Yesterday I was inducted into the Order of the Golden Mantle. This is an SCA award recognizing an individual who has shown both prowess and service in the SCA to some of the auxiliary martial activities, such as combat archery, siege weaponry, scouting, or thrown weapons. This last one is my form.
This award means more to me than I can rightly say, and more than the others I’ve received in the past few years.
Five years ago, my primary hobbies were board games and indoor larps, and I spent little time outdoors. These aren’t easy hobbies to share with a one year old and I was feeling the need to get all of us out of the house more. I’d been loosely involved in the SCA in and around college, and met Amanda (who admittedly was more in the SCA than I) as a part of that. But with Amanda going to Vet school and with getting married, buying a house, and starting a family, we’d fallen away from it. We decided going to a weekly outdoor practice would be a good way to get out of the house in a structured way and that we could make the SCA work as a family compatible hobby.
So we started going to the weekly thrown weapons and archery practice. And it turns out some (then) acquaintances of ours were regulars, and that even the folks we didn’t (yet) know were very welcoming and encouraging.
Over time this activity became not only my new hobby, but also my new passion. And as much fun I was having getting good at throwing pointy things at targets, I was also finding a new community and forging new friendships. And that feeding and caring for the community, and doing my part to grow it became important and fulfilling.
Deirdre and I went through the training to become marshals (safety officers) and started helping to run practices and coach new throwers. I started helping to organize throwing at events. I got more involved in the wider community. Stepping up as the regional officer was only natural.
I’ve also watched the community grow in this time. My first SCA camping event was an event just for thrown weapons. I watched one of my (then newish) friends become one of the first two champions. I’ve seen throwing become a valued part of the largest SCA event in the world. I’ve watched as the royalty (leaders of our kingdom [greater region]) have become more connected and more supportive of the activity and those in it. I’ve cheered as new people have come in and become exemplars themselves.
In a very true sense, Throwing is -my- SCA. It’s les to some truly profound changes in me. In a sense receiving yesterday’s award is an acknowledgement that it’s been mutual. The Order of the Golden Mantle is a small one (May it not always be so), and we added three new members to it yesterday, all of us throwers. I admire the other two for their skill and passion, and I am proud, honored, and humbled to have been added to the order along with them.