Thursday, 4 June 2015

Op Ed: Why I Play

Source: Wikimedia Commons.
A story about why I play in the SCA and why I feel it is full of beautiful people.

First a little bit about me. I was born missing three fingers on my right hand, my right arm is shorter than my left and my elbow is fused and does not bend. I am in my late 30s and have adapted quite well to learning how to do things differently. It really doesn't stop me nor does my disability really bother me. However, there are a few things in life that I have always wanted to try but have struggled to find a way to do...until now. Archery was one of those things. I attempted to shoot a bow a few times but I was unable to get a strong draw and hold the bow steady. While talking about my struggles with my friends, they recommended trying a crossbow. The thought intrigued me, but I honestly did not want to spend a significant amount of money on an item I wasn't sure was going to work for me. My friends took me to the New World Arbalest merchant booth at Gulf Wars last year to speak to Master Iolo about my physical limitations and to see if there was a way for me to set and shoot a cross bow. His apprentice had a Mongolian Horse Crossbow for me to try and as soon as I shot it, I was in love. I wanted to take it home and give it a name. Unfortunately I was not prepared for a large purchase and this particular model was above my price point. We came to an arrangement where I would save the money I needed for a crossbow and would commission it from "Dirty" (a name that, in my opinion, does not fit this beautiful lady one bit).

A year later I had saved a little over half of what I would need to commission the crossbow. At this year's Gulf Wars, I was encouraged to visit the booth again. They both remembered me, we embraced, and talked about measurements, wood choices, and what it would take to make it comfortable for my use. This is when the friend I was with informed me that there was a group of people who were inspired by my story and contributed to "the cause". Combined, they raised the rest of what I would need to commission the crossbow. Tears of surprise and joy commenced. More hugging happened. I went back to my encampment to get the money needed. When I returned, Dirty informed me that there was a gentleman watching this exchange and he was so moved by my story and the generosity of the others, he donated an "undisclosed amount of money" which would allow Dirty to add features to make it even more beautiful. I honestly don't know who this person is, or where he hails from, but sir, you have my eternal gratitude and I want you to know I fully plan to pay that kindness forward when the opportunity presents itself. You have my word.

Throughout the week I would learn that even more people would come together to take care of whatever else I needed to be able to finally participate in archery after 20 years of playing in the Society. Here is where I come to the main point of this story. I honestly don't think I could find another group of people who would come together to give someone a chance to do a hobby. I know there are stories of people helping others in times of need, in times of chaos, or in times of struggle. Here, in the SCA, you find people coming together no matter what. The generosity, kindness, thoughtfulness, and care found here is unparalleled anywhere else in the world. These are people who truly want others to find their bliss and will come together spontaneously to see that happen. I may not always feel significant in the modern world, but in the SCA, I feel truly blessed with both the friends I know and the friends I may not know now, but hope to in the future. This is the place I want to raise my children and if they learn only a fraction of what others can teach them about how to treat their fellow person, I will consider their upbringing a success.

It will take a little while for Dirty to make my crossbow. I promise to follow up here with a picture of it when I obtain it. In the meantime, buy ALL THE THINGS from Swift Hound Bows and New World Arbalest. Honestly, I can't say enough good things about these merchants and their enthusiasm and grace. To all of you that came together to do something to make me happy, don't be surprised if you get a hug from me in the future. Also, if you happen to see me with a tear or two in my eyes, know it is not tears of sadness but rather tears of joy at the thought that so many people came together to do something nice for me. You may not know just how much you all mean to me now, but I promise you that you will find out in time.

Yours Ever in Service to the Dream,

Baroness Isabella Beatrice della Rosa,
Kingdom of Northshield

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