[Ansteorra] newcomer thanks

Christie Ward val_org at hotmail.com
Wed Nov 21 08:57:51 PST 2001

>hans kemper wrote:
> >
> > Should this not be the case in a organization with so
> > many people placing such an emphasis on being period.

Doré replied:
>Welcome. If you get involved I think you will find the SCA can be more fun
>than you ever imagined. But the SCA is, first and foremost, a place to
>learn by doing so go forth and be an example. If you feel there is a better
>way, show us. If what you suggest is a great new
>idea that has not occurred to us in the 35+ years we have been doing this,
>people will follow. But don't stand over there and tell us how we should be
>doing things over here.

Um, it should be mentioned as well that there are a lot of things that we
know aren't perfect about how the SCA works - for one instance of many
possible ones, the issue over awards structure, where the lowest level of
awards carries the title of "lord/lady" while the highest level carries
"master/mistress" instead of the other way around.

While a great many people are certainly aware of problems such as this, and
periodically there is much sound and fury in the various electronic forums
on the various topics, there is also a huge weight or organizational inertia
and status quo that are next to impossible to overcome on some points.

I personally think it is completely unlikely that the whole awards structure
will ever be reformed to accord with actual medieval pratice or even
slightly more medieval practice, for instance.

So certainly, yes, if an individual sees a problem I think they should pitch
in and help and suggest new ideas for things.  However, I think it's also a
good idea in many ways to also try to find out everything they can about why
things are the way they are, and what if anything has already been tried to
remedy the situation, then make a realistic assessment of whether that is
likely to change or not.

When you're up between the status quo and a better way to do something, you
have a couple of questions you should ask yourself:

(1) Can I be happy in this organization if my idea is never adopted?  Or
will I be forever miserable because my idea is sacrificed to the status quo?

If the answer is "forever miserable, I will never be happy if this situation
continues" then the person may want to investigate some of the other
reenactment groups out there -- the SCA is not the only medieval group in
existence, and there are a LOT of others that are fanatics about strict
authenticity, which the SCA is not and will never be.  We *encourage*
authenticity, but we don't and probably will never *require* it.

Or in some situations (i.e., unhappiness over how awards are given) the
person might ought to seek out a group in which the individual has more
power in earning recognition, for example, Scouting allows a person to meet
a fixed set of requirements to achieve a merit badge, or a college where a
person can complete a fixed set of academic coursework to achieve a degree,
etc. because they will be happier in a situation where they have more

(2) Can I "go with the flow" and accept the status quo even if I don't like
it much?  Can I allow others to enjoy the game in the same old "way it's
always been" fashion, or am I going to make everyone in the group around me
miserable by insisting that things change?

This is also important - if you are going to make everyone else around you
miserable, then they're going to pay you back in spades for raining on their
parade.  This doesn't mean that a person inside the group cannot work for
change - it just means that they have to have some sensitivity about the
feelings of others and avoid too much trampling of toes while working for

Some thoughts...


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