“Be honorable yourself if you wish to associate with honorable people.” ~Proverb
Sitting in the front row of every scored Tournament for Heavy Weapons, Fencing, or Equestrian activities is a person with a clipboard making sure that the rules are followed, the scoring is honest, and that everyone that came to fight that day gets onto the field. These are your Ministers of the List, typically referred to as the MOL.
The MOL is a warranted position, like a Marshal, so membership in SCA, Inc. is required to act as an MOL. There is no membership requirement to be in the training (MOLlet) program, but you would need a membership to become warranted. Warrants expire concurrently with your membership, so you would update your warrant information with the Kingdom MOL when you renewed your membership.
The value of having a dedicated group of people to do this is manifold:
Before an event, the Marshal in Charge works with the MOL to review the kind of tournament that they wish to run. The MOL can also assist in planning out a tournament by offering suggestions for format, including alternate plans that can be deployed if the number of anticipated fighters changes.
During the planning phase of the event is also when it is most helpful to the MOL to know just how many people they will need the day of the event so that everyone may arrive prepared and ready to go for the tournament(s) that day.
The day of a tournament, it frees up the Marshals to conduct inspections and run the tournament. It also ensures that the business of reviewing authorization credentials and providing authorization paperwork is conducted enough before the tournament so that the fighters can then focus on their pre-game activities.
What does an MOL do?
Before the tournament, the MOL may work with the Marshal in Charge (MIC) to determine the best format for the estimated number of fighters, if the MIC isn’t sure what kind of format they would like to run. The general preference is for the MOL to be engaged before the event is bid as a regular part of the event staff. Often, though, MOLs will be contacted after the event is bid and the MIC will have an idea of what kind of tournament they would like to run. You would then work with them to see what they are able to provide for you – usually a table, cover of some variety, and a chair – and what time they would like the tournament(s) to happen.
The day of the event, the MOL checks in fighters by viewing/confirming their authorization is current and to score the tournament. Tournament is used very broadly here, it can be anything from a simple bear pit to a double-elimination tournament. It doesn’t have to be Crown to be a tournament.
During the tournament, the primary job of an MOL is to keep score and help keep things moving. The MOL will then provide a list of winners based on what criteria has been determined for winning. The MIC is usually the one that announces the winners in court.
MOL is a job that requires focus and fairness. It’s the MOL’s job to make sure that the score is correct and the correct person is announced as winner. It just takes time to understand how to score a variety of formats. The focus of training is to make sure that you are comfortable with the scoring.
How do I become an MOL?
First, contact your local MOL or the Kingdom MOL to arrange a couple of visits to a table at a tournament. This will give you a better idea of what is involved and what you can expect. If you see that being an MOL is as awesome as it sounds, then you would arrange to become a MOLlet and work with a mentor to learn how to sign fighters in, check authorizations, and score the main tournament formats:
● Round Robin
● Bear Pit
This is done using on-the-job training and, if needed, a mock tournament can be held to run infrequently-used formats like double-elimination. There are also some online resources that you can use to learn/refresh your memory on how to run a variety of tournaments.
If you aren’t sure if this is something that you’d enjoy doing, please contact the Kingdom MOL, Odriana (firstname.lastname@example.org), and she will help you find a table to join so you can see what being an MOL looks like in action and see if it’s the right fit for you.