What is the Official Sport of Maryland?

Men dressed up as knights compete in jousting.
Men dressed up as knights compete in jousting.


Jousting was a traditional sport that was engaged by the kings in Medieval and Middle Age times, and the one which became the official sport of State of Maryland in the year 1962. It was known as the martial game, or as some call it "hastilude", in which two horsemen who were wielding lances that were in possession of blunted tips participated in the tournament. In this game, the riders use to clash with each other at high speeds, and the main motive for either side was to break the lance into the jousting armor of the opponent. It is seen that the word is derived from the French word “joster” or Latin word “iuxtare”, which means to “approach to meet”.

Historical Role

The game also played a vital role in early European historical periods as it became a popular game amongst the Anglo-Norman knighthood, and was added into the English world around the year 1300. During the Late Middle Period, it gained a special status amongst the nobles of Germany and England. Interestingly, it can be seen that the sport was popular from the colonial times in the New World, but became a popular sport once again in America just after Civil War. The competitors in the game were known as “knights”, and the “maids” were those who used to dress them in heavy armors and colorful dress. Even in the 15th Century, a tilt was used that was better known as a “tilt barrier” which was predominantly used to keep the two contestants from breaking each other’s lance and were kept at an optimal angle. Nowadays, this is also being practiced in Ring-Jousting for the contestants.

Cultural Outlook

The sport was said to be practiced from Renaissance period onward amongst the nobles of European countries like those in England or in Germany, but was discontinued in the country of France after the death of King Henry II, who died while jousting. But in the modern day, Ring Jousting is the most popular amongst the people and the contestants, and it carries cultural significance in the present time as well. This sport is actually enjoyed in part just because of this cooperation, as well as the friendly attitude and colorful aspects which are generally liked by everyone involved. In this present day, even the grounds are decorated with flags and the buntings and, one day before, a proper parade is carried out by the Knights and the Maids in their Medieval period costumes.

Modern Significance

If we look forward to the modern significance of this sport, usually the Ring Tournaments are held in order to honor the legacy of the centuries-old sport of Jousting. Nowadays, the rings are kept and the contestant has to run through a course of around 80 yards and he or she has got some 8 seconds to complete the full course and spear these rings to earn scores. This is even regarded as a family sport for many people, and is passed from one generation to the other and people play it with full vigor. As this sport carries a special influence on the people of the State Of Maryland, it was passed by the bill in legislature as the state sport, and in the present time this is enjoyed by the tourists of Maryland as well.


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