Playing catch other than in the vague sense wasn’t ever part of my curriculum at the Academy. Venatori fathers don’t play catch in the backyard with their sons. They don’t teach them how to swing a baseball bat to hit the ball. We aren’t taught to shoot hops nor are we taught to throw the long field spiral or kick a soccer ball. We are taught one thing – to fight.
Our physical education classes consisted of various combat styles. At first we started out with the easy things like boxing and other various martial arts. As we got older we started using more mundane weapons, things like swords, and cross bows and guns. We were taught to kill before we were 15. Even a Scrin, our nerdy bookish people or those who don’t want to be hunters. But even a Scrin can take down a werewolf if he had to. They may be rusty having to rely on the knowledge they learned in the academy but every Venatori knows.
This isn’t to say there was no competition. There was plenty of competition. Every six months the Academy held a tournament. This tournament ranked every individual based on their past performance, their last six months of training and we fought a double elimination battle for the best spot. I never came in first. There is always someone faster and stronger than I am. I did manage a third place once when I started using my ability as an assist. But that was an accident. I tried to keep my nose out of the top hierarchy of things lest my ‘specialness’ became even more of an issue.
Being bottom of the barrel consistently meant you weren’t cut out to be a hunter and usually that’s where the Scrin fell anyway. There were a few rare apples that were training to be hunters who would fall down there. Thankfully I never fell below 50% at any point in my life. I may be half-human but I work my ass off to be a good hunter. There is no way in hell I could be a bookworm forever.