Article and photo by Yasmine Sarraf
Santa Rosa High School Earth Science teacher Shauna Langan is not only interested in astronomy and physics, but in quilting, baking and playing competitive laser tag as well.
As a fifteen-year-old, Langan worked her first job at an indoor laser tag arena. There, she discovered her interest in the sport. She played occasionally for the next several years until her junior year at Sonoma State University, as she began to play on a team.
Langan learned different types of gameplay and focused on the game mode “Space Marines,” a team elimination type of laser tag. “The goal is basically—kill their team before they kill you,” she explained. After learning this game mode a couple of years ago, Langan began to play competitively.
In the Space Marines game type, Langan said, “You have five roles that are played with six players.” The roles consist of commander, one heavy, two scouts, one medic and one ammo carrier. Langan plays as a medic or an ammo carrier. Her job as an ammo carrier is to resupply shots to her teammates and her job as a medic is to resupply lives to her teammates. “As a medic, you have twenty lives, so once your medic dies, your team dies.”
Langan has traveled for laser tag, having been to competitions in Sacramento, Las Vegas and Utah. She has an upcoming competition in Colorado and hopes to have one in Europe as well. “If I go to the Colorado tournament, that will be my first international . . . . And I should be playing on a team with Italy.” She has to train for the competitions and attends ten practices and one or two competitions per year.
Trophies are awarded to the winners of competitions. Thus far, Langan has not procured any trophies, but during her first competition, she was declared rookie of the tournament, having shown the most improvement of the three rookies present.
Unfortunately, it is not often that there is an observation deck for an audience at the arenas, but her competitions are streamed. “[Laser tag] is not a wide, well-known thing,” Langan said. Regardless, she enjoys the sport. “It’s a very good opportunity to meet a lot of cool people that enjoy the same thing.”