929Re: Archery Scoring( Long reply)
- Oct 13, 1999As many of you know, I am a proponent of period archery. I believe that the
greatest accomplishment we can attain as SCA archers is to find a way to spend
a great deal of shooting time participating in 'period' shoots, with all the
attendant period philosophy.
I cannot find in my research any running scores competitions within the period
we study. I can find instances where a name was associated with victory in a
contest. I cannot find a "close gets points" competition, but I can find
hit-or-miss competitions. The most obscure references I have ever seen with an
explanation of the targets being shot in the Lutrell Psalter (which look like 3
ring targets) say that this was an artistic interpretation of a stuffed garland
(a garland with a wound rope core) and not a variable-score target.
The finest archers of period gained their fame on the basis of their abilities
of the bow in daily use, not from some recorded set of scores.
If RR or IKAC scores are so good at helping a person judge their own
advancement, then make them regular parts of archery practices - that would
achieve the same end. But I would like to see them done away with in any
official capacity because too many folks rely on them and them alone to pick
champions teams at large wars, to justify elevations into orders, and other
things that make these scores the perceived primary indicator of ability of
archers - and they fail miserably at that job.
Yes I know Connor Bowsplitter, and until Pennsic I did not know that he was a
Ludicrous Bowman. He used to shoot (and maybe still does) with my first ever
crossbow. I knew of his skill because I heard archers talk of him for years,
and because I have had the opportunity to shoot against him.
But people like Leif and Conner do not kill my case. Any archer with the skill
to do well any time they go out can score an impressive set of numbers in any
of our competitions. But not every archer that scores impressive numbers shows
that level of skill. The man makes the numbers, the numbers do not make the
man. And if all we know is the numbers, we never know what the man is capable
of (except that he was capable of at least one good score).
All my proposals are based on getting to know the man through interaction, not
just getting to know the name because of numbers on a page generated somewhere
far away. Legends are built on the merit of a man, and diluted by putting too
many unknowns based solely on numbers.
I cannot find any reason that modern archers cannot gain the recognition they
deserve following this particular mindset either - it does not keep one from
becoming well known as an archer - it just requires that you do a little more
to promote yourself within the organization, and that if it is universal
recognition you want, then you go out and seek it.
We defend to the point of destroying one discussion list the right to shoot in
a modern style with modern gear, and we defend with strong words the right to
shoot with a modern mindset. All these things are justified by saying
"If these things bring more archers to the line, then they are great."
But I put it to you - if I allowed compounds in Calontir, I guarantee I would
bring many more archers to the line, and I don't believe it would be a good
thing. A good thing would be bringing many folks to the line who had an
understanding of the mission of our Medieval Recreation Group and did not have
to have that understanding modified later in order to get there. Sheer numbers
are not the basis of judging something a 'good thing'.
I applaud the efforts of those who are trying to organize the period archery
company. I still believe, however, that the goals of that company should be
the goals of archers in the SCA - you could form a more limited company (say,
the Agincourt Archers) and be exclusive, but to ask that archers in a medieval
recreation society be expected to hold some type of medieval mindset and use
some types of medieval gear within a structure of competition and activities
that is consistent with the Middle Ages still doesn't seem too outlandish to
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