I was moved to tears because someone in a far away kingdom received an award. One reason is because he really deserved it, but more than that, it gives me hope.
In this medieval game I play, inclusiveness has become a big issue in many ways. I'm not going to get into all the issues, but I want to say a bit about why it matters to me. I mean, I'm not really part of any minority that might worry about exclusion, at least not on the surface.
But I came to this game late in life. Many people who are playing and are my age have been doing it from a much younger age; they have won their accolades in times past and are resting on their laurels or nests or whatever. But that isn't me.
Let's be real, in many ways this game favors the young. Fighting, camping, schlepping stuff, putting in long days of service is so much easier when you are 20 or 30 than when you are 50. Or 60. I am convinced that the day will come sooner than I would like that I simply can't do it anymore. And as the population in our group ages, there are more people needing help than there are younger hands coming in to take up the slack.
But then there's Justin. He is caught by a debilitating health situation that keeps him mostly home. And because of this and the slow response of the disability system, he also has strict financial limits. But he still plays this game and plays it hard. He serves many people with questions of heraldry, helping with finding names and designing devices. He does it all from his home, online. He does it so much, that when he was Skyped in to an event this past weekend and presented with an award, they said they received recommendations from seven different Kingdoms.
And tears ran down my face, because it gives me hope. Hope that there will still be a way for me to make a difference even if I can't get out there and do it all. Hope that the C in the SCA will stand for looking beyond the way that things have always been done so that everyone gets to play.
Inclusiveness matters. Even if you have never had a reason to feel excluded. Especially if you are the young, the strong, the majority, the one without any barriers. Justin is a lot of fun. I have been told that I am a lot of fun. Take the game as seriously as you need to, but don't forget the fun.
BTW, if you would like to give Justin a little help while he waits for disability, here is a way: