|Rekindling the Spark
[08/02/2010] [Evan Tranginoire]
(This article is part of a cache of articles that were misplaced by Randall in 2007. The cache has recently been found, so the management is posting the articles over the next few weeks, with apologies to the submitters for the three-year turnaround.)
Chances are that you or someone you know has been affected by apathy. The definition of apathy as the American Heritage Dictionary states it is:
ap•a•thy (âp'ə-thç) n. Everyone can develop a lack of interest in this game. In order to try to reverse this type of affliction, we must begin by restarting the drive of those affected. If it is not dealt with, it can become contagious and jump from one person to the next like wildfire. One of the first questions that need to be addressed: what is the source of apathy? Could it be burn-out, mundane issues, personal strife with another member of the park, or do they feel unappreciated?
Lack of interest or concern, especially regarding matters of general importance or appeal; indifference. Lack of emotion or feeling; impassiveness.
An important first step in diagnosing apathy is to learn the source of the indifference. Keep in mind that some of these concerns can be a fairly easy to fix while others are beyond your control. Here is a list of a few common problems and the possible sources that they sprang from.
- Have they held too many offices resulting in the fun of the game becoming diminished?
- Were they on the receiving end of one too many bad reeve calls in a tournament?
- Was there a mundane issue has affected their ability to attend or play on a regular basis?
Personal Strife with fellow park members
- Do they feel that someone is always against them no matter what situation presents itself?
- Is there a perceived feeling that one or more members of the group intentionally slough shots from them?
- Have mundane problems between members transcended from within the boundaries of the game to outside of it?
Lack of Interest
- Ditching is the only game that your park seems to know how to play or lack of variety in battle games?
- Has the current monarchy grown complacent with little to offer both veterans and newer players alike?
- Do they feel that no matter how much they try to stand out no one notices them or the work they have done?
- Are they simply feeling like the odd man out at the weekly park game days?
Whatever the problem might be, the best solution is to help those affected recognize it as a problem. Remember, if someone isn’t willing to help themselves, then it can never be mended regardless of how hard you try.
Come On Baby, Light My Fire
If you’ve identified what has caused the problem, you can start to take the necessary steps to fix it. Think of the first day you played Amtgard: What were your thoughts, ideas and daydreams concerning what you wanted to pursue within the game? The goal here is to instill that excitement that once resided within before they became jaded in their view of the realm of Amtgard. This can be addressed in several different manners.
Taking a little time and offering a compliment or a thank you can boost someone’s self-esteem, allowing them the chance to have fun once again. By taking time to see what is happening within your park, you can see who is becoming disgusted with their lack of fighting skills, artisan skills or social skills. It is then up to you as a person to take some of your time to help them. If you yourself aren’t skilled in the area that they are having difficulty with, then ask someone who is. Getting the focus off of personal issues and back on the enjoyment of the game is essential to keep things fun and interesting.
Become the torch bearer for the game, regardless of whether you are in office. Stepping up and becoming a rally point for the park will have wonderful results in the health of a park. Start a friendly banter of animosity between the households and fighting companies of the group. Challenge people who have difficulty winning in combat to a one on one bout and work with them. Invite people to arts and science nights to help them make garb and weapons or to work on their current project. Inspire competition through example and leadership.
Help jump-start imaginations by creating and running one or more quests that includes those who are plagued with apathy. Make doubly sure that there are main participants within the game and not only a secondary role.
Be the first one on the ditch field challenging all others to play. Be the first to volunteer for a battle game captain so you can pick the players who need that emotional help with their self-esteem.
Develop a theme for a reign or series of events within your group to help inspire everybody to excel to new heights. In order to reach so many diverse people, you have to find a medium that will appeal to everybody. Since, for all intents and purposes, many people within this game have a natural tendency to gravitate to all things fantastical or imaginary, anything within these themes will be an excellent way to create a focal point to combat apathy.
Become a bastion of attitude and deeds of good attitude to infect anyone you contact with the love of the game. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and approach everything in an open positive manner no matter how much it may affect you personally.
Burn, Baby, Burn
Each and every case of apathy will be different. Singular or plural, each is created through different affects and healed through one or more means. This is a path not for the faint of heart, for every case cannot always be solved. Doing your part to help keep your group tight-knit and enjoying the game is one of the most worthy goals you can strive for. In short, a concerned friend or acquaintance can help brighten the mood no matter how dark the horizon may be. Remember what happens to one can affect the many.
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