Drama Llama – Northshield Crown

When I was 6 or maybe 7 I was watching a crown tournament [Crown tournament in the SCA group decides the King for the next year in that region, it is an SCA fighting tournament and if you’re interested in what it looks like here is Lars winning one and our friend Konrad winning another]

I know my parents tease me that I ‘remember everything’ and at this point it’s true, I’ve forgotten tons of things, but I seriously remember like I was there; this day where I saw two guys slugging it out and neither one really acting chivalrous or honorable and in the end one finally decided they would end it by yielding.  I say yield because he lost long ago and so did the other guy and you know what, they both lost more that day in the eyes of the people watching.  Often people will see something questionable from the outside but it’s actually fine from (both) the fighters point of view and that is why in the SCA it is up to the fighter to make the call.  The phrase “If you’re not in the armor…” is more or less the go to.  BUT SOMETIMES it is obvious to a child.  That particular fighter won and he was king and I don’t really remember if he was good or bad but over the next 25 years I’ve seen at least 30 crown tournaments and the ‘bad’ ones really stick with you.  The big problem is that most of the time there isn’t much done about it.

As an adult I’ve actually seen things ‘done’ and usually it is a fairly private thing and maybe back in 86 or 87 there was a stern lecture given but the fact is that it is seldom clear to the general public that something unsportsmanlike was done, it was noted, and that person has been given a chance to redeem themselves.  The people just get to make up their own mind about it and some will hold a grudge, some will forget about it, some might follow suit …  Personally I guess I’m in the grudge category because I remember that one and a few others vividly.

The SCA isn’t unique – you can’t watch an episode of SportsCenter without a story about a professional athlete cheating/juicing/losing their composure.  However, this weekend the current Crown of Northshield found a nice solution to this style situation.  Luckily the two people involved are both good, mature, strong individuals that had a bad day but acknowledged it and asked to be able to make it right.  Some people feel like they are scapegoats, but I need a better word because I agree in a way – they are being made an example of – BUT – they are willing and able to take the medicine and I think they will turn out looking great and the entire kingdom will be better off.  Some are also mad at the public nature of the ‘penance’*, but I think that it was a public act and 6-year-old me would have felt much better if I had seen something come of that. I asked Niamh who just turned 7 and has been pretty active in the SCA and I told her the situations and she said “they should give their belts back”  Wow – don’t even know where she got that phrase from.  I told her how would she feel if nobody said anything and she said “sad, because that isn’t right and you shouldn’t cheat and they should get a chance to say they are sorry and make up for it and other people won’t’ do the same thing”.  So maybe she might have heard something we have said in the past 24 hours but I think she just is on par with any generally moral kid who knows mistakes happen and you need to make up for it.

I am very glad that as a society we are evolving and evolving to include a check and balance system slightly more than ‘mind yourself’ and not as harsh as ‘banned for life’.

So that has been the drama llama of the weekend and this is my reaction to it.  I like this solution, I support it, and I hope it has a lasting effect on the kingdom.

*the penance is; The Queen is holding their chains until they earn them back, and, they must host a discussion at every event they attend to discuss what happened and how to ... I don't know...  be good?
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