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The Ideal
[12/18/2004] [Sir Angrist]

It seems like our Amtgard year is divided into seasons, kind of like sports. You get Hockey season, Basketball season, Football season, etc. But in our game, especially here on E-Samurai, we get things like Knighthood season where people bitch about how flawed the system is, Clan season, where those of us who go wait for the dates to be announced with bated breath so we can start putting in our leave paperwork, Northwest Fight season (also known as the annual Lukor/Avalon fight which used to be known as Burning Lands Sucks season) and of course every stick-jocks favorite ďShut Up and Ditch, You Fucking Flurb Itís Not About Role PlayingĒ Season.

Now, most of these I pretty much ignore. I donít go to Clan because Iím a broke sailor, I like to roleplay AND ditch on occasion making me a stick-flurb, and now that I live in the Pac Northwest, the whole Lukor and Avalon thing just got unfunny to me. So, in keeping with the recent spate of articles and posts on the forums about knighthood, earning it and all the baggage that goes with it, I decided it was time to sit down in front of my keyboard again and waste a few megs of bandwidth weighing in on the subject.

Now, I can still remember being a noob, for the most part, before the politics and maneuvering set in. I played for fun without any sort of regard for anything remotely resembling awards and honors. I did service for my group because a) I had a truck b) they were my friends and c) it was the right thing to do. I stood gate guard when my first shire was made a barony and honestly, I didnít care too much. Being seen wasnít at the top of any of my list. Of course, no good deed goes unpunished. Eventually I worked my way up the ladder and got that much coveted Belt o' White.

Iíd seen and heard of a lot of folks who got their belt then either quit the game entirely or just stopped working for it. Those people, in their own way, were just as much examples as my sponsors were. They taught me to stick with the club even after I got what I had earned. By quitting, they basically said ďfuck you, Iím outta hereĒ to the person who gave them the belt and to the people they were supposed to be serving. See, thatís what a lot of folks tend to forget. Knights are supposed to be serving the people and the kingdom we live in. Serpent knights by teaching A&S, sword knights by training fighters how to be better, flame knights always being there to help run events or helping out any way they can and crown knights by being leaders. Thatís the ideal of how things are supposed to run when youíre a knight.

These days, however, it seems like more and more folks are in it for themselves. I cringe whenever I ask a person why they want to be a knight and they tell me so they can play Paladin. I just want to slap people who say things like that. I donít, though. I tell them that those classes really arenít all that special and that knights are supposed to be leaders. They then look at me like Iíve been pithed and move along with their grand plans to attain their goal. People like that I file in the back of my head for future reference, especially if they come up for their belt. I havenít had to vote on folks like that yet, but when it time comes, it will play a part in my decision.

I guess in short, what Iím trying to say is this: We call knighthood a path for a reason. Itís bumpy, there are all sorts of twists and turns, what with the award mongering and Good Ol' Boy System and the other pitfalls that go along with it. Itís just like life. And just like life, it keeps going until the end. Getting the belt is just a milestone, like graduating college or getting married. You simply canít stop just because you reached a milestone.

I suppose in closing I should leave something to ponder. In the Navy, we have three core values: Honor, Courage and Commitment. I personally always lived by that code, since I also used them (unknowingly) as the values and example I want to show and teach as a knight: Always play with honor, have the courage to stand up for what you think is right, even if youíre the only one and be committed to the game and your ideals as an example to newer members. Maybe if a few more knights these days lived by those values, thereíd be a lot less belt envy and complaining. And if it were shown that knighthood is a lot more work on the inside than it seems, thereíd be a lot less belt jockeying, too.

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