Encouraging friends to enter A&S competitions

A question to the Kingdom A&S Minister, Master Philip White:

“My friend made this really cool thing. Should I convince them to enter the really cool thing into an A&S competition?”

A reply from the Minister:


First? It sounds like what you really want to do is give your friend a complement. Do that!

Here are some good examples of things to say:

“You’ve created something special.”

“This is beautiful! You have a great eye!”

“I’m totally impressed with your skill!”

“You’ve really improved over time.”

“I am so excited to see what you’ll be doing next!”

Basically? Say something with honesty. Make your complement with meaning.

You can stop there. Nicely done!

Bus what about entering it into an A&S Competition?

Generally speaking, A&S Competitions are not designed for “really cool things.”

There are lots of cool things in the SCA. We celebrate them, we enjoy their use, and we commend their creators. That’s all well and good. We should do this!

They come in all shapes and styles, true, but A&S Competitions basically focus on the elements of historical accuracy through research and demonstrated skill. That “really cool thing” may not have been made with those basic ideas in mind.

And there is the potential problem. The “thing” and the competition may have different goals.

Now, lets say your friend does enter that competition. And then the “really cool thing” receives a low score.

That score may be justified based on the rules of the competition. Since they didn’t make the “thing” for the competition it may not do well. The “thing” is still “really cool” but now there is a poor experience associated with it. And that doesn’t make your friend feel good.

Remember? You just wanted to help your friend feel good.

So, stick with that complement.

Separately, you may want to *also* encourage your friend to enter a competition. Why? Because competitions can be good ways to learn and to teach. And they can *also* be fun.

To do that? Make it a conversation.

Learn more about competitions. Learn about judging. Talk to artisans and ask them about their experiences. Encourage your friend to make and entry specific to a competition instead of the other way around.

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

Your Servant to Command,


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