Yesterday was kind of a big deal, celebrated quietly inside my own heart.
It was the 10th anniversary of the day I completed a labor of love that changed my life for so much the better.
Three years previous, I was hanging with some pals when I discovered the Library of Congress had nothing in its archives about something that is very close to my heart. To all of our hearts, actually.
I was astounded that one of the greatest libraries on the planet had no stories to tell about a game that is such a huge part of us all, regardless of our background, where we grow up in the world, or what our situation is.
I blurted out:
“The LoC has NOTHING about TAG? Someone should FIX THAT!”
To which my pals replied:
“Why don’t YOU fix that?”
I spent the next year-and-a-half evolving a likewise meager entry into Wikipedia. I entered in everything I knew, everything I could find, everything I learned from listening to anyone who would listen and answer my questions about the game.
By 2006 it had quickly grown into one of the largest entries on the platform. There is no way I could have known that when they upgraded their infrastructure after their first major fundraiser that year that I would lose all my effort. It was as much my fault as theirs. I made no backup of my work, took no screenshots. I was disappointed but that only seemed to make me more determined.
When my pleas to them over several months to help restore what had been lost fell on deaf ears, I decided to take things up a notch.
First, I made it into a podcast about the game, with special guests talking about the way they played it growing up in their respective parts of the world. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. I decided to make something really great and submit it myself to the LoC.
Over the next two years I traveled all over for work. I brought a small video camera along and during every spare moment I collected stories from anyone willing to share them. Next thing I knew, I had over 200 hours of interview footage. I use it to make a short movie.
While collecting interview footage, I had a few questions I asked everyone. One of them was, “How long do you think the average game of Tag lasts?” I kept answers in a journal and more than 300 people informed an average of 21 minutes. I decided that’s how long the movie should be.
The final edit was completed on January 28, 2008, effectively completing the project in just 3 short years save for one small detail. It still needed to be submitted and accepted into the LoC. It took a few stamps, some transmediating it into a few different types of media formats (they wouldn’t accept a download at that time), a few months and a heaping helping of persistence.
TAG | The Documentary had officially made it into the LoC, with gratitude in my heart and astonishment in my eyes that we’d actually done it.
Hearing challenges? Please turn Closed Captioning on/off by clicking the small CC symbol near the bottom-right-corner of the video and choosing the captions. My apologies that captions only exist in English at present.
Vision challenges? Click here for audio only.
TAG, you’re it.