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Attitude is Everything

I would like to strive to be able to say I go into everything, laser tag included, with a good attitude...but I am an imperfect human being and sometimes this just isn't the case. However, with every day and every situation faced there is a new opportunity to learn and to try to do better. By the end of last night's laser tag marathon I had realized once again that attitude really is everything. This is the story of a bad attitude turned right, but I have to acknowledge where I started and how it went wrong first.

In hindsight I really shouldn't have been there at all last night. I had been under the weather this whole week, but I genuinely thought I was over the round of sickness that had me down since Monday night. After the first game I immediately realized that running around the arena was not a great idea as I felt a cold sweat breaking out that was quite different from the healthy feel I normally experience after getting a good workout. I knew then that I may have started out feeling a little better, but I was not yet feeling one hundred percent. However, I was already there and figured I'd play through it anyway. Plus, I refused to violate my number one rule of laser tag: make no excuses.

Now, going into the first game I felt fine. Ready for a comeback. A couple of the guys who are regulars there too played on my team and in that first round I felt like everything was on. We came out of the round and checked the monitor. My name was at the top. The guy I am now referring to as "Bhodi" (who edged me out every game last week and is now the one I consider my greatest competition in the arena) was on my team and was listed second. However, here's something interesting...we actually tied. Let's take a moment to examine what happens here in the case of a tie...

(crickets chirping)

...I genuinely don't know! And neither did the game master. I will speculate on what might have happened based on two previous games I was in where a tie occurred. Let's look at what happened in three games that all ended in ties.

Last night:


Previous tied game 1:


Previous tied game 2:


Of course someone has to be listed first on the board, even in a tie...the question is whether or not that positioning is random or not. "Bhodi" noticed that he was listed second even though his accuracy was better than mine (no surprise there...I shoot at everything and nothing), and it was interesting to observe that accuracy was not the tie breaker. To be sure I examined the other two example games and the accuracy was not a factor there either. So let's write that off as a consideration (accuracy is nice, but clearly only results matter). Then I figured that perhaps it had to do with alphabetical order. I played as Legend and he played as Rocket. Did that make a difference? Well, I'm not sure. (Side note - my thanks to the other player who always helps me make sure I find my favorite pack. Since I can't play as "Tivia" here like I do in other arenas I do like to play as Legend whenever possible.) In previous game 1 where I played as Hyper I came in ahead of the guy I tied with named Ace, so in that other instance alphabetical order did not factor. And in previous game 2 I was also playing as Legend and was listed ahead of Predator, but if alphabetical order doesn't hold as the constant then that could have just been a coincidence. Then I thought perhaps team placement was the determining factor. In previous games 1 and 2 my team scored higher in total than the team of the player I tied with. In the case of last night's game, we were both playing on the red team and our team (by virtue of less players, not lack of ability) collectively came in second to one with an abundance of players (one reason I generally put no stock in team placement). So...a tie on the same team means back to alphabetical? I simply don't know. Maybe. Or maybe it's completely random. Or maybe the system is inherently chivalrous to the lady - just kidding :) I'll just say that for the first game we shared the win and that I've probably put way more thought into the mechanics of the scoring process than anyone else in that arena.

So, the first game was successful...but, man, did it drain me! By the time the second game came around I was starting to feel my attitude turning south. I simply didn't feel like being there any longer, but I had driven over an hour and paid for the full night, so I carried on. That game..."Bhodi" beat me. Game after that..."Bhodi" beat me. Just like last week! And again, I'm coming in second each time, so it's not like I'm missing it by much, but with every game played I felt my attitude growing worse and worse. Yes, I did offer my congratulations each time (sportsmanship is always important), but I felt lousy physically and I was starting to feel lousy mentally. By the middle of the night I just wanted to go home (and I even verbalized this to another player during one of the games), but damn pride kept me going as in my head I said to myself "I cannot go through another blowout like last week, I'm NOT leaving here until I have won again" (apparently the tie at the beginning didn't satiate my competitive nature). As I type this in the clear light of morning I of course recognize how stupid that was. And with each game where I came close, but missed the mark I found myself growing more and more irritated...not truly at the result, but rather because I was too stubborn and couldn't let myself off the hook to just call it a night early.

Interestingly enough, the wrong attitude can diminish a win just as quickly as it can exacerbate a loss. I'm not calling anyone out, but I will say there were moments of a mildly hostile vibe going on in the arena at times (just heavily competitive? Maybe...but no). And the attitude needs to be right or it can sap the joy out of the fun and momentum of the moment for the individual and the team in any instance. That's my "the more you know" observation from the other side of the coin. At this point I think it's worth sharing the tenets I've learned through my study of the martial arts...self confidence, respect, integrity, perseverance, self-control, courage, humility and discipline...sir!

By the sixth game of the night I was so ready to just be done that I exerted every bit of energy I had. Thankfully, that one paid off. I took the top score at last (and in a round where the game master even jumped in to play too...bonus) and at that point I would have, could have and should have just said "thank you and good night"...but I didn't. And the only reason I didn't was that I was within just a few points from earning another one of those silly South Park figures in the arcade and decided to stick it out long enough to get the points to put me over the top (and even as I write that last sentence I have to wonder where the marketing executive-business woman that I am all week long goes to when I take these little excursions from reality on the weekend). So, I hung out a little longer until the next game was called and as that happened the thought flying through my head was "damn, I have to go try and do that again"...get the picture about how lousy my attitude was? Even coming off a win didn't help turn my mind around.

I lost that game. I try not to think of missing the mark as a "loss", but in truth I had already lost it in my head and only played with half my heart. Honestly, I walked half of it. That's not an excuse, it's just the truth of how little I had in me that round. What was even the point in staying to do that? I think I came in third...I might have even been fourth. I don't know and I genuinely didn't care. Then I gave myself a little talking to about how attitude matters. Thankfully, I got my head right, just in time.

The last game of the night was different. Not just for me...I could tell that there was a collective change in attitude by then. At least I feel like it was collective, however once you change your own head space maybe the world just looks brighter regardless of whether anything else is different at all. After deciding to play it out to the very end I reminded myself that this hobby is for fun and if I'm going to be there at all I really just need to bring my best self regardless of how I feel or where I place. A moment to make the decision to be positive was something I could have benefitted from earlier, but better late than never. That holds true in all aspects of life.

To me, this final game was really the first game of the night where I felt like I was playing on a team that actually acted like a team and I wanted to be part of that. "Bhodi" took the lead on calling out a quick strategy plan. Those of us who were versed in it followed the maneuver and by mid-game I felt the way I wish I had all night. I was playing hard (last round, nothing to hold back) and I was watching my teammates' backs, calling out warnings and heads up on opponents trying to approach, while generally feeling like I too had allies again. Now, it may just be a matter of my own perception at that point, but that's the way we should all strive to play every game. Teamwork is great. Supporting one another in achieving a common goal is how this game works best. You don't always get that, but when you do the experience can be wonderful. That's what I felt coming out of that final round. Then we looked at the monitor. The team had collectively won, but as far as scores I was once again second to "Bhodi"...and for the first time that night I was totally fine with that. My attitude by the end was good, I left on a positive note...and, trite as it was, I had enough points to take home a little reminder of how much a good attitude matters...


On South Park they always say "they killed Kenny"...but Kenny will be my reminder that "they" can't kill you...only if you bring the wrong attitude in to begin with can you be sunk. Remember to make that space between your ears a positive place and you will feel like a winner no matter what because the final outcome is only a small part of it, while the attitude you bring really is everything.

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