Article by Nicaize Maupetit by request.
Minister of the List or List Coordinator
(aka List Mistress)
During SCA martial competitions, this is the person who keeps tracks of the fight pairings, win/loss records, and ultimately the winner of the tournament is the List Coordinator.
Within the SCA, this role has also historically often been known as the “List Mistress.” However, due to the gendered nature of that term, as well as the connotations of the term “Mistress” when referring to peers, that terminology is used less often.
The Minister of the List is responsible for:
- Signing in the fighters who want to compete in the tournament
- Advising the martial in charge regarding format of the tournament
- Creating pairing of fighters, as well as the order of the fights
- Recording the results of the fights
- Determining the winner of the tournament
The Minister of the List is not acting as an authorized marshal for the field and is not directly responsible for monitoring the safety of the fighters during the tournament. They are also not responsible in judging the victor of a fight or tournament, but recording the outcomes of the fights, as determined by the combatants.
This job has been commonly performed by many people who are not themselves fighters, though there is nothing which precludes fighters from performing this job if they themselves are not in the tournament in question. Many of the recipients of The Little White Scarf have been extremely active Ministers of the List, specifically for rapier tournaments, including the Queen’s Champion and Rose Tournaments.
The Ministers of the List work in conjunction with the List Heralds to provide them with the List Books, which contain the cards for the upcoming pairings. The List Heralds will announce the upcoming pairings and will provide the fighter cards to the victor of the bout. The victor is then responsible for returning the cards to the List Table, where the Ministers are seated, and reporting the outcome.
Example of a Blank List Card
Example of a Completed List Card:
A Few Notes:
The number is assigned to each fighter to make tracking pairing easier. When referring to a fighter on another card, always use the fighter number instead of the name for speed and clarity.
Document the home group of the fighter in order to ensure the fighters are given opportunities to fight outside of their home group, if appropriate for the tournament.
In each round, the Minister of the List, will first document the pairing. In this example:
First round, Fighter #23 will encount Fighter #4. Fighter #4 will have the number 23 in the corresponding spot on their card.
#23 beat #4, so upon completion of their fight, the Minister of the List documents the win on #23’s card. #4’s card would have a L (loss) in corresponding spot on their card.
Second round, #23 encounters #62 and lost. This is documented in the next column.
This is a double elimination tournament, so after the 3rd round, our fighter John Doe has 2 losses and is now out of this tournament.
Some tournaments have sponsors; this gets documented on the card in order for the Heralds to be able to announce the sponsor.
Relationships are documented on their cards so that pairing between teachers/students, or familial relationships can be avoided, if appropriate for the tournament.
The complexity of the job is highly dependent on the format of the tournament and the size of the field. Common tournament formats which require a Minister of the List include single elimination, double elimination, swiss 5, and round robin. Bear pit style tournaments require simplified tracking, since no pairings are recorded, merely tracking the number of bouts won.
For some particularly high attendance tournaments, Ministers of the List have moved towards online signup ahead of time, which streamlines the signin process the day of the tournament and allows them to create the List Cards ahead of time. This also enables qualification for the Tournament to be validated ahead of time. For example, Crown Tournament requires the seneschal to verify membership and authorizations of all combatants. Queen’s Champion and the Rose Tournament at Gulf Wars have both made extensive use of online signup in recent years.