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,
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!