Jared’s the Intern, which means he’s really good at coming up with unnecessarily complicated solutions to easy problems. He idolizes Ramses, worships Karen, owes a life debt to Matt, and is in a perpetual blood feud with Robert. To assault him with words, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet him @HealthyLumbrjck.
I have a confession to make. I’ve hidden a part of my past for too long.
I used to fight in the park with foam swords.
Yes, friends, it’s true. And I’m ashamed for having kept this from you. If it were not for the recent Podcast regarding Geek Shame, I fear I wouldn’t have had the courage to step forward.
Actually, I want to be COMPLETELY honest: fighting in the park with foam swords was AWESOME. Back in high school, me and my gaming buddies played Amtgard. Believe it or not, I actually discovered the game via a notecard posting on my local gaming shop’s bulletin board–who knew those things actually work.
If you happen to know much about Amtgard, unfortunately you probably have a pretty negative opinion of it. Even traditional gamer think of Amtgard as “too far” on the nerdy spectrum. In a nutshell, Amtgard consists of players crafting foam weapons and garb, developing characters with classes and distinct abilities, and engaging in mock combat governed by rules (pretty similar to virtually every conceivable childhood sword fight–if you’re struck in the arm, you lose the use of that arm). Players earn experience based on the number of events they attend, and leveling up granted additional abilities.
But I’ll tell you what I do know–I always had a great time playing. I wouldn’t say my world revolved around our Wednesday and Sunday sessions, but I spent an awful lot of time making swords out of golf club shafts and camping foam. I met new people–genuinely GOOD people. And I got a helluva lot of exercise.
People would drive by and honk. I overheard more snickers from couples strolling past. Mockery was commonplace. Unfortunately, I let the misconceptions of others get to me, and I rarely admitted in mixed company that I played–even though it was something I loved.
No more, though! I’ve never once regretted playing Amtgard…so why should I be afraid to admit it? And shame on the people who make fun of other people for doing what they love. Everyone needs an outlet.