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We Were Spartans

Brandon Hicks | 25 Aug 2011 13:30
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We didn't even notice as Halo Sunday went away. The LAN party anchor was gone, and so was our need to actually set aside time to play together. We always said we'd meet online, but with school, family, and work all getting in the way, it was impossible for us to get on at the same time. Halo Sunday slowly became Halo Monthly, then Halo Quarterly, and finally Halo TBD.

Had I known back then that the Halo 2 launch would be our last big shindig, I would've tried harder to say some goodbyes. And pulled off a few more triple kills for posterity's sake.

***

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I wonder where Zach is. He was six when I first met him, and has been one of the Spartans of Halo longer than I have. It wouldn't be Halo Sunday without little Zach (callsign: "Hellboy," "Van Hellsing," Stonecold," etc.) pulling off some ridiculous move and yelling a shrill taunt at whoever he bested.

During a break in the action, out the corner of my eye I see a teenager with a deep voice trash-talking some of the other Spartans in the living room, who laugh along with him. "Who is this guy?", I ask myself. Then I look closer and notice it with a start:

It was a much taller, 14 year-old Zach.

Huh. Guess things do change.

***

Time passed. I moved to a new city, made new friends and played new games. But one day last March, more than three years after the final Halo Sunday, I answered my phone. It was Chris. He wanted to get the band back together. And there was no way in hell I was missing it.

***

Before I know it, 14 people drop to 10, then eight, then six. Then, faster than I would've liked, the Halo Sunday Reunion is over.

I say goodbyes to my Spartans. Maybe we'll catch each other online down the road -- if our jobs allowed it, if we had finished our errands, if we had an hour or two to spare, and if our schedules lined up.

But even then, it won't be the same. And so I think about the next reunion, when I can again fist bump the Spartan beside me when we finally capture that damn flag. Or have ridiculous post-game discussions (with burgers) that drift off into every conceivable subject. And hear the sound of laughter filling the entire house when something absolutely stupid/ridiculous happened.

Once a Spartan, always a Spartan. Yeah, it really is good to play together.

A former senior writer at CBC Sports Online, Brandon Hicks is going to learn how to design videogames in the fall. And he maintains, ad nauseum, that the sniper rifle in the original Halo is still to this day the best weapon of the series.

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