Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Current Middle Ages

I had a request from Morgan over at Redhead Running, to talk about a part of my life that… well, I don’t talk about a whole lot.  To put it succinctly, I’m a Ranger ranked Archer in the Barony of Loch Salann, Kingdom of Artemisia, in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), and I shoot a Welsh Long Bow, made from 72” of Hickory.
Yes, I'm the one in the green.
What other color should a Ranger Wear?

When asked about my archery activities, I usually just tell people that I’m involved with a traditional archery league… which isn’t exactly true, but it saves me from getting “That Look,” you know the one I mean.
So how did all this happen?  How did I, as a 43 year old, father of 4, get involved in all this craziness?  It all started in High School.

When I was younger, I loved playing Dungeons & Dragons (I still do), I used to read a lot of SciFi/Fantasy, but also loved to study the middle ages.  In High School, I read Morte de Arthur, Ivanhoe, and several books on the Black Death, the Crusades, and (believe it or not) Medieval Architecture.
I first heard about the SCA while I was in High School, and I actually started participating… sort of… I thought that the Society was kinda cool and all, but I really just kept going because there was this cute geek-girl there… I think her name was Melissa… but that was 25 years ago… Long story short, in May of 1988 I moved to Los Angeles for a couple of years, and totally lost contact with the SCA and with Melissa.  I never thought of trying to get in touch with anyone from the SCA in LA, I had just a few other things to deal with in my life at that time.

I returned to Utah the summer of 1990, and tried to find the Barony, but could never figure out where they were meeting.  Soon after that I began doing stage makeup, started going to University, and got married.  The SCA was something I figured that I’d eventually find again, but it wasn’t a priority… until about a year ago.
My daughter was reading the “Ranger’s Apprentice” books, and came to me one night and asked if she could learn how to shoot a bow.  At first, I thought, “Ya, this will be easy” because there are several bow hunting groups around us, but then she clarified that she wanted to learn Medieval Long Bow.  “Where the heck do you go for that?”  So, long story short (too late), I got in touch with the SCA and my kids and I were able to learn how to shoot the long bow.

My oldest daughter is in the blue and gray,
collecting her arrows

Since then, I’ve learned how to make my own arrows, my own garb (medieval clothing), and how shoot a long bow with the best of them.  Note that I said WITH the best of them, not that I’m actually one of the best of them.  Eh… I do alright, but our archery captain feels like I could do better.
This is my youngest... looting a fallen warrior... *Evil Laugh*

My kids have lost a lot of their enthusiasm for the weekly archery practices, but they do like going to events.  Their absolute favorite activity happens at an event called Melee Madness.  The activity is called “Looting the Dead.”  I know… it sounds horrible, but it is so much fun to watch.  What happens is that before a battle, the heavy fighters tie a small yellow bag to their belts.  They then go out into the field and fight.  When everyone is “dead,” the marshals call an all clear, and then the kids are allowed to run out into the field to retrieve these little yellow bags.  The bags have coins in them that they can then trade for stuff at the children’s pavilion.  It’s so much fun!  What’s neat is that since one of the goals of the SCA is to teach courtly grace, and chivalry, the kids tend (not always, but most of the time) to make sure that everyone has a chance to get a bag, and will share the spoils.

In essence… It’s a lot of fun for us as a family, and the kids are so stinking cute in their garb.


Redhead Running said...

Thanks for taking the time to write about this! So interesting and I LOVE that the kids get to be apart of everything, especially looting the dead. LOL!

Aegthelion said...

Come on! Embrace your weird! Revel in "the look"! It's more fun that way!

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