As we’re about to close out the last day of this decade, I’m feeling so fortunate to have had some remarkable experiences in the last year. As one friend of mine recently told me “you’ve done the impossible!” And I would certainly agree that a few of the things on this list certainly would have seemed impossible to me a relatively short time ago. I’d like to take a moment to reflect on my top ten laser tag highlights of 2019.
1. Playing laser tag with George Carter III and, in doing so, completing my goal to become the first person ever to play laser tag in all 50 states. This was absolutely the greatest highlight of my year without question. I made a little bit of history while playing a game of laser tag with the master, the man who invented the game that started it all…drop mic.
2. Battle For The Fort. Heading to Fort Wayne, Indiana for the draft tournament that was held in September is high on my list for a few reasons. My team coming in first place was certainly the icing on the cake, but this event was significant to me as it brought a few previous tournaments full circle. From where I started with “All About That Base” in 2015 to where our Ascendance team ended our time together (and exceeded everyone’s expectations) at BFTF a few years ago it really meant a lot to be able to return to Fort Wayne and have such a great experience with Team BoB, meet some wonderful people and visit with good friends. I’m not sure, but that weekend might have even brought Hades back to tag!
3. A welcome to the Laser Quest Home Office by LQ president Theresa Stairs and vice president Jeff Morris. I never could have expected the red carpet welcome I received in Mississauga! From being welcomed with a personalized banner at the home office to having a camera following me around the arena to get publicity pics for Laser Tag Day it was an incredibly memorable visit to Canada.
4. Being the first to play Helios 2 in Lansing, MI. This was significant and way more complex to be on top of this first! Three arenas were getting Helios 2 installed at virtually the same time, so it was a race to get me through the doors to play this game at Launch in Lansing, MI before it was available for public play anywhere in the United States. Many thanks to the Launch Lansing staff for making that happen!
5. Interviews at IAAPA with the founders and key players from nearly all the major laser tag manufacturers. This was two days of gathering great info and first-hand stories for a video series I’m producing for the Laser Tag Museum. This was epic and apparently a bigger feat than I realized! I’m so appreciative to all those who took the time to talk with me and share some oral history of the laser tag industry.
6. Victory with Game of Groans. It was pretty unbelievable how the finals of our summer laser tag league turned out. The day of finals I was on the other side of the state and had to race to get to the arena on time. This tournament really showed that anything can happen on any given day as we took a somewhat unexpected first place victory.
7. Great press on International Laser Tag Day. What a thrill to be waking up in Texas to a text showing my journey had made the front page of my hometown newspaper! My goal to play laser tag in all 50 states on the 35th anniversary of the industry got exposure on national radio, industry publications, local radio and print and even resulted in a speaking engagement to a local civic group when I returned home. I’m so glad that something I did resulted in a little positive press for the industry.
8. Presenting a plaque to George Carter III in recognition of his 35th anniversary of Photon. It was no coincidence that I planned my trip to Texas on International Laser Tag Day, which marks the anniversary of the day it all began with the opening of the very first Photon center in Dallas, TX. I was able to present a commemorative plaque to George Carter from the Laser Tag Museum and thank him on behalf of laser tag players everywhere.
9. Tagging at my 300th arena. I can’t believe I’ve played more than 300 arenas just in the time since starting this blog. That feels unreal! And my 300th arena (Laser Quest Wichita) also marked the completion of my goal to play at every currently active Laser Quest location in the United States. Next year…Canada!
10. PHOCON 2019. This year it was particularly special to return to PHOCON as it was the fifth anniversary of the first one (the 30th birthday celebration of Photon back in 2014), which is really what started me out on this amazing laser tag journey that I’ve been on ever since. PHOCON lit the fire in me to return to laser tag after an extended time away from the game and when I returned, I came back with a passion ignited to experience everything I could…and way more than I ever expected!
So, at the end of this remarkable year I want to thank everyone who has been part of this adventure with me. 2019 will go down in my mind as one of the most amazing years I could have asked for in terms of my personal laser tag experiences. What a ride!
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Websites: www.tiviachickloveslasertag.com and www.photonforever.com