I Can't Even …
by Sara "Zarine" Jessop
… Stay in OOTL Shape
Like all of you, I was shocked when I read the announcement that Order of the List would be on hiatus this year. (For the under-educated, hiatus means 'taking a break'). Many of the martial persuasion are understandably disappointed. Their usual motivation for practicing and improving themselves is temporarily (hopefully) halted. Yet this doesn't mean that you should all let yourselves go and sit around gorging yourselves on chips and skipping practice sessions while you lament about how this was 'your year' and how you would have 'won it 'all if only the tournament had happened.
Just because there will be no Order of the List this year doesn't mean that there are not other incentives to keep up with your skills. There are many reasons to remain in fighting shape throughout the next year. And, dear reader, when I say 'stay in shape' I mean for those who have already acquired an attractive shape. Some of you plebs still need to lose that rounded shape that you've so carefully cultivated with too much Blackwood Meatloaf . Fortunately you now have an extra year to get into fighting shape and develop the skills necessary to get into the top sixteen when the competition returns.
Just a few weeks back, I wrote an article about the spirit of competition. It's a healthy, fun, necessary, and wonderful part of our world. We will all miss the Order of the List this year, but hopefully if we all show some initiative and keep training and striving to be the best it will come back next year better than ever. They aren't going to bring it back if we all seem happy sitting around getting fat and bad. Besides, who's going to rescue peasants and protect all those towns we never hear from again if you can no longer fit into your armor?
You may be surprised to learn that there are other tournaments to prepare for. War maneuvers like the war tourney at ToC, Queen of Hearts, the weekend where we are going to sit around telling stories about how awesome North South War used to be... The point, dear reader, is that there are many other events which require you to be in your best fighting shape if you want to win. Perhaps because of the lack of list points this year other tournaments will be more competitive, better attended, and more fun over all. In fact, maybe we won't have to bury N/S after all if people were more excited to participate in it once again.
There will still be many weekend festivals that feature individual tournaments. I myself love individual tournament events for the social aspect and hope that they continue being an important part of our world despite the recent news. Where else can you dress so casually while watching entertainment that you can talk through? You may not get 'points' but most competitions provide winners with a lovely certificate to hang on your wall, and some even give out fabulous prizes from the beautiful isle of Teng Hua. But most importantly, you'll feel good about yourself when your efforts pay off with win after win. Or you'll feel bad loss after loss. Either way I'll be having a fantastic time.
Many of you should see this as an opportunity. One of the primary concerns I have seen bandied about it how hard it is to break into the top tier of combatants in the Realms. “But Zarine, I'll never be that good..” Well, not with that attitude you won't. Now is the time to change that mindset and get to work. There are some who may need a bit of a break from the constant training, but you don't, because you have never trained a day in your life. They have earned a little relaxation just like you earned that 'dad bod'. But maybe as part of their relaxation and rejuvenation they would be willing to take on a pupil? You won't know unless you ask, and please, for the future tournament combat in the Realms, ask.
The top tier folks who need the time off may slack off a bit. Maybe while they are helping train new people their bad habits will rub off on them. Maybe they'll skip some practices to spend needed time with their families. Maybe they can't practice because they have a devastating ankle injury. Any way that you slice it, this is good bread for beginner combatants. In fact, it's a big ol' opportunity sandwich. What does opportunity taste like you ask? Mostly like blood, sweat and tears, but also a little like bacon. And if something tastes even a little bit like bacon, you should eat it. So devour this opportunity and wash it down with a big tall mug of success (which tastes a lot like pumpkin spice latte).
Does your schedule not align with practice? No practice local to you? You can stay in shape in other ways besides fighting. Many of my fighter friends have joined a fitness cult called 'crossfit'. I'm sure they could direct you on how to proceed if you are interested in joining. Not sure who to ask? Don't worry, just stand around for a while and someone will just come up to you and start talking about it.
Finally, your physique effects more people that you may think. When I made the announcement this morning to my girls, they were instantly concerned about their own well being. If the fighters of the Realms no longer have anything to work towards, will they now let themselves go? I promised them that I would do my very best to prevent such an outcome, as it's my obligation to keep them safe and I would really rather them not be crushed under the weight of your dashed hopes and dreams. So if you can't do if for yourselves, at least do it for the harlots.
See you next Tuesday.
Zarine is the proprietor and Madam at Alchimia Lupanar, a magic marshal approved practitioner of medicine, an award winning author, and has 36 years of experience in giving her unsolicited opinion.