By: Magistra Nicolaa de Bracton
Editor-in-Chief, the Pennsic Independant
A field. A head of cabbage. Two teams of five women—one designated the Helgas, the other, the Olgas. The objective: Move the cabbage past the goal line without touching it with your hands. You may carry it in your apron or dress, run with it, or pass it to teammates. Each time a goal is scored, a volunteer will shout “Helga ball!” or “Olga ball!” depending on who scored the goal. This is Helga Ball, a bit of a mix between soccer and rugby, and tomorrow at 12:30 pm on the Main Battlefield, teams will be vying for the crown of champion of the first Helga Ball Tournament to be held at Pennsic.
Organizers Maighstir Liam MacantSaoir and Baroness Constance Glyn Dwr, their household Clann Crann Bethadh, and the Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands are the sponsors of the tourney. “This is the first Helga Ball tournament at Pennsic that we know of, “ said Maighstir Liam, “but it’s been played at other SCA events, including a tournament at Estrella War.” So far, seven teams have signed up, with the mercenary household Black Talon being the first, but there is no requirement to preregister—teams of five women may sign up at the list table tomorrow. Those without teams who wish to play may also show up and perhaps assemble a team of others in the same situation. A number of volunteers will also be assisting as referees.
Participants and observers are also encouraged to bring toiletries to donate to Paladin’s Pantry. “Financially insecure families that use the food bank can often not afford other items needed for daily living, including soaps, shampoos, feminine hygiene products, and toilet paper,” said Maighstir Liam. Donations at the tourney “will help fill the gap for these families.”
The victorious team will not only earn bragging rights as the first Helga Ball champion of Pennsic, but will also receive an award. So come out, put together a team or cheer for your favorites, and witness what might just be a new Pennsic tradition