Reflections from the Backseat - Gen Con 2015, Day 1 Part 2

I had no internet access at my hotel unless I wanted to play $15 a night for it, so the rest of the parts of this story have to be continued piecemeal. For instance, this.

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The view from the backseat.
Thursday, July 30th, 2015. 
2:39 p.m.

The backseat can be revealing.

I’m in the backseat of a Volkswagen Somethingorother, on my way to Indianapolis, Indiana, to attend Gen Con for the first time. 6 of us will be staying in a single hotel room, but the hotel is attached to the convention center at the center of everything. This is going to be a huge, raging weekend of gaming, both tabletop and RPGs, for me.

I’m going to meet people I may never see again. I’m going to find out about new games coming out in the next year that I may never play. I’m going to miss out on a lot of things that I might like to see or experience, simply because there are only so many hours in the day. But mostly, I’m going to get a huge GeekHigh.

Community is a huge thing for me. I love being a part of a group of people. I thrive in the camaraderie of others, the gathering together under one unified purpose, whether it be a concert, conference, or convention. I love social gatherings, and I always want to build on the gathering with new people.

That being said, I don’t care to gather with people that don’t have the same interests as me, or that I have nothing in common with. It’s frustrating, because I hate nobody. I’m wired, however, to engage more with people of like mind or like interest.

Before I left, my wife asked me, “Are you nervous about riding in the car 4 hours with people you don’t even know?” No, I wasn’t. These guys and I, while relative strangers, have something in common – the love of The Game.

We just had lunch at Steak n’ Shake in Effingham, Illinois, and while I can’t stand driving into that town (I’ve worked too many 7-hour wedding receptions there), I enjoyed the time we were there because I was connecting with new kin.

Maybe there’s someone that will be at this convention that is completely on their own, and really desires to be connecting with someone, anyone, because they have nobody at home they feel like they can connect with. I hope that’s not the case, but the reality of this hobby and the people who love it is that it is highly likely a loner will be milling about with no one to engage him or her. Maybe it’s a social anxiety thing, or perhaps they’re introverted and are uncomfortable with the initial meeting.

Everyone deserves to connect on a common level with someone else. We all need community, fellowship, with others. Finding others in your Tribe, no matter how big the Tribe may already be, cements in our hearts and minds that we’ve chosen the right people, and gives us a sense of belonging on a larger scale that being a part of a family ever can. The Tribe becomes the new family.

Tribal HQ.
Yesterday, some random person on Facebook said that he was planning on selling many of his games because he and his children were going to be homeless in a matter of days, and he needed to make some kind of arrangement for a new place to live. In a time like that, it doesn’t really matter what the circumstances are behind him losing his home (relationship split, eviction, whatever). In that moment, you feel for the man because he’s got children, but more so because he’s one of you. I don’t give money away to just anyone who needs it, but I felt compelled to send him a few bucks. It wasn’t much, but it was something. I didn’t even want one of his games – I figured when you’re trying to secure a place to live, the last thing you need is to go through the hassle of boxing up and mailing merchandise.

I can’t tell you why I felt emotionally connected to this man in that moment, except that I knew he was a part of the Tribe.

We should all have a Tribe. Christians have a Tribe, but so many of us don’t understand this concept. So many of us don’t live by it.

We don’t help those in need, even within our own circles. We say we’ll pray for someone, but we won’t stop what we’re doing and actually pray for them right then and there. We shake our head because we can’t imagine being in that person’s situation, but we don’t do anything practical to help them out of their situation. We think that because what they really need is a miracle of God, then whatever thing we're able to do won’t even measure up.

How small-minded we can be! Every little thing you do matters. It matters. Big, small, once, ongoing, it doesn’t matter.

If sites like Kickstarter, IndieGogo, PledgeMusic, and the like have taught us anything, it’s that hundreds of people coming together to give small amounts of money can make great things happen en masse. They just beak it down in small, bite-sized chunks. Can’t invest $500 into our company? No problem. For $15, you can get this new album before anyone else. For $35, you can get this game. For $100, you’ll have creative input on this project.

It’s democracy in financial form, and it happens through community. It happens through involvement of the Tribe. We all want to be a part of something, so why not be a part of something we like? Something we love?

Find your Tribe. Then invite others in. Give to a cause. Serve in your church. Put on some boots and work gloves and make something happen for somebody else.

A little bit from many does a whole lot more than you can imagine.

There Is No Box.