I was inspired today by the words of Excellency Evelynne Merrymet of Black Diamond.
How can we increase participation in the scoring aspect of the game we love?
This touches several areas and instead of responding in an e-mail chain I’d like to share some thoughts if it helps at all…
When it comes to scoring shoots, not all practices are built the same. In some cases the practices are small, democratically run, or just not organized. This is not an indictment, rather a reality. Sometimes a practice is simply a group of friends getting together to hang out and fling arrows together. They chat beforehand or generally agree on how it will be run. As someone who runs a `thing`, we should always try to think past ourselves and our friends needs and think about the populace. I may be done shooting Royal Rounds, but it doesn’t mean newcomers are, or seasoned archers for that matter. There are many practices I set up the IKCAC target to have it sit lonely… “I miss being shot on a regular basis,” Syr Rendre du Singe confided to me on a long winter’s night as the wind howled in the lonely pines as vacant as his scoreless soul. You may not even need to set it up physically, but by having it set up, there is no barrier to entry, and it advertises the shoot.
People should know, and it should be advertised that `your` practice includes Royal Rounds, IKAC, SSAC, etc… Not everyone may participate, and lord knows I’ve set up IKCAC and Royal Rounds many times they were never scored. But if people know they want to score and they can depend on the availability, they may come. Set up the targets every time. You may not shoot a Royal Round every time, but it will be ready to go when anyone else is. Part of the beauty of using the 60cm FITA targets is that they are easy to put up, and ready for whatever game you may wish to play.
How can we better lay the groundworks for submitting scores? Perhaps having a sign in at practice. Get people used to the idea of ‘low barrier’ paperwork. Do they have to sign in? This may depend on the Kingdom, but in my case, not a requirement. But it would be nice to know who showed up, especially as it relates to newcomers and Seneschals. Remember that practices can be open and one need not be a SCA member to participate. This can be an opportunity to better get to know someone. Always have scoring sheets and a clipboard available. Plenty of pencils. A quick trip to an Office Depot will have you set up for years. Buy two sets, and entrust a few key people with the forms so no matter what, someone can always be there with score sheets. Practice speed rounds or at various ranges to get people used to the procedures of scoring. This can also be a way to get people to break out of their ‘but I can’t hit a target at 40 yards’ line of thinking.
Challenge yourself and others to score with varying equipment. I have been shooting crossbow almost exclusively for a long time (training for combat archery went to laziness ;p), but what about a horse-bow? Longbow? Challenge others to use new equipment and broaden their horizons. Challenge yourself! Use the Royal Rounds score as a measure of comparison between the various equipment options. Advertise, set up, and shoot SSAC targets! These change over time and can offer a sense newness and or competition. Challenge others to shoot a Royal Round even if it isn’t submitted. These scores can be, and are to many, a useful tool in gauging their performance.
There is more Im sure and I am NOT the last word, or the smartest but I hope to start and add to the conversations!