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Baltigeddon 2017

Playing in this year's Baltigeddon as part of Team Syracuse-ish was really a great time. Originally I had planned to be a free agent for this tournament, but no sooner did I mention it to Razz than we ended up with a full team. He picked the guys up in Syracuse, I left from my half day of work out towards Albany and we all met up Saturday morning at XP Lasersport in Owings Mills, MD.

Upon arrival at the center it was great to see some friendly faces even before meeting up with my team. I'm really glad that I've gotten to know tag players from all over the country, but I see some familiar faces each time there's an event in the mid-Atlantic region, which is cool. I chatted a bit with Marc and then joined up with my teammates who were already there including Razz, Ass, Zac, Zammy, Lenny and RNT.

We went over the schedule which would alternate Q-Zar and Storm games for the first half of the day and Tron and Tactical for the second half. Now, none of us have a great deal of experience with any of these formats (except RNT...I think we were all really glad to have him playing with us and coaching along the way) so we didn't necessarily have any real expectations other than to go in and give it our best.

First up was Q-Zar. We played red first and put on those packs that resemble football gear and headed for the Tron arena to face off with the Tron team, aka "Meat Sweats".

We playerd two back to back Q-Zar games against them and won both. What a great boost to have that happen right out of the gate. Meanwhile Teams Storm Drain and Free Points were playing their Storm rounds over in the tactical arena. When it was time to switch systems we lost the first Storm game, but won the next, so we were still feeling pretty good. More success when it was time to go back to Q-Zar (in spite of the fact we had no break in between and the first eight games were played entirely back to back) and we took our beating in Storm from the Storm team.

However after that we won our last two Q-Zar games and our last two Storm games!

At the halfway mark we had won 9 out of 12 games before lunch. It was a great feeling to have success like that early on in the tournament and I think everyone was feeling pretty good.

We got our dose of reality in the second half when we were thoroughly getting beaten down in Tron and Tactical. We lost a few of both before we gained any ground. Tron was the most physically demanding system and two of our players did sustain leg injuries. I believe Lenny may have dropped during one of the Tron games and still pushed onward and at some point Zammy had to ice his knee after a run in with one of the Storm players, but both powered through. We ended up winning the last two Tron games and I think this picture following our Tron victories speaks for itself.

And tactical was not my strong suit, but I did definitely appreciate it more by the end. We played a Captains format using Laser Tag Pro which is new equipment since the last time I played tactical here. I really kind of enjoyed it by the end when I started to do better. Laser Tag Pro uses a headband sensor system that feels way more sturdy and comfortable than the previous tactical equipment I had played.

You can look at the phaser and see it's sturdy, but it was also more lightweight than I would have expected.

The phasers were pre-programmed earlier in the day with our code names so we had to turn in before we started. At the time I was sitting down talking with Marc Mueller and Randall Meding when Zammy passed by. I asked Zammy to sign me up and he asked what name I wanted to use. I said Tivia and he said the registration might not be for just here, what would I like if that was taken. I smiled and said "It won't be. I'm sitting with Bhodi Li and if he's in there then there's no way 'Tivia' will be taken." I enjoyed the fact that I was with possibly the only two people in the place who could really appreciate the fact that Bhodi Li and Tivia were playing in this tournament together. :)

So, yeah, my code name was available and was programmed onto the phaser.

Fast forward to tactical outcome, we lost most of the games, but did pick up one win by the end. And maybe of equal significance was that I picked up an interest in doing that again. Tactical may not be my favorite, but I'd certainly welcome the chance to play again using Laser Tag Pro equipment.

After 24 nearly consecutive games the tournament was over an RNT asked me into the captains meeting. We confirmed the results and then everyone went upstairs for a little ceremony of sorts. Congratulations to Team Storm Drain for placing in first with 19 points/wins. Team Syracuse-ish was announced in third place. However, that doesn't really paint the whole picture. I'm really proud of us because we had wone 12 games...and the Meat Sweats in second place had won 13. That means we were one game away from tying for or possibly taking second and even though that didn't happen, I am ridiculously pleased with how close we came and how many successes we had.

For a team that came in without a lot of experience on these systems I think we all played hard, learned a lot and left stronger and better for having done this tournament. This was one of the most positive tournament experiences I've had and I know I personally felt like I gained a lot. I want to thank all of our team for playing with such heart and good attitudes. I was genuinely proud to be part of Team Syracuse-ish for Baltigeddon 2017.

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