Thursday, October 25, 2012

On This St. Crispian's Day


Highland Games is a small community, international though it may be. Tight knit and foul mouthed, we share something that was best described by The Bard, and best preformed by Kenneth Branagh more than a score of years past as Henry V in his St. Cripsin's Day speech.

The entirety of the speech is littered with historical and battle field references, but it is the few below that speak most strongly of what I am attempting to define for the uninitiated.

"The fewer men, the greater share of honour."

Not everyone can we do what we do, and many hold themselves back for fear of failure, or worse still for fear of looking foolish. Donning a kilt to throw sticks and rocks will never carry a lot of glory to those that haven't done it, for those that have medaling at one of the Big Shows is an honour.

“He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say “To-morrow is Saint Crispian.”
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say “These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.”

Should we ever get old and grey enough to throw no longer, some never do, we will have some stories to tell of the crazy goings on with the Iron Thistle, the stupid stone and that one time at Pleasanton. Names that will forever make you smile in fond memory when they fall off your tongue to tell some new kid about the occasion when...

Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day.

Callused hands, iced backs, ART bills may fade, but the memory and limps remains. Experience will temper our humor, and allow us to smile when the “Next Big Deal” comes in full of swagger. Shared looks of understanding will pass round and slow grins of old age and treachery will abound.

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,

Coming from a large family, and a small school, a sense of belonging is paramount to me. No community has been so warm and welcoming as the Gamers I have encountered. Distance and language have been no barrier, fellowship has been extended at every turn. Graciously accepting me as one of the family since day one, folks have opened their homes and ,most importantly, their vast wealth of information without reservation. Much talk has been had while much iron has been moved, and though we may not have solved all the world’s ills we built something. Hours on the field are never wasted, no matter how many blisters and calluses they bring. Clan has a whole new meaning for me these days.

This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Damn right.

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