Why Join?
by Dagonell Collingwood

Two questions posted on the net recently were "Do the apprentices consider themselves to be Peers-In-Training?" and "Why did you join the SCA?" If I may put in my two cents...

For me, the SCA is a replacement for the Boy Scouts. When I was a teen-ager, I thought the Boy Scout merit badge program was a wonderful idea. I like to dabble with various arts and activities and try out new things. The merit badge program was a smorgasbord of activities to try out with a list of people knowledgable enough to assist you. I thought it was terrific!! By the time I reached 18, I had earned enough merit badges to earn Eagle Scout twice over. Literally. Then I turned 18 and I couldn't play any more :-( College life kept me busy enough, but I missed the Boy Scouts.

Then I was introduced to the SCA. :-) As far as I was concerned, it was the Boy Scout merit badge program for big kids like me ;-) a WIDE variety of different activities with knowledgable people willing to help. And this time, no upper age limit to worry about.

Now as to my squiring... Sword fighting was one of those activities which looked like a lot of fun, but it was one I couldn't get into. You weren't allowed to play unless you were qualified, and the way to get qualified was to attend the weekly Baronial practices in the late afternoon. I work in the afternoons and attending practice was impossible. Sword fighting became a "someday in the future" activity.

Several years later, at an event, Syr Hak, one of the knights in the barony, stated, in a casual coversation, that his job had changed from first shift to second and while the extra money was nice, he was no longer able to attend regular fight practice. I took a deep breath, swallowed hard, and said, "I'll be your pell if you'll be my teacher." I received a long slow lingering visual dissection. He thought about it and agreed to the deal. Every Tuesday morning, I drove out to his farmhouse (30 miles) to learn swordfighting.

We had set ourselves two goals. By Baronial Champs, Syr Hak was going to get into good enough shape to make the semi-finals, I was going to get qualified in sword and shield. When Baronial Champs came, I qualified in weapon and shield and he won the championship tourney. We decided we had a good thing going and continued the arrangement. Said arrangement was now going into its fourth month and neither one of us had even mentioned the word "squire". About a month after that, he asked me if I wanted to be his squire. I thought about it for a week and said yes at the next practice secession. We made it official at the next Royal Progress event and both swore our oaths with the King as witness.

At the very next practice session, when I arrived at his house, I was informed that Things Have Changed. I was no longer a "mere stick-jock". I was a future Knight, a Peer-to-be. My training was altered accordingly. Three sessions out of four would still be weapon practice. But at least once a month, the session would cover the other qualities of knighthood; heraldry, chess, court behavior, etc. Which is not to say that he has set himself up as all-knowing. A lot of those sessions are mutual learning affairs and a few, I've even taught to him. I don't know whether or not I'll actually ever be a knight, but I'm having fun learning how.

[mailbox] Comments to: salley@niktow.canisius.edu
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