Pentathlon Myths

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The Myths of Pentathlon

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away…….no wait…wrong time period. Let me start again…Once upon a time in AS XII, when Caid was a young Kingdom, a group of people decided that an event should be created to foster excellence in the Arts and Sciences in this Kingdom. Thus was born the Caid Arts and Sciences Faire and Pentathlon. Through the years this event has evolved and grown to become the two-day event it is today. As the Event Steward I took it upon myself to ask the populace “So tell me what you think about Pentathlon?” And the populace told me, and told me, and told me what they thought and then told me some more. The moral is, be careful what you ask for…you just might get it.

However, in listening to what everyone had to say, I realized that there were a few misconceptions that I felt needed addressing. Caid Arts and Sciences Faire and Pentathlon, most commonly referred to as “Pentathlon” is a most interesting Kingdom Level Event. I do not think any other Kingdom event engenders such strong feelings, both positive and negative, and anxiety, outside of possibly Crown Tournament. However, when you think about it, it really is not surprising. A Heavy Weapons Fighter will practice tirelessly for months and even years in order to reach a level where he feels confident enough to enter Crown. The artisans, and please note as far as I am concerned, anyone who enters the Caid Arts and Sciences Faire and Pentathlon, is an artisan, pour their hearts and souls into the research and crafting of their works of art for months and years as well before taking that leap of faith and entering “Pentathlon.” It’s no wonder people feel so strongly about this event! You are not only displaying what you have wrought but you are asking for a group of people (i.e., the judges) to tell you what they think of what you did. All who enter are to be applauded and commended.

However, I believe I digress. My intent here is to clear misconceptions and hopefully allay the fears of those who have never entered. I would also like to say here and now that my staff and I are committed to do all that is possible to make this event as “user friendly” as possible. To that end…let us address the most prominent and persistent Pentathlon Myths.

Myth #1: I need to make at least 5 items in order to participate!

Let me assure you that this is most persistent myth is most certainly NOT TRUE!

Please recall, what I said above, this event came into being as a vehicle to foster the Arts and Sciences in Caid. Hence why it is called the Caid Arts and Sciences Faire and Pentathlon! The Populace and the Judges want to see what you’ve made! Really!

So please note, you only need to enter a minimum of 5 items if you are participating in the “Pentathlon” portion of the event. Otherwise, you can enter one or two items in any category(ies) of your choice.

Of course for our more prolific artisans you can enter up to 10 items in no less than 4 categories and increase your chances at becoming the Pentathlon champion as your five highest scores over 4 categories will be used. And trust me I know people who do just that!!!

Myth #2: A Novice will never win Pentathlon (or Only Laurel’s win) so why should I enter?

Let me tell you that the reason you should enter is because this is absolutely, categorically, unequivocally BUNK!

In fact, based on my own personal search of the Order of Precedence, in the entire history of the Caid Arts and Sciences Fair and Pentathlon a Laurel has won only 3 times.

And just to further debunk this myth, may I add that the last two Arts and Sciences Pentathlon Champions have been novices, that is, first time entrants. Caid Arts and Sciences Faire and Pentathlon actually has a “Novice Prize” awarded to the high scoring first time enterant, which has not been awarded the past two competitions because the highest scoring “Novice” has won Pentathlon!

Truth be told, anyone can become the Arts and Sciences Pentathlon Champion and there is added incentive this time around as the next Pentathlon Champion will also become the Kingdom Arts and Sciences Champion.

Myth #3: The Judging is skewed so only an Artisan will win Pentathlon!

This is basically Myth #2 with a twist and also not true.

Please know that all entries to the Caid Arts and Sciences Faire and Pentathlon are judged against “the ideal” and not against each other.

So you are a journeyman brewer and have brewed a basic honey mead and there are 7 other honey meads in your category. You are not in competition against the other 6 honey meads, rather you are being judged against what the “ideal” mead should be. This means that there could potentially be more than 1 mead that high scores in the journeyman honey mead category and win.

You will not be judged against the artisans nor will the novices be judged against you. Each of you will be judged against what is the ideal in your level.

Myth #4: My documentation needs to practically be a doctoral dissertation!

This is most certainly also not true, if for no other reason than because the judges do not have the time to read doctoral theses the day the items are judged.

However, by the same token this is true if you are entering the “Research Paper” category and even that does not need to be a thesis either. And for all intents and purposes your research paper itself is your documentation.

Please refer to the General Rules for Pentathlon for the rules governing Research Papers and documentation for futher clarification.

If you are unclear, please, please feel free to email me and I will do my best to clarify any confusion you may still have.

We are currently working on providing clearer information about what your documentation should contain, please check the Pentathlon Documentation website under the Kingdom A&S Page for further information.

Myth #5: The Judges are mean and out to get me! (or some variation thereof)

Let me assure you that this is most certainly untrue!

Please know that the judges, like you, are artisans themselves and understand the artisan soul.

After having spoken to several past judges, I find that judges take their responsibilities very seriously and many times agonize over the feedback they give the entrants. They want to give constructive information where needed to help you with your chosen art.

They really are not there to beat you down to a pulp. This benefits no one. They are there as volunteers because they want to see what beautiful things you have made.

