I wake up every darn day and do something I love, and while I think Confucious is a darn liar, because it is still work some days, I am surrounded by things that make me happy and people who make my life better.
Today, instead of talking about numbers, marketing, or something that is making me unhappy in our industry, I want to say thanks to a great many people.
To Travis S, Paul B, and Steve E - Many years a babytailer attending his first GAMA sat at a empty chair at the front of a GAMA dinner. Little did he know that the table he sat at was populated by the GAMA Retail Board, but sitting in that chair was the best thing I've ever done. You took this babytailer in during that show, and have been mentors and friends since I first got to meet you. You have each, in some way, made my business better. You have been the source of laughter and joy in the time I have known you all, and GAMA is better because of the three of you. It has been a pleasure to serve with you, and I look forward to building on your phenomenal work of these last four (five) years. Thank you, and Merry Christmas.
To Cole O - The first true partner I feel like I had in this business. Your passion for our industry and knowledge of our products has helped me to be a better retailer, and your friendship has value beyond numeration. Congratulations on all the exciting things that happened for you in 2017. Merry Christmas my friend, and here's to an amazing 2018.
To John W, Angela W, Patti B, Dominique T, Ian H, Kelly H, and Jessica B - Thank you all. Through the work you each do with GAMA you have made this industry a more pleasant place to do business in so many ways. It has been amazing getting to know you each over the last year, and as GAMA grows more and does more, know that it could not be done without each and every one of you. I hope this holiday brings you all happiness, and I look forward to another successful year in everything we all set out to do. Merry Christmas.
To Travis Parry, Keith Boyle, Gary Sprouls, and Rebecca Clark - I hear I'm supposed to get all kinds of animosity thinking about my nearest competitors, but you are more than competition. You are colleagues and inspirations. Together we have built a gaming community in this state that rivals any other in the country. I thank you for pushing me to be better, and Merry Christmas.
To Jenna P - Thank you for putting on one heck of an amazing show every year! I look forward to my trip to the midwest every darn year to laugh with you and yours. I also love my new coffee mug, which I'll bet was your brainchild. Merry Christmas to you and yours.
To Mike W, Marc A, Emily E. and Matthew B - Our companies may have had some rough patches, and if I don't say it enough, I respect the work you all do, and those rough patches are long past. Matthew has become an amazing rep, and it is my joy to call you three partners in my business. In 2018 I'm going to show up in time for the BBQ. Merry Christmas.
To Jeff Tidball - Your professionalism and enthusiasm for what we do is a joy to watch. Thank you for sharing your time and talents with this industry through both Atlas and GAMA. Your willingness to share your thoughts and ideas, and to listen to those of other people, is what this industry truly needs to be built upon. Merry Christmas, Jeff.
To Jules, Ruby, Carol, Bryan, and Aman - The more people I get to know at CMON, the more I love you guys. Having CMON move from a company that, I felt, sometimes worked against the interests of my business, to a company I think of as a trusted partner, has been one of the great joys of 2017. I look forward to continuing to work to sell your amazing products within my precious four walls. Thank you, and Merry Christmas to you all.
To Justin Z - Thank you for beautiful unpainted minis that have done so much revenue I feel like I should send you some chocolate for Christmas. Not only is your company providing me top-notch products, but your guidance in how people should deal with one another has been invaluable to our industry. Thank you for your time on the GAMA board, and for making us all better. Merry Christmas.
To Anne-Marie - Watching you work is a singular joy. I can see the tension leave people as they interact with you, and feel it myself, and it's amazing. Thank you for always sharing your concerns in a way that makes them make perfect sense, and thanks for being open to the solutions and seeing if they can work for you.
To Charles A - I think I lost our bet, sadly for both of us I imagine. Remind me I owe you $2 when we get to GAMA. Thanks for being such an awesome partner for retailers, and have a Merry Christmas.
To Scott G and Sara L - Thank you for making such a great effort this year to make sure that retailers were well-informed and coul