Why to enter an A&S competition..

… challenge, or tournament

Photos of the Laurel's New Works display

Photos of the Laurel’s New Works display

As you might know, I’m hosting a few SCA A&S (Arts & Science competitions) this year, and one of the questions/concerns I’ve heard from people is “Why should I enter?” (often followed by a silent: “…if I don’t think I can win?”)

I’m in NO way an expert on this… I’m still pretty new to the SCA, and haven’t travelled outside of Avacal to see how things are done elsewhere. Still, I’ve been to, judged, and competed in a few competitions, and have some suggestions and things to think about…and this is my soapbox! 😉

Winning is cool

Yeah, It’s cool to win anything. Let’s get that out of the way right away. It’s cool to do your thing, have other people say your thing is awesome, and win an award or title or prize for how good you did your thing…

…but there’s more to it than that.

Chances are, you’ll enter a few contests and not win before you do. You’ll do your thing, all your friends will say your thing is awesome, and you’ll get all psyched up about your thing – only to find out that you’re competing up against someone who has been doing THEIR thing longer/better/in more depth/with greater resources than you do your thing.

So… why stick to it?

  • Because  you’ll have access to subject-matter experts and A&S enthusiasts that you might not otherwise have face-time with.
    • Who can lead your projects in new and interesting directions
    • Who can introduce you to other supports
    • Who can recommend sources, suppliers, and more
  • Because you’ll get constructive feedback about your work that can help you improve your work, your display, your research, your documentation, or your presentation.
    • Which can be really useful if you plan to compete at similar or even higher levels in the future.
  • Because it’s an opportunity for A&S people (who often work on their projects alone) to talk to one another about their passions
    • This is as much about building the A&S community as it is about the competition.
    • You might just find a kindred spirit who is also really interested in your particular passion!
  • Because it’s a chance to show off. While this might not sound like the most noble reason, it might just be yours… especially if this project shows a particular push for yourself, or is something outside of what you think other people might think of you.
  • Because it’s an opportunity to inspire others to go out and do likewise.
    • If you think that people SHOULD compete… ask them to follow your lead by competing yourself!
  • Because some of the other major areas of the SCA involve competition (armored combat, rapier, archery, etc) and this is how we show our work in a similar format.

If you live in the Calgary area

A&S display at Avacal Sergeant Trials, with my device banner on the end

A&S display at Avacal Sergeant Trials, with my device banner on the end

If you live in either Montegarde or the incipient shire of Windwyrm, you are eligible to enter the A&S competition to become the baronial champion at Twelfth Night in January. More information about that here. There is also a separate medallion design challenge which does not come with a title.


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