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Edwin Ogachi

Grant
UWRT 1101
November 24, 2014
Those Guys
If you ever happen to be strolling around campus on Sundays around 5:00pm or
Wednesdays around 6:00pm then you have probably seen these guys. They are the ones that with
laser tag guns who run around campus shooting each other. Sounds childish right? But who are
you to judge? If you took the opportunity to spend time with some of them you actually get to
see how they a unique community of people and friends who share similar interests and just want
to have fun. They are the laser tag corps and they are proud of it. In this ethnography I will be
discussing my attempt to join this community while bringing into light some of the
misconceptions people have towards this community.
To start things off we will be talking about what makes this club a community. And to do so Im
going to be using Swales six characteristics which we all know and love. The first characteristic
is the most basic and well know, the club goals. The main goal of the community is to provide a
club that will host a group of people who have similar interest, in this case playing laser tag, in
hopes of them forming friendships. The club itself is not just a part of the community, it is the
community. The club also provides a place where you can come to meet new people, make
friends and have fun. Playing laser tag is not the clubs sole purpose. When you join you are
encouraged to meet the members and mingle with them. As it will probably turn out, you will
have multiple things in common with the members. The second characteristic is mechanisms of

intercommunication. The main methods of communication as stated by Peter are Orgsync and
email mostly. We have a Facebook page, but no one uses it. From what I observed the club
mainly used Facebook and Orgsync but rarely email. This is because using social media websites
like Facebook provides a convenient and efficient method of spreading news faster among the
club members. On November 12 at 5:45pm, Derek Masiello posted Hey everyone hope to see
you at the meeting tonight! It looks like good weather! to the Facebook page and this post was
seen by 27 people. Roughly forty percent of the members of the club saw the post, as I was
saying earlier Facebook makes it easier for members of the club to communicate and relay
information to each other. Using emails or Facebook posts also incites new ways of writing.
Which brings us to the third characteristic, genres of communication. Communicating via emails,
Facebook or face-to-face is not the same. Emails require a more formal approach in writing
compared to Facebook or face-to-face communication. On the other hand Facebook or face-toface uses a more informal way of speaking. Youre prone to use unorthodox vocabulary that only
understandable to people who have been part of the club for a while, which in a nutshell Swales
fifth characteristic, specialized Lexis is. Lexis that is commonly used in group are Defenders
or Fireteam. Finally to the last of Swales characteristics, the hierarchy of the group. In my
interview with Peter he described the hierarchy as We have a few officers who are in charge of
the club, two junior officers, myself included, which arent recognized by the school but still
have responsibilities in the club. The veteran, who are generally people who were in the club last
year and regular new people. As he said the officers are recognized by the school and hold the
most responsibilities and power in the community.
Unlike many other communities, this one does not have conflicts within it. Everyone tries their
best to be friendly towards each other and that results in no conflict. Authority is given to the

officers in the club and they hold the most power. Although they do hold power over the club
officially, officers respect the opinions of some of the veterans that have been with the club for a
couple of semesters. They hold insight on what the club should be doing or things that would
make it better. There is a lot a person has to learn before can fully belong in this community.
You have to know things like what guns to use, how to shoot, what strategies to use, the
specialized lexis, etc. are crucial to know. It may take a while but until you know the basics you
probably have not been fully integrated to this community. While you are in the process of
learning this things you are probably going to be mush faking, like me, so that you look like you
fit it. Now while you trying to fit I was judged and stereotyped by people outside the community.
A lot of outsiders will consider the members childish and dorky, and that is because laser tag is
mainly associated with kids. But that however does not stop people from continuously joining
the community, at least it did not stop me.
This community is not only about playing laser tag, its about meeting new people and
forming friendships. They represent the ideas what the college experience should be like, to meet
and interact with a diverse range of people you have something in common with. At the end of
the day you can learn a lot about yourself if you paid attention to the key goals of the
community.

Works Cited
"Laser Tag Corps." LTC Home. Orgysynch, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2014.
"Laser Tag Meeting." Laser Tag Meeting. Student Union, Charlotte. 12 Nov. 2014. Lecture.
Masiello, Derek. "Facebook." Facebook. UNCC Laser Tag, 12 Nov. 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2014.
Oertel, Peter. "Spiderman Interview." Interview by Edwin O. Ogachi. n.d.: n. pag. Print.