The subject of this column is "looking good on the field" or, "some people do consider SCA combat a spectator sport". Unfortunately, as often happens in life, people tend to make judgments based on first impressions; (Hey that person looks professional.. so they must know what their talking about) or (Look at that bum, what a loser!). We all know that appearance is not a true indication of character, intelligence, etc.....So what's the point of this?
Our organization (the SCA) needs new members to continue to grow and replace the people we lose. We often get only one shot at a demo/event to get people interested enough to follow-up. If we come across wrong we stand to lose new members. How can we come across wrong? I won't dive into the social aspects just the basic visual clues. Your average bystander watching the fighting at an event/demo will not be able to tell that your 12th century helm does not fit in with your 14th century vambraces. And most of them can't describe the colors on your shield in heraldic terms. But they can spot that swoosh symbol on your footwear or those old Levi 501's from a 100 yards away. And a lot of times that's all it takes to lose credibility in a spectator's mind. When we are in the public's eye we need to think about adding the flash and color and spectacle that people want and expect.
What can you do to spiff up your armor? Lose the obvious plastic for starters. You could clean and polish it, or if that is too much like work how about a simple mantle and torse for your helm? Cut a whole for your head and neck in the middle of a cloth rectangle and wham, instant tabard. Or go all the way and sew up a parti-colored dagged cyclas surcoat. SCA combat is great to participate in, lets try and do our part to make it just as wonderful for the spectators to watch.