Long Road

SCA Post

Two years ago, I took what looked like modest steps in the SCA that turned out to be the first steps in a long, long road.

I’d recently hit the high of my journey in thrown weapons, becoming Champion, and representing the East victoriously at Pennsic. I got the then Princess of the East out to the range and taught her to throw an axe. A few months later at her coronation I officially stepped up as Deputy Kingdom Webminister. As a kingdom level office, the Webministry was pretty small and behind the scenes. There were definitely some moments of drama that we had to help with as an office, but nothing that rocked the boat that much. And as Champion, I was at Crown Tourney when Magnus Tindal won the tournament, inspired by Alberic von Rostock.

Then, of course, the whole world was turned upside down 18 months ago when COVID-19 came on the scene in a big way. Before we knew it, things were shutting down left and right. Events were being cancelled, and the SCA globally slammed on the brakes. It took us months to start to feel out how this was all going to go forward, and it suddenly became clear that the Webministry was going to be a big part of it.

A year ago, I took my growing body of knowledge and skills as part of Kingdom Webministry, and helped in putting Tindal and Alberic on their thrones in a way that the whole Kingdom could see. Tindal and Alberic were fully committed to carrying the East forward and not letting the challenges of the world stop the SCA from continuing to be an active community.

With them on the thrones, I was now strapped in for a front row seat for what has turned out to be quite the year. Sometimes the front row seat felt like the front row of an amazing live show. Sometimes it felt like the front row seat of a roller coaster, going over the precipice into simultaneous terror and exhilaration. Sometimes it felt like being Statler and Waldorf sitting in the front and making comments. We even shticked Statler and Waldorf one time.

The Coronation of Tindal and Alberic was also the moment when I took the pandemic by the horns and told the new royals that they would not be personally responsible for their own video work during the reign. Magnus Tindal is an exceedingly capable video producer and editor, and used those skills many times leading up to that coronation, but I knew that as sitting royals, they’d have enough going on.

This decision turned into an amazing set of experiences. I spent most Thursday nights with a ringside seat watching people be recognized and receive awards as I helped record the weekly Zoom sessions. I had some amazing and dedicated people practically fall into my lap to help me take those weekly recordings and edit them into usable video segments. I sat behind the screen for Ethereal courts broadcasting those video segments for all to see.

I learned a lot. I learned a lot about the production side: the things we could do with Zoom, and huge increases in my knowledge of the tools to edit video, for example. I learned a lot through coordinating the editing team: navigating the best ways to keep us organized, dividing and delegating the work, finding new volunteers to help as we ramped up and added virtual elevations to the show.

I made mistakes. I watched others make mistakes. And everyone involved extended patience and forgiveness and an understanding that this was not what we all wanted, but what we would all do anyway because that was what was required.

Yesterday, the road traveled for the past year came to an end. Yesterday, Magnus Tindal and Alberic von Rostock stepped down from those thrones as the SCA returns to full in person participation. There are no plans at this time to continue with Ethereal Courts as they’ve been done for the past year. I will not be giving up weeknights to do the things I have been doing. That chapter is ending. But I am taking with me the experiences, the skills and knowledge, and the connections made.

Yesterday Tindal and Alberic recognized the kingdom webministry and the video team that had been there all along. We were all given Augmentations of Arms, a truly significant recognition from them. And I cannot tell you how proud I am of those who were a part of this road, and to have been a part of it myself.

Next week, there be further turns in the road. Next week I conclude my time as Thrown Weapons champion. I’m excited to have a fun tournament and to find an excellent new Champion for the new royals, Ioannes and Ro Honig. It’s been a long two years, and it is time for someone else to carry the spear.

The road doesn’t end here. Because Yesterday as the Kingdom Webminister renewed his term, I renewed mine as his deputy. And because yesterday something else happened as well. Ioannes and Honig called on me to attend them at a future court and answer their invitation to join the Order of the Pelican. I will answer that question in November at another Crown Tournament, marking another connection to the past as I go forward. I do not know where that road goes, but I am looking forward to it.

I can’t end this post here. Not without acknowledging all the friends and family, and especially my wife Deirdre, who walked the road with me. Those who made it possible for me to give up so many weeknights and weekend days. Those who helped carry the load. Those who cheered or listened or answered messages and emails when I felt like I was losing my mind. I love you all.

p.s., pictures below.

Augmentation of Arms. Nataliia and Thyra
Writ to contemplate joining the Order of the Pelican

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