Sunday, January 31, 2016

Birka A.S 50 (2016)

Oh, Birka. I'm never quite sure what happens to the day. This year was no different. Last year I bounced between marshaling and fencing while the tournament was open, and didn't do too poorly. Even though I'm not a huge fan of bear pits. This year, I had offered to help volunteer for a solid block from 830am-1230pm. For the first hour or so, it was just going over ground rules for the day and the procedure our MIC wanted us to follow. The next two hours was some inspections mixed with morning court.Then about an hour and a half of marshaling the tourney - which was great. I didn't see any issues, and that is completely unheard of at Birka.
How can you not love this picture? Morning Court. Photo by Rowan

This is just my observation, but the tournament seemed to be a bit mellower this year than in the past. Everyone seemed to be a bit more laid back and not so outwardly aggressive. That goes a long way to keeping issues to a minimum. Adrenaline doesn't take over the smart part of our brains, and we're able to keep calibration, point control, and tempers just where they need to be so that we all have fun. I didn't see anyone enter my list that wasn't having fun, and that makes the job that much better.

At 1230 I had about an hour and a half of free time in which I told myself I would sit for at least a few minutes of. I did not. I didn't even get a chance to look around Merchant's Row. But I caught up with friends, which while not as important, was probably more satisfying. The rest of my day I knew I would be standing the entirety of. And I was right.

At 2 I was scheduled to begin guarding Her Majesty, but I had prior approval to attend a ceremony that was very important to me: My Don, Master Frasier, took Jean De Montagne as his first provost. It is super exciting to have someone new join the family.

From there, it was a mad dash around the hotel to take up my point on guard. So up to the 12th floor where the Ladies of the Rose meeting was supposed to be. Nope, no one in sight. Back down to the lobby. Nope, not in the lobby. In another classroom or sitting area? Nope. Oh look, another Rose, she'll definitely know! Nope, she's not going, but she's going to help me track down Her Majesty, yay! Over at a Vigil, I know where that is! The vigil has been . . . torn down. Oh look! The guard I'm scheduling to be guarding with going up the stairs! Let's follow her, she must be with Her Majesty! Well, turns out Catalina found Her by happenstance, and luckily I had caught glimpse of Catalina before she had turned the corner going up those steps.

So I spent about 45 minutes on guard duty before I headed to the Royal Room to guard for the next two hours. I was brought a little food during guard and somehow managed to eat between opening the door. During court, I did one shift of guard (about 20 minutes of a 3 hour court) and was then told "You've stood enough today. You're not doing anymore this court." I felt bad, I wanted to help. Even though I was exhausted and could hardly stand, I didn't want anyone else to strain themselves too far. Not my brightest thought.

Speaking of bright thoughts, I learned something very important that day. Eat and drink throughout the damn day! The first time I ate was the chicken that was brought to me during guard duty, and that was around 4pm. I had a few sips of water throughout the day, but nothing to drink until an orange soda during court that I brought in my boot (cuffed boots are fantastic for keeping things hidden). But next time, I'll actually take in nutrients during the day. It took me far too long to recover.

I loved seeing so many people recognized for their work. I know a lot of people don't enjoy court, or will try to skip out early. I love court, even the long ones. There are so many emotions and happy faces. So many people given their due. It makes me happy to see. Not to mention seeing all the hard work people put into their art to grant these people their awards. And I love having the backstage seat that I get. You always see the moment of shock/amazement/wonder/realization in someone's face when their award is announced. So many genuinely have no clue - they're not working towards an award, they're just doing what they love for no reason other than their love of the game. I idolize that. It has changed my outlook on why I do things. For far too long in my career, I have wanted recognition. I wanted awards. But I don't need them. What I need is to do what I love to do because I love doing it. And help everyone else do what they love. And help people find a new love. My first real event was Birka in 2006. Since then I have received my AoA and nothing else. Up until yesterday, I was upset by that. Now, I am OK with it. I don't need the bling to know who I am or what I enjoy doing. It really has changed my outlook, and for that I am grateful to change my ways before too long.

When I get back to practice I will have to learn to use Rowan's Castille blade. Frasier decided it was time to take his swept-hilt back (which I've been borrowing for about 6 years now). I hate the Castille with a passion, but I have to learn to tolerate it, I guess. Luckily learning to use the new blade is something I can do from home with point control drills and the like. Hopefully soon I can make it back to practice. It's been a month now and I really need to get back.

Thanks for being my sound board once again. Always appreciated. And I always welcome an feedback about anything.