Pennsic 43 Review: Discovering my SCA Legacy

Pennsic 43 was busy to say the least!  My first Pennsic had been the year before, and it was a one big party.  I slept all day and played all night.  Now THAT was a great time 🙂

This being my second Pennsic, I threw myself into everything I could get my hands on!

Pennsic University is my primary source for Herbalism in the SCA, and I was not disappointed this year!  With an herbal class nearly everyday (a witch trials class on the off day!), I was able to amass a helluva Herbal resources reading list!  Source material for herbalism in period has been a challenge.  As a mundane herbalist, I know my herbs, but it’s finding ways to link that back to period that I find so challenging.  The few-and-far-between Herbal and Soap Laurels are actively teaching at Pennsic U, and I am so grateful for it!  These classes fostered some GREAT discussions amongst fellow herbalists.  I would run back to camp after each class and dive into my notes and books and handouts, just soaking it up like a sponge.

For the Atlantian St. Sebastian’s Archery Novelty Shoot, I contributed two target stations, I helped set up, I marshalled the day of the shoot, I organized and donated the dayboard, and hustled through the guerilla tear down when it began raining near the end of the day.  I was pooped.  Overall, the shoot was a wonderful experience, and I love helping out the archery community.  Our archers in Atlantia are so welcoming and encouraging that despite being put way in the back at every event (live ammo and all), I don’t mind so much.  I rather like my little slice of SCAdian heaven hanging out on the range.  One of my favorite things to do is escort new archers around at their first shoots, and I had an opportunity to do that with some young’uns this year.  I think the most rewarding part of archery, for me, is how excited kids get when their arrow hits the target for the first time.  That <:-0> face of shock and amazement!

I was also a Thrown Weapons marshal-in-training at Pennsic, so I spent much time on that range, as well.  The Thrown group is a LOT of fun, if not a bit intimidating at first.  Lol.  It is certainly a boy’s club, but we are changing that Axe Maidens!  The Lords of the Thrown range are so down to earth and approachable, and were happy and eager to help a newbie like myself.  The Estrogen and Axes tournament was an absolutel blast!  I received so much encouragement and instruction and support as I dove head first into this new sport.

I had a few take-aways from Thrown that I hope to incorporate into Archery in the future.  A great example is the Estrogen and Axes tournament.  Having all Lady throwers with the Lords as our marshals and cheerleaders became such a bonding experience among the community as a whole, rather than the segregation that some may perceive upon hearing the theme of the tourney (I’ll admit, it was my first thought).  At the end of the tourney, awards were given out for anything they could think of, and it was a blast!  Every thrower walked away with a prize.  I have heard some pish-poshing of the notion that “everyone gets a cookie,” but after the top three throwers were awarded their prizes, it was so much fun to hear the goofy award categories that were creatively thought up, many on the fly.  I have seem something simiilar at SAAD last year, where I won an award for most lost arrows (an arrow finder- LOL).  What I saw overall, was a community having SO MUCH FUN and not worrying so much about how they scored or how they measure up to the other throwers.  I want to see this in other disciplines.  Yes, we should honor our top athletes in the various martial activities.  That’s why we have Baronial and Kingdom Champions, Lochmere Arrow, etc.  Maybe sometimes we can have tourneys that are just for fun, and nothing else.  Maybe we can create sporting environments in which participants compete against themselves and not others, have fun, encourage newbies, bring in new players, and foster fellowship amongst the discipline rather than competition.  It is my hope to bring this into my first shoot to run, the Stierbach Baronial Birthday in June 2015.  Let’s make a game out of it, rather than a competition. Let’s spend more energy on the fun than on the score.

A pet project of mine was piloted at Pennsic 43–The Disney Princesses of the Children’s Fete.  Now, I heard some grumble-grumble over Disney not being SCAdian and not being period and blah blah blah.  Party Poopers.  As roving Tinkerbell, I was lifted so high by the joy and excitement of the little ones who got to have their picture taken and talk with my fellow Princesses while they waited in line for various activities.  I am happy to share that my Disney cosplayers have been invited back again next year!  I hope to grow from the four princesses we had last year (including myself), and add some princes to the mix!

It took me a couple years to discover the kind of legacy I want to leave in the SCA… and I think I have.  I want to leave more FUN in my wake than when I arrived.  I want to work to remind all our players that it is a GAME and we ought be ENJOYING ourselves.  If we’re not having fun, why are we here?  Let’s bring some happiness and some sparkle and some light-heartedness to all our adventures.

I’m already looking ahead to Pennsic 44.  I hope to see you there!  Let’s go have some FUN!

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