On Being a Marshal in Charge

On a non-substantive note, the word is spelled “marshallate.” We are “marshals.” “Martial” is an adjective. Or a Saint. Sorry, pet peeve.

  1. Go home and read the rules. Over and over again. Read the EK rules and the Society rules.
  2. Start double-checking on the enforcement of the rules at your practice. Get your people used to the fact that yes, we all have to follow the rules *as written.* If you want different rules, write to Aedan (the Society Marshal for Rapier) or go play in your backyard.
  3. Make sure your own gear and conduct is up to snuff. You can’t enforce the rules if you are slacking off on complying with them yourself.
  4. Write and report *everything* up the chain of command, both good and bad. Otherwise, the Regional and Kingdom Marshals will never be able to spot a pattern of bad behavior. Don’t rely entirely on the local marshal or marshal in charge to report – you may have seen something that they did not.

    Report good things too. If someone handled a difficult situation well, the good news should be shared.

  5. Learn to accept that confrontation happens. There is no warm, fuzzy, loveable way to throw someone out of a tourney. There are polite ways and impolite ways to do it, of course. But you can’t be worried about whether the person you are sanctioning is going to like you, because it is almost inevitable that they won’t (at least for some period of time) no matter how politely you try to handle things.

    If you don’t think you would ever be able to throw someone out, you should not be marshal in charge of an event. If you don’t think you’d be able to impose a sanction in a polite way, you should make sure you have back-up and someone to help you moderate the tone.

  6. Police your own. If someone at your practice or in your group is being an idiot, don’t just let it slide and assume someone else will catch it.
  7. Remember that you are a marshal even when you are fencing. This is particularly true in melees. If someone does something inappropriate, call a hold. Get names, tag numbers, something to identify the offender(s). Use the Marshal’s Court or similar venue. People can’t be sanctioned if they can’t be found or identified.
  8. If you are MIC of an event, remember that no one has the right to fence. If the misbehavior is widespread enough, there doesn’t even have to be fencing at the event at all. I may be particularly hard ass about this, but if people can’t be trusted to keep their control in melees, there is no reason why melees have to happen.
  9. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Better to make the call using your best judgment than to do nothing out of fear. Be prepared to explain why you thought what you did was reasonable under the circumstances. If you end up making a mistake, then apologize and make appropriate amends for it.
  10. Being a marshal is a job. It is not a rank or a privilege. It is not something you do to get a check mark in the box to move up in rank or get the shiny doo-dad. The job does not care about Crowns, coronets, scarves, OGRs or anything except the enforcement of the rules and the safety of the fencers. Jacques Newbie should get the same treatment on the field as Master Don Big Ego or Sir Not Appearing in this Film.