SC Village has paintball arenas representing Bosnia, Kuwait, Beirut, and Vietnam. For years, the place has hosted a big game every weekend called "Find Osama bin Laden."
Osama was found.
Now D'Egidio has found his next opportunity.
Starting next month, SC Village will open a paintball experience based on the Abbottabad compound where Bin Laden met his end. D'Egidio was already constructing an Afghan village — complete with marketplace — when news broke of Bin Laden's death. "We changed the design after that," he says. Now there will be a two-story "house," a lookout post, and pieces of a downed helicopter. "You'll have to go through one wall to get to another wall."
If you can think of a better example of the entrepreneurial spirit of capitalism at work, please surprise me.
The cost to build all this is close to $250,000, D'Egidio says, but the return on investment is expected to be dramatic. "The weekend after Osama was killed we had our biggest spike ever." He claims the average weekend crowd of 3,000 swelled to 5,000. "Our customers are patriotic ... we don't want to highlight someone getting killed, but American pride is up."
D'Egidio admits some Muslim friends have expressed concerns. "They think the music we're going to play in the background will be the Koran," he says. "We would never do that." He points out that another arena has a bombed out church, and he once played the Pope in a game even though he is Catholic.
So what's next? "We have our Navy SEALs School Summer Camp." SC Village is hiring former members of the military — though no actual SEALs yet — to teach kids things like "How to Clear a Room."
"How to CLEAN a Room" would be my preference for teaching kids, but who knows? There are still bad people in the world. Today's happy camper could be tomorrow's Medal of Honor recipient.
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