Dear Kid,

Do you know about the pentathlon?

If you’re old-ish, you might hear “pentathlon” and think “ah, the women’s version of the decathlon.” And it would be good if you thought that because saying it out loud would prove that you’re old and out of touch. There used to be a women’s track event called the pentathlon; but somewhere along the line people realized women are actual athletes and women now compete in the heptathlon. That’s a different story.

The modern pentathlon is the only sport that comes complete with a plot. DearKidLoveMom.comToday, we’re talking modern pentathlon. Which consists pretty much of medieval pursuits: pistol shooting, epee fencing, show jumping, swimming, and running.

So basically, ride your horse across the fields (jumping over the pesky fences), swim the moat, run across the courtyard (a couple of times), fence your way up the stairs, and shoot someone. This is the only sport that comes complete with a plot. All we need are costumes.

Fencing, swimming (200 freestyle), and show jumping (riding “an unfamiliar horse”) are scored on a points system understood by three geniuses and a familiar horse. The random number of points a competitor accumulates is then converted (via an algorithm which exactly no one understands) to a handicap start for the final event.

“Wait!” I hear you exclaim, “There should be two more events!”

Yes, but the 3.2 kilometer cross-country run and the pistol shooting have been combined into a single event (a la the winter biathlon). You might think they’d rename the whole thing (quadthlon?) but they didn’t.

And in a nod to the environment and safety, the pistols are now laser guns.

Bang. I mean, bzzzzt.

Love, Mom