By Todd Cline
On one hand it's not that much different than many 9 to 5 jobs. There's a guy who acts like he's king, orders have to be followed and occasional skirmishes with co-workers are inevitable.
But there aren't any cubicles at Clint Mally's workplace. And when he jousts with a fellow employee, it's not the verbal kind. A real lance is involved, not to mention a horse, shield and a large audience.
It's all part of being a knight at Medieval Times, a job the 19-year-old Mally has had for two years. At a time when many people are looking for work, he's found a steady gig at the most unlikely of places.
Like most unique jobs, Mally didn't go looking for it, it just kind of found him.
"Nobody gets this job traditionally," he said. "You don't get this job by filling out an application. It just happens."
It happened for Mally when he was waiting tables at a local restaurant after graduating from Mill Creek High School in 2007. A self-described poor server, he wasn't making much on tips. But he caught a break when he waited on some of the brass from Medieval Times. They liked his personality, thought he had the build for the job and asked if he'd like to try out.
Turns out his background was perfectly suited for the job of playing a knight at Medieval Times, where the cast (including a king) puts on a nightly show while the customers watch as they feast. Mally played football and was on the wrestling and track teams at Mill Creek while also participating in the theater department, a combination that got him a job at the castle-like structure in Lawrenceville.
"I went for an audition and they had me at a gym doing push-ups, pull-ups and running," Mally said. "I got the job from that.
"You can be a great guy, but if you can't do it physically you're wasting their time."
As an athlete, he had the physical skills down. But what about the horses? A major part of the show is the jousts performed by the knights, but Mally said riding skills weren't an issue.
"Even if you know how to ride you probably don't know how we do it," Mally said, adding that the knights ride in a style called Spanish dressage. "I didn't know anything about horses. They taught me everything I know."
J.D. Kennedy does most of that teaching. Kennedy, who plays the green knight in the show, is the head knight and trains the rest of the cast. He also rents a room to Mally when he's not teaching him the ropes.
With the night hours, it's the perfect fit for a college student. Mally is a sophomore at Atlanta Christian College majoring in biblical studies in preparation to be a pastor. The oddness of the pursuits is not lost on him.
"In the morning I'm reading the scripture," he said, "and at night I'm slaying knights."
There's a lot of practice involved, which isn't surprising to anyone who's seen the show. There are tightly choreographed fight scenes both on foot and horseback, and as Mally says: "If we get slack with it someone is going to lose a finger."
So far he's kept all of his digits while giving himself a good conversation starter. After all, not many people can say they're late for a joust. His friends enjoy coming to see him work and his girlfriend likes the role as well.
"My fiancee gets a kick out of it," Mally said of Kat Richards, a Dacula High grad. "She tells people that I'm her knight in shining armor."