|Don Quixote fighting a windmill on his horse, Rocinante. In the background Sancho Panza next to his donkey.|
There was huge contrast between these spontaneous, loosely organized games and what has come to be called "organized sports." When my own children began to play games, such as baseball, they were regimented into a situation where you had to play by the "rules." If there were ever any doubt about what the rules were, there was always someone there with an "official rule book" to resolve any disputes. The main difference was the involvement of the parents (adults) in "supervising" the play.
From my own perspective, it seemed that the organized sports were run primarily for reasons known only to the parents sitting on the sidelines. Especially in the beginning with T-ball for the newest Little Leaguers, most of the children playing on the field only had the vaguest idea of what baseball was all about. I can seriously say that I had a lot more fun and enjoyment from playing capture the flag than I ever did participating in organized sports.
Going up against the bastions of organized sports, especially on the college/university or even at the professional level is like poor Don Quixote tilting at windmills. So who calls the rules for the genealogical community? Who wrote the book and when did I agree to play by the rules of the game?
In this regard, there is an interesting quote from the book of the Doctrine and Covenants of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It says at Section 129:39:
We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.What is meant by "unrighteous dominion?" In my terms, it means that those who perceive themselves to be in "authority' start to play the game by their own rules. They want to be the "king of the hill."
Don't misunderstand what I am saying. I am not an anarchist. I do not espouse chaos. What I am saying is that genealogy is no different that any other organized activity, there will always be those who believe that they are the ones who are entitled to call the rules. I think to some extent, I am still back there playing capture the flag. I know there are rules out there somewhere, but the game is a lot more fun if the rules aren't too restrictive and you can make up some of them as you go along.
I am afraid that too many of those who are initially attracted to investigating their family history, get introduced to the rules so quickly that they lose interest. The game just isn't any fun if you don't know how to play by the rules, especially when it seems that everyone you talk to has a different set of those rules. So far, in my thirty plus years of genealogy, I have yet to see the rule book. Maybe there isn't one?