Monday, September 22, 2014

In the wake of Triumph....

I think this is something of a critical time for me to be writing this particular entry in my blog. Nearly every year prior to this I have sat down and spoken on the time spend, and accomplishments made at Mooneschadowe’s local event, Triumph of the Eclipse. But honestly and truthfully, I and not inclined to sit back this year and extol on how great the event was. This year, more than others, I feel warrants some hard, and critical self-reflection.

First of all, there are some assumed facts when dealing with Triumph. First, its safe to assume that everyone there who has been to the event more than once before will, at best, associate me with site heraldry, if not assume I am the coordinating event herald outright. Not a good thing in itself, and not a bad thing, but something that needs to be accounted for.

This year, we included equestrian activities and competition, and as such wound up using the field out by the fort. We haven’t used that location since the last time archery was held in that field, and now, with a major element of the event held out there, it effectively doubled our logistical footprint.
And in precursor to all of this, my situation has changed markedly since the last time we held the event. Firstly, I applied for deputy-ship to the archery marshal, mostly to help support archery locally, and to help Lady Derega, whom I consider a good friend.  This obligated me to help with archery, specifically the children’s competition. Also, some months ago, I was warranted as the Provincial Minister of Arts and Sciences. Had I put two and two together when I did that, I would have realized that that meant I was the de-facto coordinator for the A&S competition this year.

So, in short, I was now in charge of two things, and helping to coordinate site heraldry meant that I was obligated to a third. In short, I was over committed from the moment the sun came up Saturday. As a result, none of the things I had to do got the attention that that deserved, and most of them got just barely enough of it to make things work.

A&S was a mixed bag. First of all, I am overjoyed that I was able to enlist the help of friends on the A&S side of things. Lady Uallach, and Lord Aonghs for both sat the tables for me during the competition, and HL Sabine and HL Aline both helped provide me judges and making sure projects and judges were pared off appropriately. I would have felt a lot better about the whole process of more of that decision base had been made weeks in advance and not hours. As it was, things went well, but not with the margin of error that I am inclined to call “acceptable”. Coming away from this, I am inclined to call the process a steep learning curve, and will definitely make sure not to do the same thing in the future. In the future, (and for reasons I will explain shortly) I am inclined to delegate the whole thing. Its not terribly complex, but it does require a lot of time and immediate availability. I do intend to make myself far, far better acquainted with the A&S community in the north, and to make sure I keep those contacts current as much as possible. While I am not an active artisan now, as a warranted officer, these are connections that need to happen.

Youth archery was little better, at least in my opinion. I had hoped for some better targets and a more unique shoot, but as luck would have it things worked for my favor. I’d known I was in charge of the Youth shoot for weeks, and wound up just not having time enough to better prepare for it. To my favor, we had a good turnout, with parents there with each kid. Also, I had a phenomenal support cadre there to make sure all arrows got pointed in the right direction and no one came out of it with a missing digit or extra piercing. We shot two rounds, three arrows each, two kids at a time. Cian was the marshal of record while I was officially calling the range. Ultimately, the shoot was simple, easy, and the kids all had a blast, so I am really not complaining. However, again, a lot of that came together too last minute for my preferences, so I was fortunate (as opposed to downright lucky), that things turned out the way they did.

Heraldry was another mater entirely. As a long-time site herald, one of the cornerstone heralds for Mooneschadowe, and one of the people who helped write the proverbial book for site heralding Triumoph (and Guardian before that), the only thing I can say here is that heraldry at the event was downright neglected, and a lot of that falls to my own shortcomings.

First, the fact that I had to be at archery and A&S at all means that I couldn’t put the energy I needed into site and list heraldry for the event. A huge portion of my normal fellow heralds this year were either not available, or obligated in other directions. Add to this the fact that the event footprint was almost half again (at a minimum) of what it was last year, with a new schedule and new activities, and your end result is twice the work with half of the normal manpower.

The important thing to point out is that what needed to be announced was, and things did happen. That being said, the expectations of people attending were clearly not met on several occasions, and that is based on my own conversations with several good friends. Mooneshadowe’s heralds, and those with work with them have set the expectation that information will be regularly, accurately and event announced around the event. Here, I was scrambling time and time again to find someone to cry for me when I was otherwise obligated, or just too physically burned out to make an announcement. I managed to pull it off, but I don’t call that a success, rather it’s just a lucky few moments.

List heraldry…. Yeah, lets not go there. A lot of our normal leaders in this field were again obligated to other duties this year, and I certainly wasn’t in any position to help. I heard that it was well handled, but that it was mostly managed by the fighters who weren’t about to go out. As a man who teachers list heraldry, I am not happy with this. I’ve largely been pulled away from list heraldry these past few years because site heraldry is such a full time job. But With Lady Adalia Vanderburg serving as herald to the prince and princess, and both tournaments running at once, the usual backbone to the list heraldry effort just didn’t exist.

Also, I feel like there were some critical breakdowns in communications between myself and the coordinating event herald. I’m not entirely sure I made it clear that I could “help” herald, but could not be the central coordinating figure for voice heraldry at the event. I’m not completely sure if I failed to convey that to the coordinating herald, or if he failed to understand what I said, but that is an academic conversation right now.

The take away, for me, from this event is manifold. First and foremost, I need to make sure I better understand my commitments (assumed and written) with officer ships before applying. Secondly, preparation is not something to be done days in advance, especially if we are going to be doing events like this again. We need names and promises months in advance, and supplies (barring the perishables) weeks ahead of time.

The major concern here is not the activity itself, but the raw emotions and hurt feelings that come from stress and fatigue. I, at least, was fortunate that things went as well as they did, but the lessons learned here need to be applied going forward so that I both don’t over extend myself in the future, and can better complete what I have to do already.

Honorable Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Mooneschaodwe Minister for Arts and Sciences
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"Long Live the King"

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