Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Entertainment at Events, part 2: Entertaining Yourself

Okay, so picking up where the previous essay left off. The first one was addressed to the activity leaders trying to involve the bored people. This one's addressed at the bored people themselves.

Why are you waiting for someone to entertain you?

Really, it's an important question, because it goes to the heart of the Society. One of the most common questions I answer is, "What's the difference between the SCA and a Ren Faire?" And while there are a bunch of potential answers, the one that I think really matters is that we are oriented around participation, where a faire is oriented around entertainment. The core of that difference is that, at a Faire, there's always someone there who is supposed to entertain you; in the Society, you're largely responsible for entertaining yourself.

I've been doing the SCA continuously for well over 20 years. The way I keep that fun over so much time is by being always aware of this: the SCA is exactly as much fun as you make it for yourself. If you wait for someone to come along and *make* fun for you, you're going to spend most of your time bored. There will be some high points, but really -- we are *not* about making your entertainment.

This is the secret of pretty much all hardcore members of the Society, the ones who really enjoy it over the long haul: we are all *active* about our fun. We don't sit there passively, we work at having fun. It's really not hard to do, but it does take a little practice.

The most important part of this is finding activities that you *like* to do. The more, the better, frankly -- the way I keep having fun over so much time is that I've developed a taste for many, many different activities. I'm not particularly *good* at most of them, but I enjoy *doing* them all. So almost no matter the event, I can find a way to have fun somehow.

Which activities work for you depends a lot on you. If you prefer something quieter and more gently social, you're likely to enjoy some sort of handwork. Fiber arts are especially popular in this regard -- anything from portable looms and drop-spindles to kumihimo. (If fiber is insufficiently macho for you, trichinopoly is a popular option: basically fiber arts in silver wire.) Helping with the kitchen is a *fine* way to socialize as much or as little as you want -- they always need help, and it's a great way to get to know people. (Helping with the dishes is an even better way to get to know folks and earn good karma.) If you like being loud, find a tournament and help herald it. If you have an organizational bent, there is always prey out there, waiting to be organized. If you like working up a sweat, hie thyself to some armor or fencing garb. And if you like performance, Carolingia has a host of options available to you.

And yes -- games are a *great* way to entertain yourself. I am never without a deck of cards, so my fallback is always to pull it out, grab some other people who seem to be bored, and play something. Combine that with a portable chess set or backgammon board (or, pace Kobayashi, a Go set), and you have a lot of options. Seriously: if you find yourself bored, and you don't yet know any games, grab one or more people, find me and ask me to teach you something. Occasionally I won't have time right now, but I am always happy to be asked, and usually I can spare a few minutes to provide some instruction. I'm even about to put together a set of "cheat cards", so if you kind of know a game but not quite perfectly, I may be able to hand you the rules for an hour. (And if you'd like me to come teach something to a group some weeknight, drop me a note and we can work something out.)

But really: it's your responsibility to make your fun. This is why we have all those practices all the time -- come to some and try them out. *All* of them are basically about teaching you a way to have fun, whether it be needlework or fighting or singing or throwing axes at things. If you do a broad selection of them for a little while, and take responsibility for your own good time, you will never be bored at an event again, because you'll have enough tools at your disposal to avoid it...
Tags: sca
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