Sense of belonging evident at conventions

Gentry Anderson

“And here’s your badge!” the Guardian said. “Welcome to RTX 2014.”

As I walked away from the registration booth set up in the Austin Convention Center, weekend pass and drawstring bag in hand, my heart filled with excitement and anticipation for what the next three days held in store for my two best friends and me.

During the weekend of July 4-6, I attended RTX, or Rooster Teeth Expo, a gaming convention in Austin. I had dreamed of going to RTX for quite some time, and to finally be there felt like pure happiness.

Gentry Anderson
Gentry Anderson

If anyone were to sit down and have a conversation with me, they’d most likely be subjected to my long spiel about my love for Rooster Teeth, the video production company that stages RTX, and eventually my explanation about conventions and why I attend them.

RTX isn’t the only geek convention I’ve been to the past few years. On the list is Salute to Supernatural in Dallas and AMA-con here in Amarillo. I’ve always equated my love for conventions to how some people love concerts.

Essentially, it’s just a mass of people coming together to indulge in a common interest. Whether it’s games, animé, cosplay, steampunk or whatever, in all likelihood there’s a convention for it.

The feeling that comes from being surrounded by people who cherish the same things I do really gives me a sense of belonging, something I didn’t have for a time.

Salute to Supernatural Dallas, or DallasCon, has been quite the event for me, as I’ve been three times. Supernatural is a show on the CW network led by two devilishly handsome brothers, “saving people, hunting things, the family business.”

Just watch it. Trust me. Granted, DallasCon can be quite the pricey event, with some tickets ranging $500 and up. I’ve never spent that much, but I for sure had just as great an experience as those who did.

DallasCon brings together diehard Supernatural fans, as RTX does with gamers.

The weekend starts off with a crazy karaoke party, young and middle-age people alike, singing their hearts out to classic rock.

The weekend then is filled with panels led by multiple stars from the show.

I’ve had the pleasure to meet the main cast and have pictures taken with them at these events. The way my heart fluttered giving Jensen Ackles a hug, or when Jared Padalecki patted my head, or to hear Mark Sheppard whisper in my ear that the woman my friend and I spoke to seconds before was S.E Hinton, like The Outsiders author S.E Hinton, is something I can’t even explain.

AMA-con holds a special place in my heart.

Not only because I’ve attended every event, but because it brings together the people of Amarillo who are into all kinds of geek culture in one place, the civic center, in a town where that kind of subculture isn’t extremely prominent.

Amarillo isn’t as technological and open as Austin, and it certainly isn’t like San Diego, where Comic-Con takes place.

Maybe it’s just my experience, but having an interest in geek culture comes off to some people as “weird” or “taboo.”

AMA-con broke the feeling that there weren’t many people in Amarillo who share my interests.

AMA-con also has grown in the past three years from a simple one-day, one-room event to a two-day, multiple-room event this August.

Maybe this is just my way of plugging AMA-con, since I’m going to have a booth there this summer, or maybe I want to share the substantial effect conventions have had on me.

To have finally found a group of people, big or small, that I can relate to and have the sense that I belong with is a feeling I’ve longed for.

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