More on Awards. . . .
LANGJ at mail.syntron.com
Mon Mar 27 15:34:36 PST 1995
In response to multiple questions and responses.
In *theory* one becomes involved in any activity in the SCA due to
one's interest in that activity.
If you fight, it should be because you enjoy the martial arts.
Striving, achievement, realizing that you have done your "personal
best" is the only motive that is not ultimately self defeating.
It would be disingenuous to suggest that someone should not want
to achieve knighthood, but in the final analysis, knighthood is a
recognition of two important qualities. One is the ephemeral
"knightly grace" (by its nature, a quality which is resistant to
precise definition), and the other, a degree of skill at a
category of martial art.
All our tears and angst, can't manufacture a level of skill that
I haven't a wit of musical talent. No matter how hard I might try
to do so, I can never become first chair of any orchestra. That's
life. I have watched many fighters test the limits of their skill
on the field. Most will never win a major tourney, most will
never wear the belt and chain. That's life.
I have watched many would be artisans struggle to learn period
crafts. Most do so because they are interested in the field they
have entered. It's the only good reason to learn any art. Those
who work hard, and show any skill are usually recognized with the
Award of the Sable Thistle (there are some who choose to labor in
obscurity, and there are some who labor in remote regions, where
none will see their works).
Some of those will press on. They will learn their chosen craft
to a degree that others will ask to learn from them, and the rest
of us will marvel at what they have wrought. They may be
recognized with the Iris of Merit.
Finally, a very few will achieve such a degree of artistic skill
that we can say that, in period, they might have been brought to
the royal courts to practice their craft for the Crown itself!
Here, we face a dilemma, for the accolade of the Order of the
Laurel carries the same ephemeral character as Knighthood.
The Crown is loath to decide this kind of thing on their own, and
so the Laurel's Circle meets to advise them.
There are many reasons why some quickly are recognized, and some
must wait. Each case is different, and often you can tell who
practiced their art for the love of the art, and who was in it for
the award. The former are out helping, teaching and advising, the
latter are out seeking new trophies (while the Laurel's Circle
grind their teeth)
Finally, there are those who help because they must. They
volunteer, organize, and fill offices. Those who do so from a
true desire to serve, will in time, receive the Sable Crane of
Some of them will look beyond their own branch. They will take
regional offices, kingdom offices, autocrat great events, and seek
out those who have been overlooked. They may be recognized with
the Star of Merit.
Finally, there will be those who will be content to labor in
obscurity, "Because it needs to be done." Those who will persevere
through the years between "ataboys" and baubles, because the
Society needs their help.
Here too, the Crown calls upon the Pelican's Circle to advise
them. None come early to the Pelican, for few have achieved it in
less than a decade.
Choose what you love. Then pursue your interest. Let the awards
be incidental to the wonder of your own achievement.
What value is the approval of others beside the self assurance of a
task well done?
[langj at mail.syntron.com]
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