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My first troop event--What it meant to me


gazmosis
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It has been an epic last couple of weeks.

After a two year battle to fit into my armor, I was accetped into the 501st and was honored to receive EIB all in one week. This was just in time to participate in my first trooping event; Star Wars celebration weekend at Legoland in Schaumberg, Illinois(just west of Chicago).

Up to the time of the opening night, I received information only through correspondence with my new local Garrison. I drove to the site in my undersuit and neckseal. I wore sandals and lounge pants to save the public from the sight of my well outlined backside. I walked in the front door with my armor in tow (a suitcase for now). I was met at the front desk with a smile and a statement that made my heart soar...You are 501st....follow me. I was lead to a large service corridor behind the store that would serve as our dressing area. To my surprise, I was the first on hand. But not for long. TK's TD's, x-wing pilots and T.I.E. pilots soon followed. I was finally able to put faces to names and speak without punching a keyboard. I of course felt out of place initially, but with every friendly hand I shook those feelings quickly diminished. I was still a bit intimidated and kept a watchful ear to gather as much information so that I could successfully "unlearn what I have learned". Although I did not receive it, I expected more of a hazing.

After we were all suited up, we looked each other over and made the necessary adjustments to insure that we all looked our best. We were lead to the main doors leading back into Legoland. That is where the meaning of my experience began to unfold. The doors opened and jaws dropped around us. We walked as a unit to the front of the store to receive a briefing and the rest of the night was up to us. Although I am comfortable in front of people and have been waiting for 34 years to be a TK, I was not prepared for the reception that followed. It was difficult for me to remain in character for I was consumed by the level of joy, wonder and excitement we were providing to kids from 3 - 43. I watched (through green tinted lenses)as grown men turn 14 years old all over again. My emotions swelled as the smallest Star Wars fans told me of their adventures with their tiny, shaking little voices. I didn't know what was harder; for the child to stand still for the photo or the overexcited parent to take the photo. I wish to thank Kevin(rebeldoughboy) for allowing me to stick to his side and follow his lead. But soon, things were on auto pilot. Crowds gathered, traffic slowed, flashes went off and the store filled. We moved between floors inside and ventured outside from time to time.

Although the event was 4 days, I could only attend 2. Sunday was the same adventure except for 10 fold the amount of people and 3 times the amount of time I was able to be in character.

Just before our time was up, I was standing alone watching Boba Fett, a biker scout and a Rebel Endor soldier have their time in the spotlight. I began to think of all the big and little ones that we provided memories for them that will last them a lifetime. Then I thought of the fact that after I took off the armor and if I stood next to those same people, they would never know that it was me in that armor. Did that matter? Not at all! I had the honor of making someone smile that day. The honor of maybe fulfilling a dream for someone. The honor of creating a memory.

I will never forget these feelings. Nor will I forget the honor I feel to be part of all this. Just to hope that one day I can again make someone

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Edited by gmrhodes13
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"I will never forget these feelings. Nor will I forget the honor I feel to be part of all this. Just to hope that one day I can again make someone else smile."

 

That is why we do what we do bro :) the BIG smile we get from young and old . Good job trooper .

Edited by snoopy trooper
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Thanks for sharing man. You guys look like you are a great group and everyone looke genuinely excited to be there!

Hope you continue to enjoy trooping as much as we all do. Make sure you go to CVI...CV was me and my wife's first big convention and I can't even began to explain the level of excitement there. :Laser:

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“...I had the honor of making someone smile that day. The honor of maybe fulfilling a dream for someone. The honor of creating a memory.

I will never forget these feelings. Nor will I forget the honor I feel to be part of all this. Just to hope that one day I can again make someone else smile.â€

+1! Good Job, Steve~~and thanks for sharing this with us~~~~~~~~

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Not at all! Do with it whatever you wish!

Although my PHYSICAL experience happened there, my true adventure began here. The people here are the building blocks to allowing any new trooper to build the experience they want. Thanks to everyone here for guiding me on how to build mine!

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What a great experience! Mind if we reference it in our next newsletter?

 

I think we should ^^

 

Great experience, great armor, great weeks for you dude :P

Congrats ! that's a really nice begining in the 501st :D

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You have put into words a similar experience many of us had the first time we suited up, and helped us to remember why we continue to troop. Congrats and don't get too let down at future events, because it's going to be hard to top trooping LegoLand!

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I'm sorry, I only read the begining before my first post as I was at the office...

 

Dude, you really gave me the shivers reading your entire post ^^

You make me remember what I fell every time I troop. This is why we continue to do it. Giving memories to childs from their first age to their oldest :P

 

Thanks for this post Steve :)

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Very well written and I'm glad you had a life changing experience. For those of us who no longer follow every thread; you mentioned a two year battle to fit into your armor. Since you're such a good writer, is there any chance you could describe that particular fight in another heading? It might serve as an inspiration to some.

