Tuesday, May 23, 2006

In the beginning

My time in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) started in January? of 1987 when I saw a recruiting poster on campus. It showed a man in armour with the caption "Why is this man smiling?" It attracted my attention because I was still a Dungeons & Dragons geek. OK, technically I played Advanced D&D, but whatever.

Yep, this was me. Like the hockey gloves? And the duct tape? How about the carpet?

I called the given phone number and spoke with a Dave Westwick (now Dr. David T. Westwick) who was taking a graduate course at the Biomedical Center at our university. He said he was trying to start a chapter of the SCA in New Brunswick. He patiently answered my questions about the SCA and said he was having a meeting in a little while with some prospective members.

I talked to my AD&D friends Marc, Dave H, Andy and Rick and we agreed to meet Dave W. and see what he had to say. Another fellow that I knew, Mike, also attended the meeting. He described the purpose of the SCA, basically to relive medieval life "as it should have been". We decided to try to form a "shire", basically a chapter of the group. Everyone was assigned a position, with Dave W becoming seneschal (president), and I became the exchequer (treasurer).

Dave Westwick making a sword. He's grinning because of the, um, suggestive look of the sword and the white glue on it.

One of the flashiest things the SCA does is fight in armour. Dave W had some of his own armour, so we set about making our own. There were/are specific regulations on what is acceptable for armour, and these rules have changed over time. At the time it was perfectly acceptable to use two layers of carpet to protect your body, and that is what I wore. Let me tell you - it may protect your bones from
being broken but it doesn't insulate you from pain! For weapons, the SCA specified solid rattan poles for their flexibility and freedom from splintering. Dave W ordered some rattan poles from somewhere and I made a sword.

My main focus at the start was fighting, and later some archery. Dave W was into mandolins too, and Marc took some interest in mandolins as well as fighting. Rick was interested in heraldry and Dave H took up fighting and archery too.

Me getting whacked in the head

We practiced at the Oromocto Community Center, and in the field across from my parents' house. You sure get some funny looks when you walk into a convenience store in armour. The number 1 question:
Are you in a play?.

Back L-R: Dave H, me, Marc. Front: Dave W, Mike

Members of the SCA get together at "events" to reenact medieval life. Themes for these events vary greatly, but include wars, arts competitions, feasts, and so forth. We were all looking forward to going to our first event at Wolfsgate on March 7-8, 1987, the "Mis-Spent Lent Event". I'll talk about that next.

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