Editorial Board member Tarrek Shaban (17C) and Business Manager Nathan Janick (17B) claimed the first- and second-round victories, respectively, in laser tag played in the Wheel’s March 2 tournament at Laser Quest in Duluth, Ga.
Prior to the start of the game, nine Wheel staff members raised their laser guns and promised to not run, yell, cheat or otherwise dishonor the sacred sport of laser tag. The intense competition, however, forced the players to go to great lengths to secure a victory — including breaking the rules, repeatedly.
Before the first round began, the suspicion of one another could be seen in the players’ eyes thanks to the glow of former Editor-in-Chief Zak Hudak’s (17C) white shirt, which shined under the arena lights, rendering him an easy target. Copy Editor Leigh Schlecht (19C), code-named “Emdash,” also wore a white shirt, but her short stature allowed her to conceal her presence from other players in the arena.
Several minutes after the first round’s start, Editorial Page Editor Annie Cohen (20C), code-named “Darkness,” caught Editorial Board member Duncan Cock Foster (17C), code-named “Fake News,” covering his sensors, an act that he later denied fervently.
“I did not cover my sensors at any point during laser tag,” Cock Foster said. “I would like to point out that the allegations were about the first round, and I got ninth in the first round, so if I did cover my sensors it was a really bad strategy. But I did not. Fake news.”
Hudak, code-named “Broadsheet,” and newly elected Editor-in-Chief Julia Munslow (18C), code-named “Sunlight” formed an alliance, while the majority of other players created one large alliance.
Hudak and Munslow quickly claimed one of the second-floor bases and picked off players on the ground floor with assassin-like precision. Cohen later joined them, and told her allies after the first round that she had become lost in the arena.
Shaban, code-named “Tabloid” for the first round, ruthlessly shot everyone in sight, betraying his allies — Cohen, Schlecht, Cock Foster, Social Media Editor Nicole Sadek (20C) and Senior Editor Alisha Compton (19C) — as he sought victory.
“I pursued an alliance with Tarrek,” Cock Foster said. “I quickly found out that he just shot me a lot. In fact, he shot me four times when we were supposedly in an alliance.”
In response to Shaban’s laser tag finesse, a few players, including Hudak, claimed that Shaban takes private laser tag lessons.
“Laser tag is a tense sport of wit, skill and endurance,” Shaban said. “I am not surprised that the lesser men and women at the Wheel [would] try to slander my reputation with such rumors.”
Shaban refused to disclose whether he actually took private lessons.
“No comment,” he said.
After the first round, the players’ scorecards revealed that Shaban had won. Exhausted and triumphant, Shaban retreated to a couch to rest until round two. Munslow captured second place, and Hudak placed third.
Round two brought higher stakes and dirtier play. Cohen tagged Schlecht and Sadek, blaming the shots on Janick, code-named “Robberb.”
After Schlecht and Sadek discovered Cohen’s double-agent status and alliance with Hudak and Munslow, the copy editor and the social media editor embarked on a manhunt for Cohen. She fled from them and relied on superior players such as Hudak, Janick and Shaban, code-named “Russia” for the second round, to help her evade the duo for the remainder of the game.
Janick captured first place in the second round, dethroning Shaban, who placed second.
“There were accusations that [Janick] was doing an infamous [former Editor-in-Chief] Dustin Slade [(16B)] and covering his sensors,” Hudak said, referencing a Fall 2014 Wheel laser tag game. “There is speculation about that, but either way he proved to be something that all of us underestimated. He was a rookie [who] was ready to go.”
Hudak, who placed last in the second round, expressed his disappointment in his performance.
“I believe that my gun was not functioning properly, but then again maybe my gun in the first game was better than the average gun,” Hudak said.
Cock Foster finished third in the second round. Despite the betrayals and allegations of cheating, players’ spirits were high after the second round.
The Wheel staff will face off in the laser tag arena again before the end of the spring semester.
Munslow and Compton received blisters on the middle finger of their right hands.