OK, drag racing fans. Grab your favorite beverage and gather ’round the computer. We need to talk for a bit. Seriously.
Today’s topic? “The Society of Creative Anachronism.”
Yep, I’m serious.
I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Dude. Wait a minute.This article is named ‘Getting Off Track.’ It’s simple. You talk to racers about their lives outside the lanes. You hit up Ron Capps and talked Metallica. Jack Beckman? We learned he plays a killer game of hide ‘n seek! You even tracked down Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top and talked Cuban hot rods. Now, you’re telling me something about some kind of…Creative Anachronism? Seriously?”
Yup. And trust me when I tell you…you’re gonna dig it.
Here goes. “The Society of Creative Anachronism” (SCA) is an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th century Europe. With a membership of over 30,000, they dress in clothing from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and attend events featuring tournaments, feasts, and dancing.
Now, at this moment most of you are thinking that this obviously has nothing to do with hide ‘n seek, Cuban hot rods, and Metallica, and you also may be thinking, “This writer’s brain has gone AWOL. He’s the one getting off track.” Hang in there with me for uno momento.
So what does this article have to do with drag racing? Easy. See, there’s this really well-known racer that you see quite often when watching the NHRA events broadcast on TV. He’s an avid gamer, makes his living in the technology field, and is a member of…”The Society of Creative Anachronism.”
“A drag racer. In the SCA. Why?”
Simple. It’s ’cause this guy has a special talent that is truly amazing and unique. See, many folks in the SCA take part in an activity called Historical Fencing, and no, this has nothing to do with putting up barriers to keep your neighbors’ wacky kids out of your yard. Historical fencing involves the study, reenactment, and performance of European swordplay from ancient times until the 19th century.
Swordplay. Yep, with swords. Real ones.
Don’t believe me? Hey, just go to YouTube and check out a few “Historical Fencing” clips for yourself. The talents and skills of the participants…they’re epic!
Now, back to our guest…Deric Kramer.
A Pro Stock pilot who combines the best of old-world skills and cutting-edge technology, Deric’s a true Renaissance guy. The Colorado resident participates in fencing events, has a degree in Electrical Engineering, develops IOS mobile apps, has been racing since the age of eight, is nicknamed “The Burnout King”, and admits that if he had the time, he would play “World of Warcraft” for hours on end!
But, it gets even better. See, being an avid “Getting Off Track” reader, you know we search out the hard-core. We dig deep to get to the truth, to reveal what you really want to know. Read on, folks, ’cause we don’t disappoint. Yep, today you’re going to learn about Deric’s marathon gaming session, his “slightly” over the speed limit trip in a Corvette, and his views on animal crackers, along with the group who has no business eating ’em! Let’s get Trackin’!
GOT–You’ve earned a degree in Electrical Engineering, so it’s obvious that education means a great deal to you. Let’s tackle the tough issues first. In grade school, there was always a “Comments” section on a student’s report card to allow a teacher to share personal thoughts about progress in the classroom. What did your first grade teacher say about you?
DK–(Laughs) “It said, ‘Has trouble focusing’, actually.”
GOT–Tell us a little more about that.
DK–“I’m sure that there was always something more important, or more…maybe a little more exciting for me to be thinking about, or whatever it was that I was supposed to be thinking about at the time.”
GOT–So, you weren’t exactly thrilled about playing in the little learning centers, huh?
GOT–OK, let’s fast forward to high school. Fill in the blank for us. In high school, you were the guy most likely to_____?”
DK–“Most likely to…umm. (Long pause) I was always speeding in high school. (Laughs) I was always getting tickets in high school…probably the most likely to get pulled over. Yeah.”
GOT–Are you willing to admit your top speed?
DK–“On the road?”
DK–“161 miles per hour. I would’ve been a few years into college.”
GOT–Oh my. Where were you?
DK–“I was actually in Sterling. (Colorado) My dad had just bought a ZR1 Corvette…I take that back. I would’ve just graduated college, ’cause it was a 2009 ZR1. Yeah. I’ll be honest with you. The only reason I was up to 161 was because at the time, my dad had only had it up to 160, and he was with me.” (Laughs)
GOT–(Still laughing) OK! So, then in high school, you were the person least likely to_____?
