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Talking Tag In The Community

Last night I had the opportunity to speak to a local community group about my favorite topic…laser tag. :)

Before I had even arrived I had a really nice surprise. While I was in route I was listening to one of my favorite nationally syndicated radio programs, the Bob and Sheri show, when I was pleasantly startled by my own voice! At the beginning of the third hour (roughly at the 47 minute mark) they had included a pre-recorded plug for Laser Tag Day that I did not expect would be used after the fact, but how nice to hear that it was included on the show anyway!

Shortly thereafter I arrived at the meeting destination. I had been invited to speak about my adventures laser tagging America and give a presentation as part of the literary program to members of the Floyd Grange. I appreciated being welcomed to talk to the group about my journey. There were about 14 attendees who gathered in a member’s home this night instead of the meeting hall, so it was a really intimate gathering and an informal discussion, but also an opportunity for me to raise awareness about what laser tag is…and what it is not.

I began my talk by bringing out a Laserforce Gen 6 pack from my collection and explaining how laser tag works and showing them the features of the pack.

Because I know that sometimes people who are not familiar with the game tend to have questions about the phaser I also took a moment to explain that this is called a “hand held unit” or “phaser” and it’s used to deactivate the lights using the words “zap”, “tag” or “target” because this is a non-violent sport game so the semantics matter for anyone who might have been concerned that it could resemble a weapon. After addressing this point I moved on to share some of my favorite memories from my trips to various states.

I shared photos of some particularly unique experiences like the time I got to play laser tag with Olympic athletes in Denver, Colorado and how members of the National Guard came out to play tag with me in Wasilla, Alaska. I showed them some of the more interesting arenas I’ve played in and related the stories I had been told about how people were housed at Laser Tag of Baton Rouge, Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I shared the fitness focus of the laser tag/parkour hybrid of LasRFit in Los Angeles, California and the finale of my journey playing laser tag with George Carter near where it all started in the area around Dallas, Texas. It was such a nice opportunity for me to reflect on the memories as well as share them with others. I thank the Floyd Grange for inviting me to give this presentation.

When the meeting was over one member hung back to ask me a question that I really appreciated having a chance to answer. She wanted to know if I think that games like this have any connection to the gun violence and the school shootings that we hear about in the news. I was glad she asked me about this because it gave me an opportunity to explain that I definitely do NOT believe that there is any connection. Just the opposite really. Laser tag is a very social game. It is completely family friendly and non-violent, right down to the terminology that is used. There is no physical contact permitted in this game. Laser tag fosters friendly competition and is also a great form of exercise that releases endorphins. For all these reasons I think laser tag is a very healthy activity for people of all ages to enjoy, so I disagree with any suggestion that there could be a connection. And yet I am very glad that she asked me about this because it gave me a chance to address her question with facts about all the positive benefits that people of all ages can experience through playing the game. I left the meeting feeling like I had shared some great memories, but also brought some enlightenment about the game that I love so much. Thank you to the Floyd Grange for the opportunity to talk about tag!

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