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Stop Over in Charlotte

You really never know where life will take you! This past weekend my plan was to fly across the country and be tagging at a few sites around Spokane, Washington. However, I unexpectedly found myself spending an awesome weekend in Nashville instead! More on that later, but in order to get anywhere I first had to get myself to a hub airport, which is how I ended up with a one night stop over in Charlotte, NC where my weekend adventure began.

I took an afternoon flight after work and got to Charlotte around 6:00 on Friday evening and immediately headed for Sports Connection (Ballantyne) where I met the activities manager, Becca, who helped facilitate a great start to my tag trip. They did not have groups scheduled until later in the evening, so she found three guys on staff to challenge me in three rounds of 1v1 shields up Tron.

Ethan was the first person I met and as we walked back to the arena he said “I’m going to apologize now because I’m going to win, but we’ll have fun.” Little did he know that this is exactly the kind of talk that motivates me and I smiled to myself thinking I was glad this guy was ready to give me a challenge as I walked through the arena entrance.

We each grabbed a Lasertron pack off the vesting racks.

Then we entered a nice, medium sized double level Tron arena with ramps on each side.

This kind of felt like going into a modern-day Roman amphitheater as one by one each of the guys took turns challenging me in the arena while the others looked on waiting for their turn. Ethan put up a good game, but in spite of that I took the win pretty easily in that first round. I believe that was a surprise to everyone observing as we had several staffers watching this game play out, especially considering his earlier comment. Good game, Ethan.

Next up was Eli. I think after watching the first game he came in ready to challenge me even harder, but the second round ended exactly like the first. Thank you, Eli…next player! And the final round I played against Josh. Another good game, but another victory in my favor. There’s something rather gratifying about being underestimated at first and then stepping up to the challenge. I appreciate that each of these guys played hard and gave me a good challenge. This was an excellent way to start my first night of this trip. Thanks to all at Sports Connection for a great time!

From there I headed over to the Lake Wylie Bowl N Bounce. This was a different kind of experience altogether. I am guessing that this is a rather touristy area because I drove past a beautiful waterfront area to get to the arena. This place probably caters more to visitors and families. The arena itself was nothing unusual. The CW walls and layout were exactly what I’d expect in this kind of center. There’s nothing wrong with that, but also nothing exceptional to speak of.

I’m guessing the beautiful weather was part of why things were quiet on this evening as I was once again getting ready to play 1v1 against a staff member. I was escorted to the vesting room by a teenage guy who was so devoid of energy and enthusiasm for this that I couldn’t even engage him in conversation. I commented that he needed a shot of Dunkin’ and all he had to say to that was he was working until 1:00 am. That would have to make this the start of his shift and, frankly, I wasn’t sure he was going to make it through the night at this rate.

We put on Helios vests and went into the double level arena for a very lackluster game. This is not a reflection on the arena itself, but just on the particular situation I found myself in with this game. Compared to the players at the previous arena who really put their heart into playing against me (and I’m always VERY appreciative of that as it makes even a small game worthwhile) here this guy was just walking through it less than half-heartedly, which is unfortunately the main thing I remember about this visit. About halfway through the game I just stopped on the ramp, casually crossing my legs and leaning back to wait.

I wanted to yell out “Come for me Gmork! I am Atreyu!” but frankly I thought the reference would be lost on this kid, so I just waited out the game from that point onward. Sigh, ok…so playing tag was not this guy’s thing. I at least got to experience the arena, so that was something good. It seems like the kind of place small groups and families would particularly enjoy, but for me it was just a check mark before moving on.

My last stop of the night was Laser Quest Charlotte.

I have played here before when the place was packed with quality competition so I know that this is a great arena, however this night I arrived for the Ironman and as it turned out I was the only one who showed up. Again, I blame the quiet night for tag on the weather actually being TOO nice. During the summertime it’s often harder to get people tagging indoors. But I did appreciate that the manager was kind enough to give me a game pass for future as consolation for not being able to play. At that point I still expected to be headed to LQ Spokane the next day, so I figured it would get put to good use. However, by morning my plans would take a turn and lead me to Nashville instead. And that was just fine because anywhere I end up that I can play laser tag is fine by me!

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