|Amtgard, a (Dysfunctional) Family
Recently I have heard many people calling Amtgard their ‘extended family’. Certainly we all have a lot of very good friends in the game. Some have even started families through people meet in Amtgard, but is the game on a whole a big extended family? In some ways I’d like to think yes, but very often it seems we’re a dysfunctional family.
In the beginning, all families have a founding member, someone that came over from the old country and started things in the new world. Most members of the family may have heard of this mythical figure once or twice, but no one seems to remember meeting them, or even someone that knew them. For us this figure would be Peter La Grue. He started the game, but lost it to the head of the next generation.
Just as La Grue is Amtgard’s great-grandfather, Aramithris is our collective cranky grandfather. Back in the distant past he took the game from La Grue and made it his. He’s been running or influencing it since. And just like a family’s old senile grandfather, we often think him to be past his time. Even though many of us try to ignore what he says and does, it somehow ends up becoming a part of the game.
Just as all families have a cranky grandfather, they also have a nice grandmotherly figure. If I were to choose one for Amtgard, it’d be Dame Andralaine. She’s been here since the beginning, and has helped start and run more groups than most of us will ever play in.
We’ve also got more aunts, uncles and cousins than you can shake a stick at. They’re the people we’ve meet from other far-away groups that we see once or twice a year. Some we look forward to seeing every chance we can get. Others we dread seeing, viewing them as the older cousin that used to tease us at every family reunion.
There are also the aunts and uncles who are fighting over grandma’s will. Many of these members squabble amongst themselves to be the top dog of the week only to end up hurting the game as a whole. They play the ‘politics’ game, trying to attain awards for themselves at the expense of others.
Then there are the scary, distant off-shoots. They are the ones no one wants to admit to knowing, but we all know they’re here somewhere. These are the really weird ones. They are too into the game. They make you think that they even stay in character while going to the bathroom. You almost wonder if you’ll see them on an episode of the Jerry Springer show sometime.
Finally we come to people that we all look up to as something akin to parent figures. Some of them are good loving parents, that only want to nurture the game and help it to grow. Others seem to be the evil drunken-stepfather that is only there to take from mommy and see where it gets them. Fortunately, I think there are more of the former than the later.
In closing, I guess you could say Amtgard is a family... of sorts. We’ve got the good and the bad floating around, and I’m sure we can all put one or two names or faces to the above descriptions. Hopefully, we can all work together to make Amtgard a better and more functional place in the future.
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