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I really think that what hits closest to my heart is the kids. The greatest thing that ever happened to me was the birth of my daughter. Although she was 2 months premature, she came out of it and went home a couple of weeks later. Now 11, you would never know.(she is in the picture above..in the goofy slippers) Having the chance to experience that level of innocence and purity is, well.....life changing. Now, I get to do it again. This is something I hope everyone gets to experience.

As for "the two year battle", I posted the story before when I posted the pics for my EIB. I guess I just didn't want to beat that horse to death and have people rolling their eyes saying,"not again". If there is an appropriate place to post it again, and if it will help anyone, I will.

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Gaz...

 

It made my day reading this story on how much you enjoyed your first trooping. I regret not putting into words my feelings on my first trooping but it seems we're not so different, you and I. My first "official" troop was with Weird Al which was really cool but I dare say doing events like this is what really makes the Legion, what it is.

 

 

Having done almost two dozen events since I become official back in September of last year I stepped in like any usual trooping meeting with trooper brothers and sisters. But then there was Steve Gaza, or Gazmosis our newest brother. I had been only one of 2 screen troopers in the MWG for a long while in which the rest are FX. So I was used to being the oddball in different armor and only being 5'7" the guy who got the "Aren't you..." jokes all the time since one of my closest trooper brothers is 6'3" so use your imagination...

 

So I see Steve suiting up and I see all the small details only a FISD'er would notice and without little to no introduction we were going back and forth on all things TK! From oogling his E-11 to noticing Karin's handplates I knew immediately this was a great future trooper. After he put on his armor I asked him if he'd ever worn it before, and he said no. I grinned mischeively as we lined up to go recieve the fans. Gaz tagged up with me, which was awesome to have a trooper a little closer to my height and just a minute out of the gate we stopped for pictures. Throughout the troop he eased into becoming a Stormtrooper, not Gaz. He here is patroling the causeways of Legoland making full use of his aker amp'd voice to wow kids.

 

He didn't need a helmet to hide the fact that he was definitely loving it and was totally animated. It was a pleasure to troop with him, he was a natural...I still don't know if he was lying not saying he wore that white armor before! B) I don't know if you remember Gaz but walking back into the store early on in the troop some parent told their awestruck child not to be afraid, it's Luke and Han Solo in disguise!

 

Welcome to the MWG brother! Don't worry, your baptism of fire is coming these weekend at Bartlett 4th of July Death March Parade. It's a MWG right of passage :D

Edited by Rebel Doughboy
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This story was so well written and makes me want my first set of Armor, like NOW!!

 

I truly cant wait to have that very first experience of suiting up and seeing the kids faces as we all march out.

 

One thing ive come to realize is that patience can be a big virtue, especially when it comes to our hobby.

 

But now after reading this trooping story im def gonna try and put my first troop into words when it happens.

 

What an amazing story gaz and id also like to hear the story of fighting to fit your Armor, it can most def provide some great info for newcomers like myself.

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Hiyas I took the liberty of writing up a little article to share your story and photos with our readers over at TORWars (Which is a Star Wars: The Old Republic fansite).

 

You can find the article here: http://torwars.com/2011/07/02/troopers-first-day/

 

I hope you are happy with the write-up. If you have any changes though you can email me at: Weemadaggie @ gmail DOT com

 

Sincerely,

 

- Aggie

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Wow! I am just at a loss for words. Last week's troop was a first(in many ways) for me and I am glad that my recap of some of the events and feelings of that day touched so many people. For every trooper that dons the armor there are as many reasons for doing so. Everyone will have their own stories to tell of what it meant for them. I hope that I am able to hear their stories and one day shake their hand. It will be a long time until I consider myself anything other than the "new guy". But until that day comes, I will take every day that I get to suit up and call it a blessing and an honor. Thanks again to all that helped me make this happen!

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  • 6 months later...

Congrats man, excellent retelling of your experience. I had a similar realization on my second troop which was a parade. I had already been out in costume for one troop then for Halloween, but the parade was different. Within a few steps I realized I was grinning so hard my lips were trembling and I couldn't figure out why. I'm not really prone to doing that and it persisted througout the parade. I was on the verge of pushing out a few tears of joy, really a heck of a feeling.

 

I thought about it for a day or so and then it hit me. Everywhere I looked there were hundreds if not thousands of people smiling at me (via the trooper). I can't recall the last time, if ever, that many people just looked at me and smiled. Waving, cheering, smiling, pointing .. and my pesonal favorite that moment when you find a kid in the crowd who looks a little bummed and you do something to make eye contact, a little wave, point to them and give them a thumbs up. He or she has that look like they are just a face in the crowd and the troopers walking by are just machines or window dressing. Then they see you picking them out of the crowd and for that moment that kid knws the trooper saw him or her. The way the face lights up is incredible.

 

The energy is overwhelming and it in turn made me smile like a complete fool. I must have looked like the Joker under that lid. If I ever doubted the power of positive energy I certainly don't anymore. I'm pretty sure it is the closest thing to the force I'll ever experience ... "It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together."

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