(A "keeper" posting from the North Road, posted Aug 2006.)
Perhaps it is time for another take on awards and award recommendations and the whole ball of wax around awards.
I suppose I'll start with something that anyone who knows me sorta well will understand. I'm mostly an idealist. When it comes to things like awards my take has often been yeah whatever I'm just doing what I like to do. No I do not want any bead necklaces or pewter jangles etc... It took one of the first Princes of Tir Righ arranging to have me head locked and dragged up to court to get an AOA around my neck. That took over twenty years. I had been blessed with the ability to talk people into not giving me any awards. Don't get me wrong I'm not coming down on awards, I think that they are great. You just need to read further to get to the rest of it.
Why do I feel this way?
I was taught about the SCA by a very small and very keen and very idealistic group of people, (The Barony of Lions Gate about 25 years ago.) They taught me that helping and service and some Arts and Sciences etc.. are part of the way of life in this club; that's it.
Well, this club/social group etc. is just that; it is an activity that all of us who play do together. The together part is really the crux of the matter. I help out at events because without everyone pitching in then events would not be fun, nor would they actually happen very often at all. I teach what I know because that teaches me to teach and it is also very rewarding personally to be able to share something that makes another person smile. I pick up garbage, I help people with heavy burdens occasionally because it helps hold the club together and helps to make it something that we all do together.
I don't always do all of the above things, sometimes I just wish to lie in the grass drink a beverage and observe the event, that is my choice as it is anyone's in the SCA who plays. I often make up for it at other events or in other ways. You play and help to your limit without turning the fun into a burden. The burden part in the last sentence is important, if you don't help out you are a burden. The math is simple.
However the helping is simple too. If you spend many nights leading up to an event helping people get their stuff together to go to an event, costumes encampments Armour or whatever, you have been helping and ideally they will help you back and also help out a little extra at the event to give you the time that you need to lie in the grass and just feel medieval.
So this brings us to the part when I get onto my soapbox and start going off about things that I find irritating. Big surprise eh..
So having an AOA does not mean that I got MY AOA. It means that I have been recognized as being a functional part of the SCA and have had an Award of Arms bestowed upon me. So I HAVE AN AOA.
So having a Goutte or a Jambe does not mean that I GOT MY Goutte or Jambe, it means that it has been bestowed upon me for above and beyond work in the fields. ie service or Arts and Sciences.
The thing that gets to me is when people talk about getting awards like they are part of a checklist.
And I quote: "I should only have to do another couple of things before I get my Jambe or Goutte."
Please explain to me why a symbol of recognition of cultural enrichment is something that someone should posses or covet? Where is the joy of being part of something that is ideally nicer and kinder than the mundane world when it is treated like a boy scout merit badge.
The recognition is cool but it should never be the end or you will never be satisfied. Please think about it and how the I MUST HAVE, GET, POSSESS, ETC. is a mundane thing and actually does more harm than good to the culture of our society.
The reward is in the doing.
Like I said I'm an idealist
Oh yeah, and I'm shamelessly proud to have been recognized as a Knight of An Tir.
(A short "keeper" exchange from the North Road, posted Aug 2006.)
Recognition takes on many forms and doesn't always have to be an armigerous award. Sometimes a thank you and a token gift from someone means a lot more to some people.
Baron James Llewellyn ap Gruffydd, OP
I can echo such sentiments.
Ran into a situation back when I was on a royal retinue. A brand newbie--his first event--was visiting friends, and at one point had a spear shoved into his hand and was told to "stand here and let no one pass."
Because of my duties, I smiled at him as he made a move to keep me from my royals. Afterwards, I asked him what he was doing, and he told me (somewhat woefully) that he didn't know--and explained his situation to me.
We had a quiet chuckle together, and I took the time to talk with him about a few things--things that anyone could explain to a newbie--such as what the royals were, and who they were and what they looked like (he didn't know), and other aspects of the SCA.
I thought of him long and hard at that event. The following morning, I went shopping and found a pretty ribbon, and gave him the Chivalry Token that someone had given to me for my actions long ago.
I told him the history of that little green malachite heart on a ribbon, and how I felt honored and moved to give him such a token in honor of his courtesy, chivalry, and service--and he glowed. It was such a little thing, coming from my hands. I was blessed to share with him in that way. I was told later on that he had committed to returning and finding out more about the SCA.
I hope he's doing well.