AMTGARD'S OPINION CODEX • ALL OPINIONS, ALL THE TIME • MAY 24, 2019
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THE SOAP BOX OF E-SAM
A Stick Jock Rebuttal
[03/08/2004] [Zumat]

“It’s a sport.”

This was KumathePainted’s opening shot in an article about things in Amtgard he hates. There were other points, about knights, about pages and squires and about Goldenvale. Those points do not concern me as I am not a knight, nor do I care about some monkey’s opinions on squires. Goldenvale should defend itself; that is not my duty. However, the attack on anyone who plays this game without the intention of slaying dragons cannot go unanswered.

He claims, through an exceptionally poor use of hyperbole that players who think of Amtgard as a sport are “…glory hounds, jackasses, and take away the fun of the majority for their meaningless victory over flurbs, newbs, and the very occasional person who can fight worth a damn.”

Like the man said: “Well, allow me to retort.”

It seems to me (through discussion, and e-sam forums) that the flurb attitude toward stick jocks can be summed up in four points.

Stick Jocks ruin the Flavah of Amtgard.

Amtgard is not unique in the niche of recreation and LARP communities in that it has a definite split between those who like to play only the sport element, and those who are trying to create a new (or old) world as a rich and lively place. The SCA has had this problem much longer than us, and it is from them that we get the badge “stick jock”.

However, Amtgard’s Flavah comes from the constant contact between the two opposing views. To eliminate one would be to ruin Amtgard’s identity in the press of all the other LARP and recreation communities. To remove the stick jocks would be to send Amtgard down to the level of NERO or IFGS where the physicality of the game is subordinate to its endless rules-lawyering and experience-counting. Conversely, to expurgate the flurbs from this game would form Amtgard into something resembling club lacrosse, where there are no peripherals, only the sport. Lacrosse is a sport that is not open for everyone. In the same way, Amtgard would not be open for everyone if we allowed the jockism of it to bowdlerize the slower and less physical rules to obsoletion. You flurbs and Spearweasel talk about us stick jocks ruining the Flavah, but without us, there is no Amtgard Flavah. The balance between the factions is the actual Flavah and the reality of this game. Therefore, either deal with this or go find NERO, because you cannot “fix” it.

Stick Jocks kill parks.

"You suck and nobody comes to your park because all you do is ditch like stick jocks". Well, my retort question would be, "Where the fuck were you?" When it was cold, who was at the park? Right, me and the other jocks. When there was some music festival downtown, who was at the park? Right, me and the other stick jocks. When you didn't feel like getting up before 2:00pm, who was at the park? Right, me and the other hard-core stick jocks. Maybe it’s because you flurbs don’t have the sport mentality, of which dedication is a large part. Maybe it’s that you aren’t solid enough to enjoy the game when you are getting beat. Whatever it is, all I know is that it is us, the jocks, who are there week after week lending out our equipment, teaching the newbs, and molding the game to how we like it. Then, after the winter is over, you come back out and tell us that the park sucks, and that we have killed it. Listen, bitch. By your lacking of fortitude you let us take over the running of the park.

To wit — You broke it, You fix it. I challenge you to keep coming out, i.e. show a little dedication, and prevent us from recreating the parks in our own image.

Stick Jocks are mean and cheat because they are over-competitive.

You flurbs erroneously assume that we hit you a lot because we are interested in the "glory" of beating up flurbs. Here's a major hint: there is no “glory” in beating up newbs and flurbs. The only "glory" (whatever that might be) in this game comes from beating the guys at the top.

We hit you a lot, and in some cases hard, because (from our point of view, and ours is more accurate than yours) unlike anyone who plays this game for sport, you haven't bothered to take the time to develop the reflexes to call your shots correctly. You are more interested in developing your 4th level spell-list than in developing your body to play this game right. Rather than constantly having to ask you about shots that hit you, we simply hit you until there is no question. There is no malice in this; there is no over-competitiveness in this. To say that all jocks lead off with a shot to the face because it’s an easy win is libelous and stupid.

Every time I hear a flurb talk about a cheating jock I want to scream “sour grapes!” You flurbs don’t play this game well enough to understand cheating. Show me that I don’t have to throw three shots to get you to take one (because your reflexes are shit), and then I might listen to you when you tell me someone cheated you. Show me that you can do something besides shoot a guy who is engaged elsewhere and not looking, and then I’ll listen when you tell me that you are sure that your shot was good.

Stick jocks ruin battlegames.

You've just spent 6 hours building a greatsword. You've shaped the foam, applied just the right amount of glue, counterbalanced it with almost scientific precision, and covered it with this spiffy new "flamesword" looking cloth cover. You get to the park where, of course, those damned stick jocks are just ditching (the competitive bastards). You, of course, take this time to put on your hakama, furs, or other complex garment, apply your face paint, fake tattoo, or hair tie, and show your friend Darkblackshadowwolfstalkerwhitebane your neat new toy, with which you (as Grabthar the mighty barbarian, instead of Naelos the healer) are going to slay many foes today.

Finally, you go ditch... and get smoked by a guy in a plain old circle tunic and sunglasses. You think to yourself, "Just wait until they call a battle game. Then you shall meet the wrath of GRABTHAR". So they call one, and Grabthar gets smoked by a guy in a plain old circle tunic and sunglasses. Then: "Well, just wait 'till I go berserk." Grabthar goes berserk, and gets smoked by a guy in a plain old circle tunic and sunglasses, who immediately escapes, because all those goddamned jocks do is practice footwork, and leaves Grabthar impotent and useless in his furious fight after death.

There are, of course, many things you can do to make this situation better. You could lighten your weapon so it moves faster, you could ditch more and practice with your greatsword, although you would have to forego the complicated fur get-up and make-up and play the game during the time you normally do that, you could simply not use a greatsword, as it is not a good weapon for the Amtgard style, or you could ask the big, bad stick jock to help you get better. Chances are very high that he or she will. But you just go home, because those mean stick jocks have ruined the game.

You flurbs claim that stick jocks ruined the battlegame by taking it too seriously, turning it into a hyper-competitive flurb-bashing free-for-all designed to make sure you have no fun. As usual, you are wrong; stick jocks ruin the battle game because they don’t take it seriously. While you are practicing your death-yell in front of the mirror, jocks are fighting in a light-hearted manner—you can call it practice. While you are putting on the face paint, the jocks are playing, and we are enjoying ourselves—you can still call it practice. So while you are making your persona fit the class, the jocks are playing the damned game and getting good. Quit bitching because you didn’t.


Stick Jocks just want to play the game well. There is no higher agenda outside of maybe one day getting a Warlord and being awarded the white and silver; we are not here to prove that we are better people than you, as you so mistakenly regurgitate. We could go to any sport and do that. My jocky friends and I play to have fun, just like you flurbs. Our ideas of what is fun are vastly different, and I will admit that it is sad that our two ideas of fun in this game will be forever irreconcilable.

All you flurbs whine too much. That energy would be better directed at getting more skilled at the sport of Amtgard so that maybe one day you could make me and all those guys and gals like me eat my words. Become better players, or at least become better losers, because while it may not rule Amtgard; the “Sport” of Amtgard is here to stay.

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