|The Cure for Apathy
I know that I am not really a veteran of Amtgard, but I have passed my three-year mark recently and found myself fighting a feeling of apathy toward the game. The politics were wearing on me, the rules-lawyering was annoying, and the general atmosphere was uninspiring. I began looking to the SCA for revitalization in my arts and sciences efforts when something unique happened: an email from someone looking for one of the crown lands.
The newbie had looked at the Amtgard Atlas and determined the nearest group to him was our barony in Midland. He was trying to get a hold of one of the group’s members to ask some questions about the group and Amtgard in general. I gave him a call, knowing how elusive the members of the group he was looking for are. I figured I could at least answer his basic questions about Amtgard.
The young man had been a member of the SCA for years. He was looking for a game where he could roleplay, but still get similar combat to the SCA. His friends kept telling him to try Amtgard, so he figured he would give it a shot. I answer his questions, gave him the means to find the members of the group, the last location I knew they met, etc. Through the entire process, I found something interesting happening to me. I was getting excited about Amtgard again.
Then, a few weeks later, I was visiting my grandparents for Easter. After the meal, my fiancé and I decided to spar a bit. We got out our weapons and fought a few rounds. A soon to be cousin of mine got extremely interested in the game and began asking many questions about Amtgard. Again, the feeling of excitement began to wash over me as I talked with him and started teaching him to fight.
Lately, the past weekend I was fighting in the Kingdom Proper. Most of the veterans were either in Irongate or busy with mundane affairs. The veterans who did show left shortly after due to the high wind. Only I and about three others had much experience in the game when we started the battlegame that followed. As we played the standard shatter game, I found I was having a lot of fun playing with so many newbies. For the first time in a long time, I heard laughter on the field as people had fun. I laughed and had fun, something that had been missing for months from my time in Amtgard. I look forward to my next such experience.
These events opened my eyes to an immutable truth about Amtgard -- newbies are the lifeblood of the game. They bring fresh air to the game, new ideas to the way things are done, and enthusiasm to those of us who are losing our drive. We sometimes knock newbies, but without them, this game would not thrive. Next time you see the newbie in your group, talk to him instead of just kicking his ass on the field. Find out what ideas are swimming around in his head and answer his questions. You may just find yourself falling in love with the game all over again.
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