DK–“Ummm…probably get straight A’s.” (Laughs)
GOT–So, it turns out that you’re a big movie guy. A couple of questions for you. What movie, no matter how many times you see it, still causes you to laugh out loud?
DK–“Ummm…probably, lately…’We’re The Millers’. (With Jennifer Aniston) That movie is exceedingly hilarious. The first time I watched it my dad had already seen it. I was watching it on a flight back from a race, and he was in an aisle a couple of rows away from me, and I was in a window seat, and all he could see was me just laughing. He knew exactly what I was watching.” (Laughing while talking)
GOT–OK, so talk about a movie you can watch over and over again. Do you have one?
DK–“Yeah. ‘Star Wars’. Pretty much any of ’em. I don’t even care. Prequels, original trilogy…even the new ones. I like ’em all. I could just play ’em on a loop.”
GOT–How about this? Do you have what someone might call a favorite “guilty pleasure” movie? You think, “Hey, it’s kinda silly, kinda dumb, but I’m gonna watch it anyway, ’cause I really like it.”
DK–“Ummm…(Long pause) What would that be? Probably…(Laughs) ‘Fool’s Gold’. So, it’s with Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson. They’re in that one. There’s something about blue water and treasure-finding…yeah, it’s silly and…that’s exactly what it is, but it’s fun.”
GOT–One more about movies. Let’s say that someone makes a documentary or a reality movie about you, so you let them in 24/7. We’re learning more about you through the NHRA events on Fox 1, but what would we learn about you from your movie that we don’t know?
DK–“That I play a lot more of ‘World of Warcraft’ than I probably should.”
GOT–What would be the title of the movie?
DK–“He Does What?”
GOT–You’ve mentioned being a gamer. Talk about the first game that really got your attention, and what age were you?
DK–“Umm…‘Mario Brothers on the original NES. (Nintendo) I was probably six, seven, maybe?”
GOT–I think you’ve already answered this question, but what game can cause you to completely lose track of time?
DK–(Immediate response) “Oh, yeah. ‘World of Warcraft’. Like, I’ve been playing it since November of 2004, and I pretty much haven’t stopped.”
GOT–What’s the longest stretch of time you’ve ever played without sleep or food?
DK– “Back in college when it first came out, me and my buddies did a whole weekend. Yeah, it was like, Friday after class, we all showed up at a guy’s house with our computers, set ’em up, and played the whole weekend. It got so bad, we had a recliner that we were using as one of the desk chairs. I happened to be in that chair, and the other guys had their desks around the rooms in different places of the house, and it got so bad we were doing a quest in the game, and I was like, a football field worth of yards down the hallway from where everyone else was ’cause I passed out (Laughs) in the chair.”
GOT–You’ve played a lot of games. What’s a “dream game” that you’ve been thinking about, one you’re hoping someone would create?
DK–“The game that I really want is a game that’s similar to a Diablo-type of game, (He describes this as a top down action-RPG style of game where the goal is to press buttons to slay enemies as fast as you possibly can) but I want it to be on my phone, and I want it to be something that I can pick up and set down in a few minutes. Like, I can go into an area, destroy all the things, get all the loot, and then, be able to be done in just a couple of minutes. Like, you go in and crush something and you leave…then, you go in, you crush something else and you leave. That’s it. I want something quick on my phone, because I am getting to that point in my life where I can’t just sit around…I’ve got a lot of stuff I have to do. However, I do have moments of time that are available, and I’d like to be able to do something with them.”
GOT–What would you name this game?
DK–“What would I name it…wow, that’s a good question. Ummm…’Explosion Adventure’ or something like that.”
GOT–A couple of questions about your love of historical fencing.
GOT–From watching your “Walk 1000 Feet” segment on Fox 1 with Amanda Busick, it’s obvious you’re very skilled in that area. Let’s say you decide to someday instruct others. What is the most important lesson you would teach to a first-time participant?
