Doug and the GeekDads Go to Pax East 2010

GeekDad Shirt and Pax East pass

An unprecedented collection of GeekDads descended on the first edition of Pax East. Somehow we had convinced the organizers that their attendees would be interested in hearing from us about raising the next generation of geeks.

This was the first east coast edition of Pax, a hugely popular gaming convention. The 60,000 tickets for the Boston event were sold out in a week.

Would be the attendees be interested in hearing from us. Frankly, I thought the only people in the audience would be the few who wandered in while trying to find the bathroom. That opinion was emphasized when I saw that the panel’s room was in the Wyvern Theatre in the far corner of the expo’s top floor.

Matt Blum, Dave Banks, Natania Barron, John Booth, Michael Harrison and I gathered for dinner and wandered up to the distant room of the panel. We bumped into the back of a long queue of people pointed in the opposite direction from our room. “Clearly, we are scheduled opposite some other popular session.” When we got the doors, we turned and saw that the long queue wrapped around the stairwell atrium and ended up in front us.

“HOLY CARP, they’re waiting to see us!!”

Our audience

The room had about 250 seats, all filled, plus a few dozen people standing along the walls.

We were all stunned that so many people had come to see us. The room was full 15 minutes before the scheduled start time, so we figured we may as well start. Of course that meant we would have to somehow manage to be interesting for an additional 15 minutes. I was sure that most of the audience would empty out with seconds after we started talking.

the Geekdad panel: Doug Cornelius, John Booth, Matt Blum, Natania Barron, Dave Banks, Michael Harrison
Me, John, Matt, Natania, Dave and Michael

There were six contributors to GeekDad on the panel. That was the largest gathering of contributors to the blog in one place. (At least according to the six of us.)

We each began by giving our geek credentials and our parent credentials. The same as we do when someone new comes on the GeekDad podcast. Then we spent the rest of the time talking about the joys and challenges of raising the next generation of geeks.

About half the audience raised their hands when we asked how many were parents. The audience was great. They were very engaged and had lots of questions for us. Way more questions than we had time for.

Most of the audience stayed for the whole 75 minutes, they even applauded at the end. Fairly loud applause. “They liked us. They really, really liked us.”

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