My father once asked me why I was so dedicated to Amtgard. Before I became involved in Amtgard, I had multiple hobbies and was part of many different sports teams and school organizations. He couldn’t understand how someone who could not function unless they were working on four or five things at once could become so focused on one activity. For a very long time, I have been unable to find the words to explain to him, until now. As my four-year anniversary of becoming an Amtgardian approaches, I have looked back at what has kept me in for so long. Four years is a long time for me to stick with something and not loose interest. The only activity I have ever participated in longer than Amtgard is the eight years I played football.
Enough introspective crap; here are the reasons I am hooked on Amtgard. Amtgard is a highly unique organization in which I have the opportunity to express all my talents without seeking an alternate outlet. I get exercise from fighting others, running around a battlefield, and dodging spell balls and arrows. I get a place to compete through tournaments, both fighting and arts and sciences. I get my chance to use my leadership skills by running for and holding offices. I have an outlet for my artistic pursuits with arts and science workshops and events. I have the chance to indulge my acting talents by role-playing my persona. I even have a place to speak my mind and use my passion for writing here on E-Sam.
I also have a social outlet in Amtgard. When I first enter into any social setting, I am normally rather quiet and shy. Those feelings didn’t last long with Amtgard because I am not judged right away. I have had the chance to travel and meet people from all over the country. I have made my strongest friendships through Amtgard, choosing the good friends I have made within it to be the attendants in my wedding over my family and those few friends I made in school.
I have even had the chance to expand my mind and knowledge in Amtgard. Since joining, I have learned a wide variety of skills and facts. I have learned how to make chainmail, weave, and cook a few period meals. I have done research and learned about costumes, medieval weaponry, social structure, and various ancient cultures. I have learned more about the past from Amtgard than I did in any of my World History classes… and I actually liked those classes.
To answer my father’s question of why I am so dedicated to Amtgard, I do it because it makes me whole. It brings everything I enjoy into a single entity, and keeps me from being stretched beyond my limits of free time. Amtgard has given me a greater sense of self-confidence, enjoyment, and fulfillment in these last four year than I have found in any other hobby or activity. No single force has the power to make me want to quit. I know that I definitely would not be the person I am now without have been a part of this organization.
Those who do not derive the same feelings I do from Amtgard, like my parents, will never understand what keeps me actively involved with it. But for those of us who share the sentiment, what they think is the least of our problems. Take the time to remind yourself why you have stuck with Amtgard these long years. All it can do is make you smile.
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