Friday, August 9, 2019

Why I Want To Go (Part 2)--Queen of Hearts XXVI

by Lani "Gwen" Jones

Renee wrote a beautiful Why I Want to Go this week, but the spirit moved me to share with you all why I’m beyond excited for this year’s Queen of Hearts, so here is a late week addition for your reading pleasure.

I’ve had a range of emotions about this event for the past eleven years. Reflecting on my earliest QoH memories, I can say that I approached my first event with a healthy mix of anxiety and excitement, representing Queen Sean Angus as the newbie. What I remember most about that event was being part of a team, who, despite regularly getting our butts kicked in war maneuvers had an absolute blast. I got to play with Alysha, prep non-stop for the newbie tournament, and meet people who would become life-long friends. I’ll always remember Betty showing me the importance of a bandana in preventing coif-hair-pulling disasters. As the years passed, the shine of that first QoH wore off, in particular because I realized that sometimes highly competitive events can bring out the not-so-nice parts of the people and community that I love so much.

In recent years, the QoH staff (myself included) worked hard to address some of those tougher parts of Queen of Hearts by radically changing the event--making a conscious choice to focus more on fun and less on the unhealthier aspects that competition can bring out in us. Slowly but surely, I began to regain my love for the event that ushered in my commitment to the Realms. I can honestly say that this year I’m approaching the event with the excitement I had as a wide-eyed newbie. It’s because so many of you showed me that, when we commit to having fun with one another, this event really can be special.

In that vein, I’m appealing to all of you--please, come to this event with an open mind and an open heart. Competition is a blast, and I can’t wait to see the martial and crafting prowess that you all bring to the field this year. But please, don’t forget what we come here for--to spend time with our friends, to make new ones, and ultimately, to support and celebrate all of the things we each do so well.

You can help by keeping a few things in mind this weekend:
1. We Should All Be Doing this to Have Fun--If you came here to prove something, or to show that you’re better than someone else, I think you might be missing the point.
2. Your Marshals Are People Too--it can be easy to yell at the ump when they make a call you disagree with, but if you start arguing with people who are volunteering their time to help you have a better time, you’re kind of like a parent yelling at the little league referee--and I know you don’t want to be that person.
3. I’m a Hufflepuff--If you mess with my friends, if you’re ruining other people’s fun, if you’re not acting like your best self, I’ll have to put you in your place (it’s part of the ‘Puff guidelines). So, just, you know, don’t do that.

Thanks for supporting this event for 26 years, for being a part of something that is evolving and changing and getting better each year. Thanks for giving me back my joy, and for letting me meet you on the field to have a genuinely good time.

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