But WHY are you in the SCA?
Why does anyone join the SCA? Once there, why do we stay?
There’s something about the SCA that intrigues us. Maybe it’s the pageantry of Court, watching people get honored for their abilities and services. Maybe it’s the awesome garb we get to wear, the courtly manners we use which are so out of fashion now in the modern world, the idea of fighting as enemies and then coming together as comrades and mates-in-arms to share admiration for one another. Maybe it’s the fact that within this one big umbrella of “medieval re-creation,” we can engage in such a huge variety of hobbies and past-times, and never run out of things to do and to learn. Maybe it’s just that we get away from our “real,” “normal” lives for a while and exist as our alter-egos, people who have different histories, goals, and surroundings from the ones we have, ourselves.
I have seen a troupe of rapier fighters called to audience with the ruling monarchs, where they begged the privilege of swearing fealty not just to the crown, but to that particular king, whom they had come to respect and even love. I heard the catch in the king’s throat as he accepted, bowing from the waist before the troupe took to their knees for formal oath-making.
I have seen a little boy who had spent most of his two years of life battling cancer, having never known any other kind of living, be hoisted and entertained by total strangers (many of whom had no idea he was even sick) while his mother took a much-needed nap, completely trusting that her son would come to no harm in their company – and he didn’t.
I have cooked Sabbath dinner for a crowd, hoping only that a few people would stop by and pay me the compliment of saying that it smelled good; I’m used to offering to host people for dinner, but very few ever take me up on it. Not only did a dozen people show up and eat dinner (and another dozen and a half for lunch and dinner the next day, as word got around), but the greater number of them also offered to do the washing up. They made me feel like I was their favorite sister, aunt, best friend… and this was at my very first event in the kingdom, when no one knew me at all.
If you want to dress up in medieval (or medieval-lite) garb and go camping, the SCA has a place for you. If you want to dress up in medieval garb and get drunk or find someone to use as a bed-warmer, the SCA has a place for you. If you want to learn medieval combat, sewing, heraldry, blacksmithing, pottery, cooking, lace making, glass blowing, musicianship, dance, tatting, wood carving, animal husbandry, or architecture, the SCA has a place for you. If you want to volunteer your time, energy, and skills to help others have a good time, the SCA has a place for you. If you want to immerse yourself fully in the life of a medieval peasant, merchant, royal, noble, slave, or soldier, the SCA has a place for you. Dabblers are as welcome as those who make the SCA their primary (or only) past-time outside of work and school. But beware: As with so many worthwhile pursuits, the SCA gives back exactly double what you put into it. You may find yourself overwhelmed at all it can teach you.
The SCA gets into you deeply, if it’s going to get into you at all. There will be a moment when you wake up and get out of your tent, start the morning fire for coffee and cooking. A herald will be barely audible in the distance, singing the morning wake-up call and the days’ announcements to the tune of “Now Is The Month Of Maying.” The smell of a nearby camp’s sausages will come with the freshness of the morning dew evaporating. A bird will call; the greyhounds in the distant hound camp will start yipping excitedly as their owners bring kibble or fresh meat. A hung-over person in half of his plate armor will stumble by, looking for the port-a-privy (or his own tent), still smelling of the alcohol that he drank last night. Suddenly, you won’t be the lawyer, the secretary, the electrician, the stock broker, out camping for a weekend in between spates of real life. You’ll be living real life, right at that moment, because your medieval life will be just as real as your modern life. You’ll be home.