Life is Graded on Participation

As mentioned before, I was a medieval reenactment fighter (SCA).  I was super bad at it, too.


Me in armor

How bad? In ten years of fighting, the farthest I ever made it in a double elimination tournament was three rounds.  For comparison,  an eggplant with a sword taped to it will automatically last two rounds in a double-elim.


My worthy opponent

Oh, and I won a tournament where, unbeknownst to the participants, the prize went to the fighter who lost the most.  True story. I had to fight it off with another dude who had also not won any fights.  He beat me.


Also my armor was never in good repair. Ever.

However, if you are not actively watching me swing a stick at another dude, the words “I was a medieval reenactment fighter” result in mad respect and “WOAH SHE FIGHTS WITH SWORDS I BET YOU KICK BUTT.”

Regardless of how badly I fight, casual observers see me as exactly the same as Duke Sir Hotstick, Champion of the World.

For those unfamiliar with the SCA, this is a Tree-Weilding Atlantian Duke (TM)

Tree-Weilding Atlantian Duke (TM)

All the layperson cares about is: I participated.

Likewise with football. I’ll tell you straight out: I was third string benchwarmer special teams. One time, the coach didn’t even put me on the depth chart at all!  Actually that was THREE GAMES IN A ROW.

I stink at football.


But, as far as my friends are concerned, I might as well be Joe Haden. [Google him, non-football fans.  It isn’t all about quarterbacks, you know.]


All they see is: I’m out there.

Look how far you get in life, how much joy and acceptance you get JUST FOR PARTICIPATING.  That’s why I do so many things I’m not good at.

It took time for me to get over that innate fear, that voice that says one should only do what one excels at.  That silly lying voice that thinks other people give a damn if you look silly.  The only way I do anything at all is by letting myself look stupid.

Yet, friends say, “Oh I could never do what you do!”

Really? REALLY? Because look who can:


That’s right. Sir Aubergine.

What are you not participating in because you’re not good at it? DO IT. Life is graded on participation only.


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