Twas the night before church day and all through the house not a creature was stirring, wait, who am I kidding, there were ten fifteen year old boys widely stringing internet cable about the family dining room transforming the normally decedent thanksgiving gathering area into land of gaming geekdom. The frilly table cloth had been replaced with an old bed sheet, the tables normal candle light centerpiece now consisted of glowing CRT monitors, and empty pizza boxes. The solid wood floors were squiggled with internet cable and orange extensions cords.

In the corner basking all it's glory sat a single 16 port 10Base-T ten meg wired hub, with no internet, no DNS(computer address assigner, in non nerd terms), no server, just a hub with seven computers attached to it. Nobody had ever heard the term wireless, the preferred operating system was windows 2000Pro, there were no X-Boxes, fancy smart phones, or HDTV's, our mice had balls, there was only one LCD monitor present, and of course there existed no girls (well my sister wanted to play, but we didn't let her, 'No girls allowed we said').

That night a disordered group of social gaming friends and acquaintances had come together in the spirit of virtual competition to create our first real LAN/Computer party. None of us realized it at the time, but with each passing round of Unreal Tournament, Quake, or Starcraft, friendships were being forged.

“Whats the name of the server?” Someone shouted.

“Enter the Cock” I yelled back, an obvious pun on my appointed nickname Cockat00.

“Ok got it, I'm in” The anonymous voice of Peptide replied.

“'Headshot!” Some speakers sounded. “Awww what the fuck, Valkyrie was that you?”

A manly giggle followed by a hand clap sounded off the wooden floor.

“Of course it was, all he ever does is sit in the corner and snipe”. Woody said.

“Yeah to bad he sux at it” Revstan.

“I killed you didn't I?” Valkyrie.

“How do I set my IP?” “Peptide show him, would ya.”...

"TCP or UDP?"...

"Reset the bots to normal."...

"Are we out of pizza?...

And that's how the evening progressed. We taught ourselves how to trash talk one another, drank soda until our bladders bled coke-a-cola, and played until our eyes burned like Tabasco. Not a single person got one minute of sleep that night, and by the time the last bit of information had been transmitted over the network the morning had slipped in to afternoon. With the school day quickly bearing down upon us we unplugged our towers traded AIM/MSN screen names and packed up the cable, trading our games for MS Word and procrastinated homework.

Word of our little event spread around town fast and our little event marked the beginning of what would later turn into Fond du Lan(a great big LAN). Today that group of geeks that came together so many years ago is scattered about the country, but we still play games thanks to the invention of a little thing called the interwebs.

That night has come to be known in our circle as GWLP1 and honestly it holds a very special place in our memories. For most of us it was the first time we had socialized with other gamers in a format which was not the school cafeteria. We were on our own, nobody told us what to do, when to go to bed, or what games to play. Nobody was sitting next to our table making snide comments about our geeky ways. We came together to play games, and that we did.

Had the table not have been solid oak it would have crumbled under the weight of the monitors and and endless stacks of pizza boxes.