From the ashes rose the phoenix

In January of 2020, I was a lonely man. I was six months removed from an 11-year career coaching American Football as I was spending too much time doing that and not enough time with my family. What I hadn’t realized was how much of my social life was wrapped up in that past time. Seeing my fellow coaches and athletes three times a week was a large part of my social life and since ‘retiring’ I had barely had any non-family, non-work related social contact. Something needed to be done.

In my teenage years, I had collected Warhammer Fantasy. When I was around 13 I found myself in a Games Workshop in York, no doubt attracted by the large cardboard cut out they had of a Blood Angel in the doorway. I remember talking to an employee about the hobby and eventually bought a set of combat cards, probably because I could afford little else. I played the cards on the train home to my heart’s content.

A little while later I discovered that there was a Games Workshop in my home town. This was wonderful news and quickly became a haunt for me and my friend who I’d persuaded that games workshop was a good thing. I eventually got a copy of the 4th edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battles starter set. I assembled and painted, very badly, both armies in the box and tried to rope my brother into playing with me. I also attempted to build up a small Skaven force with the idea that this would become my main army.

However, it was not to be. By the time I was 15 I was pursuing other interests (namely drink, drugs, and girls. The success rate at obtaining these varied greatly) and had jacked in collecting and painting models. In the intervening years between giving up as a teenager and now, I had kept up with Games Workshop lore.

I have always been a video gamer, ever since my dad brought home a Spectrum 48K from work. He let me stay up late that night playing a space invader clone and from then on I was hooked. That moment meant so much to me I’ve commemorated it in ink on my left arm. Being a gamer gave me another avenue to enjoy games workshop products. In 2003 Relic released an RTS game called ‘Dawn of War’. I was in university at the time and absolutely loved it and still think it’s one of the best Games Workshop video games to this day. The video games had kept my int rest in Games Workshop and turned me to the 40K universe.

So, that brings us back to January and me facing my dilemma. What was I going to do to socially interact with people outside of my office and my home? I had a genius idea of going back to Games Workshop, but this time I was going to get into 40k. So after January’s payday, I went down to Games Workshop, picked up a start collecting Space Marines box set and I was back in the hobby.

It seems Papa Nurgle didn’t want me to have a social life though as the global pandemic hit just as I was getting my models assembled. I still haven’t played a game of 40K, Kill Team, or Warcry yet despite my best efforts. However, after discovering Waynes discord, hanging out with my fellow podcasters, and painting mini’s, I’ve fallen hard for this hobby. I didn’t think I’d enjoy painting models as much as I have done, but its been fantastic and has also been fantastic for my mental health. Having time to paint, think and hang out has been a Rubicon in the jungle of COVID anxiety.

I’m so glad I’ve re-discovered this hobby