[Welcome to Weekly Whimsy! Forfeiting fidelity to family (for a moment) in favor of fans and far-fetched dreams.]
Look into my eyes - you will see
What you mean to me
Search your heart - search your soul
And when you find me there you'll search no more
Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for
You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for
You know it's true
Everything I do - I do it for you - Bryan Adams, Everything I Do, I Do It For You
As most of you know, Ron put FTW in hiatus earlier this week. Many tributes and accolades have been made, many thanks have been said, and many comments posted about the great wealth Ron bestowed to the wargaming community. A great number of wiser, more eloquent and better spoken friends and fans have had deep words of respect and admiration for a man who put a heartbreaking amount of work into making our gaming lives all the better.
Ron has spoken very passionately and honestly about his rationale for hanging up the ropes, and trying something different. It's honestly quite refreshing to see a man value his family this much and actually put words to action and do something to better his family situation, rather than just pay lip service to it.
Locally, there's a gentleman who stepped away from gaming for a time to better focus on family priorities despite being a much loved and respected member of the community. As much as it hurt our gaming community to lose this man (even for a short while), I wrote him privately; telling him how much I respected him for doing what he felt needed doing in order to be faithful to his family first. This guy is a strong and devoted Christian, and I wrote to him as a passionate sister, reminding him that his servant hood to his family would be rewarded and redeemed; and that it moved to me to see him honoring his wife and children so highly.
Our local friend has returned to gaming- but on his terms and with his family's blessing. It appears that Ron is investigating ways to continue to be active with FTW; and even if not, he has his new site and has made several comments that he's very excited to be a 'regular member of the community'- just reading blogs and being part of the wargaming collective, rather than the Fearless Leader.
As a wife, I understand and admire this particular attitude very highly. I'm certainly wistful and have some regret that Ron will not be leading the charge, or at the forefront of our community as much or frequently as in the past. But I know very keenly what it is to compete with games, gaming, and a huge community for the attention of a husband - and how hard it is.
I'm not a 'gaming widow'- I actively game! I have 2 regular games I play in, and I'm at the store 3-4 times a week. Some weeks, I'm there every day for one reason or another- running the place does take a lot of time and effort.
The majority of that work falls on TheDude. He works 7 days a week, though on Mondays I come in after work and he goes home early. (I also help every 2 Saturdays a month.) He's there to receive inventory, to talk to distributors while placing orders, he's there to stock the refrigerator with snacks, to put away terrain, to price and display merchandise, to finagle the Facebook page and send emails to customers regarding orders. He's there to open the doors, and to close up shop- and everything in between.
He's there to help new gamers find things they might like, and discover games for the advanced players that they've never seen or tried. He's there to run two Friday Night Magic events every Friday, and he's there to preside over our quieter evenings as well.
We have a large, growing community, and TheDude is there to work hard to make sure 'everyone gets to play'. He's there to enforce our culture of friendship, camaraderie and casual play.TheDude has put a lot of time and effort into the store- and it shows. We've grown (with a huge thanks to our wonderful Mafia!) and the community is flourishing. But all that work is tiring. It takes a huge amount of personal investment. It takes a huge amount out of TheDude daily- and this is a physical building, with open and shut hours.
Someone made the comment that we're "living the dream". They were right; we ARE living out our dream; and we're being richly rewarded. It's still a lot of work.
I can only imagine the kind of intense commitment and effort it must have taken Ron to run FTW- a 24/7 blogging powerhouse, read by thousands and disseminated across the world without regard to language or culture. If it had to do with 40K, FTW was there in one way or another. I cannot even begin to comprehend the literal work that must have been required to keep the site user friendly, relevant, and most of all, PG.
Ron has said it was his dream to be a resource for players everywhere- for the site to be the tool everyone reached for right away. I know that he accomplished it on my level. I looked up invariable articles there, and his site was the inspiration point for my "40K For Beginners" page index. If I represent even a small percentage of his readership, I know Ron had immense reach and was accomplishing his dream.
But at what price?
I know that had to be on his mind when he decided to take a well-deserved break.
To all of you that work in some way to enhance the gaming community- whether in a blog, at a store, through a zine, tutorials, thought provoking (or head scratching) essays, through silly action figures or through simply hanging with your buddies in your basement:
It needs to be said now; often, and loudly.
Thank you for making our hobby so great. Thank you for reaching past your inner geek and getting out there in some way to reach others in the community. Thank you for bringing whatever it is you bring- fearless sarcasm, or jovial friendship. Regardless of what you offer, you're bringing something wonderful to the table.
Don't let anyone judge you for "only" updating twice a week. Don't let anyone hassle you for "not being serious". Don't take any lip from anyone that does not live your life. Don't feel obligated to do any more than what works for you and your situation.
Each and every one of you is responsible to yourself, and you can do as much or as little as you find acceptable and within your life's parameters. Shrug and move on if you can't do any more. Don't feel bad if you want to do less.
Accepting that you're human and have limits can be a really humbling thing- but it's important to do before you don't have other humans around to be human with.
Be Well (and be human) ,