Reminded me of the good old days of LARP in Breakheart Reservation (a state forest about ten miles north of Boston). Main difference was we didn't divide into teams. We took it in turn to play a sort of Metal Gear Solid with one player as Snake and everyone else as the bad guys in Outer Heaven (or something). Object of the game was to enter at the Wakefield side up the road from our high school and make it out the other end three miles away on the Saugus side, by any means necessary.
I'm the current LARP Officer of the Games Society here in Norwich. We have a good 16-30 regulars, every Sunday, and four times a year a good block of us will head off to Maelstrom, one of the larger LARP systems in the UK. No javelins though, stab-safe spears just plain don't get used here, although they exist. I'm an archer too, although my arrows have flat heads as opposed to the rounded ones described in the article.
I think the lure of activities like LARP, re-enactment and paintball and sports like rugby are all based on the same experience. They all attempt to create the atmosphere of a battleground. Because we react to this type of situations according to primitive, tribal instincts, the surge of adrenaline and the feeling of being an integral part of a group, can be an almost euphoric experience.
Although LARP never interested me, since it always seemed too safe and too far removed from the real thing, I used to play paintball with some friends when we were younger. I never liked to do it as a sport. Instead, we tried to maximise the feeling of dread by wearing only light clothing and playing in cramped, complex interiors, like in an abandoned woodmill. Sometimes we used assault tactics and sometimes stealth. Crawling in sawdust, in the dim, claustrophopic ruin of a building, even your own breathing sounds too loud, every shadow is a threat and every creak makes the hair on the back of your neck rise. When a paintball hit, it was almost always painful and often broke the skin, but it was also a relief, because the tension finally broke.
Ah, good ol' Dag. I was very disappointed to learn that the group at my college were more into the RP aspect than the fighting. Not that it's anyone's fault. I'm just not into the whole medieval theme, and I am not in favor of any frills. And I'm just glad we don't have any "spell casters"--it's just too much fuzz.
[big rant alert]
To be honest, I had a lot of fun while it lasted. Having good martial arts background lets me climb the ranks pretty quick. After a couple of weeks, I was on track to being one of the best fighter in my college's Dag club. I promptly dropped the double swords for two daggers (which are considered poking weapons, meaning I become extremely gimped in both range and firepower.) At any rate, I established myself as expert archer and pike men killer quickly enough. I still wasn't too happy with the slight RP that was going on, but I'm not going to pass any judgment. Besides, these guys are all really nice people. Well..except that one guy.
See, the reason I HAD TO stop going to Dag was pretty silly. Sure, it wasn't all I was hoping it would be. The weapons were way lighter than they should be (meaning flail and shield users have extreme advantage), and I can't kick people (I am allowed to kick anyone with a shield, but most of them are girls, and the guys who carry shields don't appreciate me kicking or ramming them. So I don't). But overall, I was still having plenty of fun killing the spear men. Maybe too much fun. One of the guy really had a grudge against me for killing him too many times, and for looking at this girl that he likes the wrong way. So he always come after me, and always calling me a cheater when I dodge his attacks. (It's pretty hard to know if you actually landed a hit with foam weapon. But he never give me the benefit of the doubt.) So in the end, I had to stop going because this guy is starting to give me weird looks even outside of the club.
[/end big rant]
That's my fling with Dag. Fun, not the best option if you're looking to practice fighting. And I learn that nerds can be really jealous, and they can really hold grudges!
I was part of a troupe for about a year in Texas. There were some good times and a couple really cool victories on my part. On the other hand, I also had days when I was rolled by goblins. I don't miss it. Still, some good memories.