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A Quest to Make A Difference

One of my favorite things to do is play laser tag in support of a worthwhile cause. On my last trip I was able to tag to help not just one, but two great causes. The final stop of this journey ended with me tagging at Laser Quest Phoenix at a fundraiser for the Doreen Katz Memorial Cancer Foundation. This charitable organization helps the children of parents who have been diagnosed with any form of cancer and was founded by Adam Katz in memory of his late wife, Doreen, who was from my area of upstate New York.

I arrived at the LQ site and was immediately greeted by Adam. There were a few participants already there, however this event was significantly impacted by the concerns about the coronavirus as it was taking place just before everything in the country really started to lock down (for reference, I am writing this post a month after the event actually took place). It wasn’t due to the virus itself, but rather because the community of cancer families the foundation serves is already immune-compromised, so it was better to not take any chances with having those individuals attend a group event of this nature at that particular moment in time. So, this fundraiser was much smaller than the previous events that the DKMCF has hosted, but for those who were able to come out to support it was such a great time and the event raised over $2,100 for the foundation!

Adam introduced me to a few of the players and we socialized a bit before the games got underway. I had a great time getting to know some great people and by the end of the night we all felt like one big family!

We started the night with a solo game, which was a lot of fun. We would play several game formats before the night was over, but this was a good way to kick things off.

Annie and Daniel were ready to be fierce competitors in the arena!

And I had a great time giving a few pointers to our youngest player, Emma, who I suspect will become a regular at this site in the future because this girl simply fell in love with the game. :)

After the first game we took a break for a delicious dinner provided by a local restaurant in town. It was a chance for everyone to get to know one another before moving into our next game of Team Frantic. Our teams were randomized and the game had a much faster pace. I got to play on a team with Sky and Raana who were local LQ players and we went up against Pinkbeard’s team (Adam’s codename is a given because he always dyes his beard pink for these events to be symbolic of breast cancer, although this time he added some blue to symbolize that March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month). Again, lots of fun, but I was most excited about trying something a little different. That’s when the game marshal explained our next game…Lasermeister!

I don’t typically have opportunities to play any special format games since there is no longer a Laser Quest in my state, so this was a real treat. For this game we would each go into the arena wearing two packs at once and trying to shoot with two phasers. “Trying” is the operative word there. Pretty much everyone found that they did well tagging with one hand while doing lousy with the other. For a frame of reference, I scored 1061 points with the phaser in my right hand and with the one in my left hand I achieved a pretty dismal 67, lol.

After playing three formats and having a really enjoyable night of tag we were told that for our last game we could either play a standard game or try something a little different. We all agreed to let the game marshal surprise us with something more interesting, so the night ended with a game of Outlander. This was the only elimination game we played. For this format we each started with 15 limited lives, so we had to play WAY more cautiously because once you lost your lives you would be eliminated from the game. This one was played very stealth and quietly and, although I came in second on points, I must admit I didn’t hang in to the very end…but I was close.

I did end the night with the overall top placement, so I appreciated receiving a Target gift card as a prize.

However, above all else I appreciated getting to play a really enjoyable evening of laser tag with some great people and know that it helped a terrific cause. In hindsight, it means even more as I look back on that experience from my perspective now a month later. You see, that night of tag was not only the last time I was able to play personally, but it was also the last night that anyone would be playing at LQ for quite a while. The manager mentioned they would be having a conference call the following day to determine whether all the Laser Quest locations in the U.S. would temporarily close as businesses all across the country began responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and that is exactly what was announced two days later. So, as it turns out, this final night of laser tag was all the more significant because it truly was the last night before everything really started to change. I’m grateful that I was able to return safely (and healthy) from that trip and I have been in stay-at-home mode ever since I got back. As I think about all the memories made during the course of my last trip I am so thankful that I was able to enjoy one last laser tag adventure to look back on fondly until the time comes when businesses can safely re-open and we can all play laser tag together again. Stay safe and healthy my friends!

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