They are there to be “WOWed” so get out there and WOW them!!!

Myth #6: I can make one item and enter it in two categories

Unfortunately, this is also untrue.

For example, let us say your cups of tea are costuming and tablet weaving. Both of these “classes” fall under the category “Fiber Arts.” Now you have hand sewn this 12th Century T-tunic and you have decorated it with tablet weaving you have hand woven yourself. So you think, heck I can kill two birds with one stone!

Sorry no can do. You will have to decide whether you are going to enter that really spiff T-tunic under “Costume Construction” or Weaving: Tablet or Card weaving.

Now what you can do is enter that spiffy T-tunic and enter it under Costume Construction and then separately weave a lovely piece of tablet weaving and enter it under Weaving: Tablet or Card Weaving. This is not a problem.

Please note that we do not do this to be meanies, but because we just do not have the volunteers to run items back and forth from the different judging areas. Also, scheduling the judging to work around entries that could need to be in two places at once would a logistical nightmare.

Myth #7: I can bring my item(s) on the day of the event and enter.

Unfortunately, yet again, no you may not!

There is a reason why we have a pre-registration deadline. You are taking the time to craft your entries and we are in turn trying to schedule the best qualified judges to judge your entry and give you adequate feedback.

For example, you send in your pre-registration and tell the Entry Steward that you are entering the following items:

  • Level: Apprentice – Category: Visual Arts – Class: Illumination – Item: Illuminated Scroll
  • Level: Journeyman – Category: Culinary Arts – Class: Brewing – Item: Raspberry Vinegar
  • Level: Journeyman – Category: Performance Arts – Class: Vocal Performance – Item: Cantiga from the Cantigas de Santa Maria
  • Level: Artisan – Category: Fiber Arts – Class: Costume Construction – Item: 13th Century Spanish Pellote
  • Level: Artisan – Category: Fiber Arts – Class: Hats – Item: 13th Century Spanish Toque

While you are working putting the finishing touches to your entries above and your supporting documentation, the Entry Steward is adding all your items to her ever growing list of entries broken down by categories and classes which in turn is forwarded to the Judging Steward as soon as possible.

Please also keep in mind that a good 80% of entry preregistrations arrive within days of the deadline.

Then the real fun starts.

The Entry Steward forwards her lovely list to the Judging Steward and thanks God she didn’t volunteer for that job!!! It is then the Judging steward’s job to 1) Rue the day she said yes to me and 2) Schedule judges to judge all the items entered in the Caid Arts and Sciences Faire and Pentathlon.

Needless to say not only do we have talented artisans entering but we also have multi-talented artisans judging!

So the Judge autocrat has to make it so Mistress Multitalentosa is able to judge the Illumination class and Hats…oh yeah…we forgot…she’s also knowledgeable in Paper making and we have a few entries in there and oh yeah…we forgot, her Laurel is in dyeing so we gotta make sure she can judge that class too ... you get the idea.

Oh yeah, did I mention she has to also coordinate so that Master Knowitall who is judging 3 categories of his own is scheduled so that he can judge the Illumination class at the same time as Mistress Multitalentosa?

Without the invaluable information provided to us in the pre-registration in advance, judging would be a logistical nightmare.

(I believe that my Judging Steward would actually disagree and say that the scheduling is a logistical nightmare and had she been of sound mind, would have run in the opposite direction when she saw me coming!)

Myth #8: I can enter an item I have entered before if I’ve fixed what was wrong.

Sorry, but no. That would be considered double dipping.

Whatever you choose to enter must have been completed between one Caid Arts and Sciences Faire and Pentathlon and the other.

It does not matter that you may have been working on your recreation of the Bayeux Tapestry for the past 15 years. You just need have finished it after the last Pentathlon and not ever have entered any element of it in a previous Caid Arts and Sciences Fair and Pentathlon.

Myth #9: I can have help with my Pentathlon entry.

Well, yes and no. Clear as mud? Thought so. Let me see if I can successfully clarify this.

If your entry is handspun wool, you have to have spun that wool yourself. Your Laurel, Mistress Ima Spinner cannot help you in any way to produce the wool you are spinning as your entry. She can critique what you have spun and advise what you can do to improve it, but you must do the work yourself.

Now, let us say that you are also working on your documentation and you are the world’s worst speller bar none! Then it would be acceptable to have Master Spellwright review your documentation for spelling errors and point them out to you. However, your documentation has to be completely your own words and your own work.

The point of this event is not to drive you crazy. The point is to further foster your love of spinning and in researching how wool was spun in period, better educate you in the subject you love so that you can then educate others and “enable” future spinners.

Myth #10: Entries are “bumped up” so that they can’t win!

Wrong again! Let me assure you again that the judges are not “out to get you!”

If you get bumped up a category, then it is because the judges believe you are that good and you are only going to get bumped if you are going to be awarded in the category you are being bumped into!

Again, please remember that the express intent and purpose of the Caid Arts and Sciences Faire and Pentathlon is to encourage and foster the Arts and Sciences.

A su servicio,

La Honrada Señora Madelena Hidalgo de Valencia
Event Steward, Caid Arts and Sciences Faire and Pentathlon

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