DK–“So, the first thing I would teach them is that there are three things you need to know. Then, once they understand that there are three things they need to know, then, that is the three pillars of what we call fencing. Then, at that point, once they understand the three things we need to work on, then we would start going over them individually. It’s fairly simple. It’s your footwork, the range between you and your opponent, and your blade work. If you can defend yourself with the blade work, you can defend yourself with the footwork, and you can defend yourself with your balance. So, with all three of those things, they transition between offense and defense quite fluidly, but you can do all of them with all of those three pieces. You master all of those three pieces equally well, and you’re very unbeatable.”
GOT–You’ve boiled that down into something very…
DK–“Very tangible. I know, the hardest part of teaching is something that’s tangible.”
GOT–I’m assuming that because you have a love of historical fencing, that you also appreciate history in general as well. Pretend that you go back to a certain point in history that fascinates you. But, there’s one catch: it’s a one-way ticket. You can’t come back. Where would you go?
DK– “Yeah, I’ve thought about that quite a bit. I’d probably go to early or late Renaissance era. So, in that time period, the great fencing masters, they kind of had one life. Like, if they got stabbed, there was a pretty good chance they wouldn’t make it, right? Well, I’ve been effectively stabbed thousands of times, (Laughs) so my level of knowledge versus their level of knowledge would be exponentially higher, so I feel like I would just be, like, a God among men.” (Laughs again)
GOT–You’re a huge Colorado Avalance (hockey) fan. Imagine that you host a dinner party with three of the most influential hockey players of all time. Who would you choose, and what would want to talk about?
DK– “Joe Sakic, (21-year career with Quebec and Colorado) for sure. He’s first on the list. I would also probably say…Gabe Landeskog, the the latest captain of the Avalanche, and…man, the third choice is hard, because I have to narrow it down to one. Ummm…probably…if was going to go new school, I would go Nathan MacKinnon, (Avalanche player) and if I was going old-school, I would probably say Patrick Roy. (Former goalie, as well as former head coach of the Avalanche) So, if I was going new-school, I would talk about their training regimens and what they do to stay as sharp as they can, for as long as they can, because I’m obviously getting to that age where it’s going to start becoming a factor, and so I’d like to know what they’re doing to keep up with that. I’d just like to get to know them. That would be something cool, because…here’s the thing. We always put our heroes up on pedestals, right? I’d like to have a, ‘Hey, I have a poker game…do you want to come down?’ type of relationship with those guys. They seem like they could be really cool people, and right now, for me, they’re just superheroes, and I’d just like to get to know them. That would be really cool.”
GOT–Let’s say you have the opportunity to sit on the bench with the Avalanche during a game. Who would you want to sit next to and be able to ask any questions you want about the contest?
DK– “Oh, wow. Probably…(Long pause) I would say Peter Forsberg. (In 2017 Forsberg was named one of the ‘100 Greatest NHL Players’ in history) There’s something about how he played that game, how he saw the game, that was magical. That’s the only way to describe it. He could see things that were happening on the ice faster than people could even react to them. He was already doing something. It was amazing.”
GOT–In a recent quote, you said that when you’re trying to figure something out, you try and “dumb it down” and you think, “OK, what’s happening here, and what are we trying to accomplish?” In racing, you have all kinds of glitches and are constantly solving issues. Life is full of some pretty big mysteries, so let’s use your skills to solve them:
Question #1–Why do toasters have a setting on them that burns bread to a crisp?
DK– “I think the only reason there can be is so you can make charcoal for your grill.”
Question #2–If nothing sticks to Teflon, how does it adhere to the pan when sprayed on at the factory?
DK– “I think that’s a marketing scam. They’re telling you it’s Teflon, ’cause none of that makes sense.”
Question #3–What do sheep count when they can’t sleep?
DK– “Their friends, I imagine.”
Question #4–Why do hot dogs come in packages of ten, but buns only come in packages of eight?
DK– “My math is pretty rough, but I think that means you have to buy multiple packages of both.”
Question #5–Should vegetarians eat animal crackers?
DK– “No! That’s more animal crackers for me!”
Question #6–OK, last one, and this is probably one of the biggest mysteries of all. What are the real ingredients in the Salisbury Steak served across the country to schoolkids for lunch?
DK– (Immediately responds) “Oh, I would never touch that. I have no idea! Ugghhh.” (Laughs)