I've played Journey in SF a few times
, and last year I ran a checkpoint for Journey in LA
, but this was my first time staffing a checkpoint for thousands of people. I decided to get dressed up for the occasion. Fizzbang
's original plan was actually for the entire checkpoint to have a 50s family sitcom theme, but not everyone got the memo and that plan was abandoned. Whatever; I got to look dapper.
I was envious of the staff chasers, though, who looked downright terrifying in their finery.
So the idea of the checkpoint was to have runners draw us what they wanted to be when they grew up. Or IF they grew up. As the first waves of runners began arriving, they began covering the giant sheets of paper we'd put up with vivid crayon illustrations of their dreams.
I realize now that I failed to get pictures of the filled-in pages before we rolled them up, but some of the ones that stick out in my mind include "space wizard", "trex firefighter", "porn star", and what looked like a ninja kicking Pacman. There were also a lot of people who just wrote the word "happy", and a lot of people who took the exercise more seriously and drew great pictures of themselves as teachers and doctors.
In the week leading up to that night, I'd filled the back seat of my car with Hi-C and Capri Sun boxes, in keeping with the childhood theme. The entire time I was lugging them from my car to the checkpoint, I wondered if it had been a lame idea. It turns out, no, a lot of people were very pleased to be able to relive their childhoods by sucking fruit-flavored sugar water through a tiny straw. We ran out about halfway through the night.
As the night wore on, we began seeing fewer runners in blue and yellow, and more and more chasers in red. As we received word of vast chaser blockades to the north, we put out the call, and the chaser killers arrived, fearsome orange-clad apex predators.
My favorite thing about staffing rather than playing was that each and every friend or acquaintance who was in the game had to come through our checkpoint, so I got to see them all, many of whom I hadn't seen in a while or had come from the far reaches of the Bay Area. At the finish line, I also got to talk to a lot of strangers who were running Journey for the first time and, recognizing me as a volunteer from earlier in the night, came up to gush about how awesome it was.
Thanks, everyone! Great night all around.