What can I say about Sherwood Forest? Yes it’s from a mythical story and you can even find one in England; but it also exists in Indiana. Located in LaPorte, Indiana about 70 miles east of Chicago you drive into an area with open fields and a large wooden clubhouse hand constructed by one of the owners Joe Stayback and his father. Upon further inspection you notice the netting; keep walking and you begin to notice bunkers and structures made of railroad ties, also hand constructed. But the one thing that stands out above all else is the castle. It creates an air of mystery and awe, draws you in, and just leaves you speechless. Complete with turrets, a moat, throne, jail, and various levels; it truly is something everyone should see.
Once you get past the castle you begin to understand how large the field is; built on 72 acres of woods bunkers are everywhere and these were real bunkers. Built up with rocks, railroad ties, fallen trees, sticks, and complete structures; which included a mausoleum (with a secret passage), 3 bases, tank roads, and various towers. Walking around this field you can see the time, devotion, and love that went into it. Joe Stayback and Kathy Watson-Love have created and constantly maintain this one of a kind location.
The event that brought me to this one of a kind place was called Supernatural: Doomsday. Written and produced by Rage in Paint and based off the television show Supernatural. Producers matched Heaven against Hell for a weekend of fierce battles. Play began Saturday at 11am as the legions rushed the field ensuring that the bases were covered and to take control of as many common areas as they could. Play continued well into the late night hours as torches were lit and night vision gear was donned. The legions called a truce around 12am for much needed rest; but play picked up again at 930am on Sunday until 1230pm, followed by an intense final battle. In the end Angels conquered the feared Hellhounds and brought victory to Heaven. The world is at peace once again.
At closing ceremonies, Bobby “Paco” Schnebel presented Joe with a memorial to be placed on the field that honored Joe’s father who passed away suddenly during last years game. It was a moment that brought many to tears and reminded each of us how much this family has done for the field. We also received disturbing news as Joe Stayback informed us that this was most likely the last big game Sherwood would host. For a field that is booked solid several months at a time and whose walk-on traffic steadily climbs; the lack of attendance at the big games takes money away from the field; so due to the dwindling attendance numbers it just does not make sense financially to continue hosting them. Anyone who has attended a game at Sherwood can tell you this is a true disappointment. Sherwood is one of those places players dream of playing at a field that should be on everyone’s bucket list and I hope we can encourage them to host further events. I hope we can come together like the family we are and support any events they may have in the future.
Joe and Kathy thank you for an AMAZING time and for the unforgettable memory of playing at your field!
All pictures from this event can be found on my album on Facebook
Article and photos courtesy of Kelly “Pistols” Brennan