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When We Were Flurbs
[10/17/2002] [Randall]

I remember back when… does it bother anyone that I begin so many articles this way? It seems that I end up taking a stroll through the traumas of my Amtgard youth every time I wind up for a new rant. Considering how much of a roller-coaster ride my newbie experiences were, e-Samurai has almost become my psychiatrist; I reminisce about something that happened during my formative years and use that as a basis for how to fix the problems of today. I don’t know if that’s very healthy but at least it keeps me honest.

Does anyone else do that? Do you focus on the way things were as a lens through which to view the way things are? Or are you all too young to really reminisce or too old to remember? I know everyone has a unique perspective and my own views are deeply influenced by the long-term hiatus I took from Amtgard after my newbie years, but I think I speak for all of us when I say that nostalgia just isn’t what it used to be. I don’t believe in the good old days, and neither should you, because I think each day is as good or as bad as we make it and the good old days are merely a product of ignorance or naivety.

Maybe we long to be wide-eyed newbies once again… maybe we want to be naïve so we can love the game as only a newbie can. Maybe there’s a spark for a whole new article there… “When We Were Flurbs”, because you know all of us were when we first started. If we weren’t, we wouldn't have loved the game so much that we stuck with it.

Hmm, actually, there is room for an article here. This was originally the opening of a previous article, but I think I accidentally said something important during my pre-article rambling.

Nobody likes a flurb, right? We’ve all been playing this game for awhile and have been using the term ever since Omar popularized its use. I recognize there's a difference between the worthless people who do nothing at the park and the energetic newbies who do flurby things at the park. Maybe people call 'em both flurbs, and I tend to use the term myself to refer to the worthless, useless people... but flurb has rapidly picked up a life of its own as the word to use for anyone who does silly things in Amtgard. If that's the case, we were all flurbs.

We were the ones making new and silly companies. We were the ones roleplaying healers who didn’t kill people we stunned. We were the ones with the big, unwieldy swords and the jeans. We wore awful fake fur, got excited about guildmaster positions, and looked forward to gaining levels in a class. We made up new spells, we tried new weapon ideas, we wrote down our complicated personas that nobody would ever read about.

We called people and asked them questions, never thinking that they had a life outside of Amtgard. We got rides to events (and forgot tents and food) and stayed up for days. We were pages and jesters, with fat swords and skinny bodies. And we all played a class that forced us to run away from some poor old guy with bad knees.

We used spellballs and meant it, and didn't understand why people got upset. We were proud of our armor and loved the barbarian class. We used flails. We used people's Amtgard names in public. We played assassin. We did Amtgard two or three times a week, minimum. We fell down when we died.

We were flurbs, and the difference between us and the rest of the people is that we stuck it out and stayed.

The saddest thing about the real world is that we can’t ever go back to the way things were… what is, is, and we can’t change that. I’d love to see Amtgard through the eyes of a newbie again, and I’d love to forget what I know now. Newbies don’t get hurt by politics or burned about awards because they don’t know enough to get hurt. Newbies don’t care that some kind of sword won’t work well in battle because they haven’t failed yet… and they don’t care that they might fail, because, for newbies, that’s not the point. The point is having fun and playing the game with enthusiasm. They want a stupid bastard sword because it’s cool, not because they can use it to atomic-clock someone to death. We look at the newbie and think he’s silly, but did you ever think that he might be laughing at our zulu spears, too? We call him a flurb as we forget our pasts and abuse atomic clock while swinging around foam mockeries, and that just isn’t right.

Amtgard is better when we all little a little flurbiness shine through. For crying out loud, we're already wearing dresses and hitting each other with foam bats -- will it really hurt to roleplay a teeny bit? We can’t go back to being newbies, even if we wanted to, but we can all try to be just a little flurby again. We can try to roleplay a little bit, or make a weapon that we don’t think will work… and we mustn’t forget that we were flurbs once ourselves.

People who love the game like we did when we were young deserve our support and our admiration, because they are what we once were and should be again in a perfect world. They’re the goal, and we’re the ones who devolved… but once we realize that, we can do our damnedest to preserve the dream for them and keep their naivity and love of Amtgard alive.

[ Got a flurby story in your own past? Post it in the forums. ]

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