Thanks Gary for another awesome post on Space Center history. You're remember things I'd long forgotten. Anyone else out there want to chime in with your Space Center story? Send them in so every can enjoy.
And Now Gary's Post:
As I sit at think over lunch break, my mind wanders back in time... before grad school, before my first "real job," before getting married and having kids, before BYU, before my LDS mission... all the way back to when I was a kid and the Space Center captured my imagination (and it's been holding onto it ever since). But why reminisce silently when I can invite you all along my trip down memory lane with me? Buckle up for some more old timer recollections.
The first time I held a "command position" was at an overnight mission where my friend and I were by far the most senior campers. We both had 14 hours under our belt (this was probably our third or fourth visit to the Space Center) and everyone else only had 2 from a single field trip. Normally, you'd think that we'd use our seniority to become Captain and First Officer, but we had other plans. We wanted to fire the guns! So my friend and I sat quietly while an inexperienced kidlet was chosen to be captain, then we signed up for the Left Wing (or was it Right?... anyway, it had the torpedoes!).
This inexperienced captain floundered quite a bit, and it became obvious that he'd always turn to us for advice, so eventually Vic paused the mission and graciously gave the poor kid a chance to step down as captain if he wanted. He jumped at the chance, and then Vic turned to us and asked if we wanted the job instead.
"14 hours?!?" he said when we told him how many missions we'd run before. "Why didn't you volunteer to be captain earlier?" he asked with a dumbfounded look on his face. I wanted to explain "C'mon, the TORPEDOES!" but I figured it wasn't worth the effort of explaining how my 12-year old mind worked. Thus, my friend became captain and I became first officer.
Having been to the Space Center several times before that, I'd always eyed the Captains Lounge jealously. Now I'd get to sleep up there! It had big bean bag chairs, which were nice, but the crown jewel was a Super Nintendo! I always wanted to sleep up there so I'd have a chance to play around with it.
How naive I was. As the readers of this blog all can attest, when you're in the middle of an overnight camp, the LAST thing you think about when you're sent off to bed is video games. We stayed up as long as we could talking and planning strategy for tomorrow's gripping continuation of the mission. I wouldn't be surprised if that old Nintendo crumbled to dust with disuse... video games just can't compare with the Space Center experience.
The next morning was wonderful! It felt so great to be woken by the soft music of the Star Trek Voyager theme song.
Fast forward to my next overnight mission... in a bunk by sick bay, woken to the shrill whistle blowing of Admiral Schuler announcing bunk inspections in 2 minutes and breakfast in 3.
Those were different times... the "Outland Corp" era for those who remember... an alternate reality in which the Federation was Defeated by the Borg in the "Best of Both Worlds" episode.
Gotta love the Borg... gotta love Admiral Schuler. My ears are still ringing.
Old Timer Space Center Cadet :)