In any game involving the mighty dragon, slaying the beast can be a daunting task. I have always enjoyed games. When I was in middle school, they helped to keep me out of trouble. They fed my imagination and sharpened my ability to think outside the box. I continued to dabble with games in high school, college, and early in my teaching career. Entering my sixth year of teaching, I got married and moved to Woodstock. A chance meeting with a co-worker’s gamer husband thrust me back into the world of gaming that I so enjoyed. Now, twenty years later, I have managed to spread my love for gaming to my wife and daughters. Over this span of time, my family and I have been to countless gaming stores across the country. Somewhere along our adventures, I began to toy with the idea of opening my own game store. A daunting task, this became my dragon.
About ten years ago is the first time I really began to entertain the notion of opening a store. While my wife was on board with the idea, there were a few factors that kept us from a game store at the time. One reason was our jobs that we had (and still have). Opening a store and maintaining financial stability would require us to keep doing those jobs. Even then, we would probably lose money in the short term. Our daughters were still young. The amount of time required of our professions, family, and the new store simply did not seem possible. The thought of putting my family at financial risk further complicated things. We were ill-equipped to slay the dragon at that time.
The next leg of my journey is bittersweet. It was the first day of summer vacation. I had just completed my 25th year of teaching. I had already cut down with a chainsaw the large wooden swing set in our backyard. The first on my list of things to do this summer, the old set served little purpose, now, except getting in my way when I mow the grass. On the afternoon of that first day, I got the call. My father had passed away unexpectedly. Since that time, my summer has been a whirlwind of emotion and responsibility as I settle his affairs. As it turns out, he left a bit of money for my brother and me. For the first time in years, the thought crept into my head once more. Could this be our opportunity?
We now had the financial means to open a store without risk to the future of our daughters. Being my summer vacation, I had the time to research, plan, and meet with the people necessary to make it happen. Both of the girls are now in high school. They would be able to contribute at the store when their school and extracurricular responsibilities allowed. One of the closest game stores to Woodstock had just closed down. Woodstock has not had a decent game store in years. As an educator who has run the Creekside Middle School Game Club over the last five years, I see the need for an outlet for the youngsters of our town that is safe and healthy. As an older gamer who still enjoys visiting friendly local game stores (FLGS), I would have appreciated something closer than the hour to hour and a half round trip I would have to make to visit one. The stars seemed to be aligning for us (now, let’s just hope the great old ones don’t make their way into our world - for the layperson, this is very specific gamer humor, expect future blogs to be full of this).
The biggest factor that made me decide to undertake this adventure was the untimely death of my father. Life is short. Tomorrow is not a right, it is a privilege. I could go on saying that “I wanted to open a game store”. I do not want to feel regret down the line. Or, I could just open a game store in the community I love. I could strive to have a place where people come to laugh and have fun. It could be a store full of tables, covered with board games, maps from role playing games, and various trading card games. It could be a place in which a father would be proud of his son for opening. With the support of my wife and daughters, what do I have to fear? If you will excuse me, we have a dragon to slay.