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Tag All Weekend and the Return of the Ducks

I started on Thursday night in Albany and then didn't stop, returning to Syracuse area on Friday and Saturday . For me Friday was marginal, So I'm tempted to skip right over to Saturday which was awesome, but I should at least make a passing note about Friday. I've had a wicked sore throat recently (I was seen by a doctor and am not currently sick, but I have had almost no voice and this throat pain for almost two weeks). So Friday night I was not in the best of moods because of that, but I wasn't going to let that slow me down. Nope...instead I let coming in second all night slow me down. Sheesh. Now, I was coming in second to Joe and I actually have great respect for his playing skills. He has gotten to be a very impressive player, but anyone who knows me knows I hate to be in the "runner-up" spot, especially when it's close. But all night long he was just a step ahead when it came to scores. Until the end of the evening when two interesting things happened.

Jared made quite a show out of telling him in front of the group that he was "not going to come in first this game". Well, call it coincidence (or not), but that game a young boy ended up with a pack that "malfunctioned" in an unusual way and a few of us realized pretty quickly that he had permanent invulnerability with that pack. And the kid knew it too :) So he had a wonderful time using that against everyone in the arena and, true to Jared's word, Joe did not come in first...the invulnerable pack was at the top of the scoreboard. At the end of the night the kid and I had a little standoff in the vesting room because I wanted to know which pack had the issue and he wanted to hide it so he could use it again next game. I said "I have a car, I can wait this out longer" and he giggled and went on his way, allowing me a moment to check out the pack. Jared watched me and wondered aloud why I was so interested in this pack and when I explained he said "Ha...and I didn't even tamper with it!" So...take that for what you will, coincidence or...whatever. But the pack was taken out of the mix before the next game.

Then Jared challenged Joe to come in last place. Not quite sure what was up with those guys, but Joe took the challenge and did absolutely nothing but walk around in the open without trying to score a single point. Frankly, it was a waste of time and a waste of a game. At the end I told him "Although losing to you irritates the hell out of me...what was that about?" That may have been sharper than intended at that point in the evening, but we all know and have better respect for a hard fought game, so Friday just ended on a soft, tired note. However, Saturday was a whole different animal.

I had not expected to be able to play on Saturday because of work schedule, but a last minute change freed up my night after all, so I returned. Joe wasn't around when I arrived for the first game, but who was? Almost 20 fully grown men...young, athletic and solid and ready to play...and I knew I was about to mop the floor :) After having come in second all of the night before my resolve was strong. Hell hath no fury like this chick after a second place slump! And these men didn't know what hit them. It was THE BEST GAME because not only was I on fire, but for anyone who looked at this group of guys going in you would have thought my coming out on top was defying all odds. But that's what lit the fire and started out an excellent night.

Unfortunately, those guys only let this girl have her fun for one game. They all left after that and the next game was just an average Saturday night mix. It was an easy second win. Then when I exited the arena and returned to the game room I saw Joe and Tyler...the return of the ducks! I'm referring to those little Jim Jim ducks from the first night I ever played with those guys. We used to play together every weekend, but t has been months since I've seen Tyler there, so this was a treat to get to play with them together. We went in as a team for the first game and it was a little nostalgic playing "like the old days". It gelled right away and I felt like I was on the same wavelength with these two other players. And ok, I came in second to Joe again, but my attitude about it was way different in this Saturday setting. Again, respect that he has the skills. They were hard won. There was a time when I was winning every game and these guys used to look out for me and always make sure I got to play with my favorite pack, Legend. Well, harkening back to the old days Tyler found the pack first and offered it to me, but I told him that now that pack goes to Joe..."the politics have changed"...although it was cool he found it for me and I didn't even mind that I now defer that one to somebody else.

It was a great night playing with worthy competition. Between the three of us the challenges were set, the games were played hard and the points were close. It was almost the best night ever, marred only slightly for a moment by one random girl with a bad attitude. Now somewhere around the 5th or 6th game as I was trying to take out a heavily guarded base a young "lady" (older teenager, possibly very young adult) quite literally got in my face and in my space, shoving me with her phaser and physically pushing me toward the base exit. As I reminded her that physical contact is not allowed she responded with more immaturity, calling me a nasty name and told me that I was making it so it wasn't fun. Excuse me?! There were four or five of her team guarding on that base and she's coming after me for taking a shot at breaking the stronghold by myself? If she's not having fun I'll just suggest that this young woman might want to consider growing up and learning to play the game better...then she might have more fun. I do take the game seriously, but I am also a nice person, so I really find nonsense like that unnecessary. I chose to vacate simply to end it with her there because it was too stupid a situation to handle any other way. I told her "go get your base", but I must say from that point on I held back nothing when we crossed paths during the rest of that game. And I'll also say that from my vantage point I don't find it fun to play with people who think they can bully others. She may not like me or my game play style (and I don't have a clue who she is, so it matters to me even less), but she was the one who broke the game rules about physical contact and inappropriate language, so I take the high ground on this one, base or no base...of course two minutes later I went back and took the base :) Let the scores speak for themselves.

But thankfully she left after that inane little incident and the final hour was fun for everyone else. We played a game of free for all...and I won. And then in the final game of the night the "ducks" spread out, one of us on each team to make it a more level playing field, and we just had a good final game. At one point when we were in close proximity and strategically shooting at each other in one corner area Kimmy commented that the way we play almost looks like dancing. I would agree that there are times that as "moving pieces" in the game we probably do look a bit artful in our strategy. There's an even mix of comfort and challenge in playing against people whose moves you can predict to a certain degree. I guess that might be part of why I enjoy playing with these guys. It's a higher level, but an even level and was a nice way to end the night. Then, just to round out the weekend on a laser tag note, Sunday was a trip to Darien Lake to see our friends from Canada (TJ and Ankur came down for a visit), so I got this fun caricature done...

And the light shines on this weekend full of tag!

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