More on Awards. . . .

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
	 isn't there.
	 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]

More information about the Ansteorra mailing list