy­cho­log­i­cally healthy.”

Junior Sam Filipe, the club’s armorer, felt that he finally found a place where he belonged.

“I really found my niche as the club’s armorer,” said Filipe. “I’ve always had this fas­ci­nation with sharp, shiny things. And now I supply the club with daggers and battle-axes, so my hobby is finally useful.”

On the other hand, not everyone has ben­e­fited from the club’s activ­ities.

“There have been a few injuries so far, no fatal­ities,” says Micah Fun­f­sieben, res­ident field medic. “But that’s only to be expected, of course, since most of our members are only beginners.”

Since duelists are encouraged to go all-out during their battles, the damage to Grewcock has often been severe.

“I would be lying if I said they didn’t make a lot of trouble for us,” com­mented a member of the main­te­nance staff. “If you can’t find a seat at lunch, thank the Dueling Club. They keep smashing the tables and we can’t keep up with the repairs.”

Whichever side you’re on in any debate, the club invites you to join them this Wednesday to press your case — with a rapier, that is. After all, dueling has always been a large and bloody part of the Western tra­dition.

“I think what we do is very liberal,” said Club Vice Pres­ident J. Accuracy James. “The sword is mightier than the pen, you know. Somebody really famous said that.”

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