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The Tournament That Really Wasn't

I have debated for a few days what to say about my trip to Wilmington, NC. I was signed up for a local tournament that I had played in previously (and won) last year with a respectable turnout of members and players coming out to compete for it at that time. This year I thought it would be fun to return and play it again when I discovered that the event would be held on the same weekend I was already traveling down south. So I detoured and got on a plane from Alabama headed for North Carolina.

I will say it was a fun time and I’m glad that I went regardless, however the participation dropped WAY off from what it was the last time I was here…and in fact it continued to drop off even from the time I called from the plane to confirm that this event was still going on (hey, as a Syracuse player I have learned the hard way that you have to check on these things before you just show up).

Well, when I called from the plane to check I was told there were nine players signed up. OK, smaller than last time, but still enough to play…(cue the ominous laugh of fate). By the time I showed up though there seemed to be some question about whether everyone was going to show up. I don’t know what the reason was, but by the time the event was set to start the field of players had dropped all the way down to three. Yep, three. So I’m having trouble calling this a “tournament” at this point. Suddenly it had morphed into just a chill night of tag with some prizes at the end.

So we played. I must say the other players, Hart and Matthew, were both VERY good. So I give them a lot of credit and this was significantly better competition than you would think. We played four game formats.

The first was supercharge. I threw the gauntlet down hard in that game. Then we moved on to some Shadows (I’d been practicing), Dead Aim (more on that in a minute) and Gladiator. So I guess I was on point when I was predicting which formats to work on at my home arena.

Our level of competition was pretty evenly matched and these games were all incredibly close…except for one. Dead Aim. Now, this has become one of my favorite formats (as I told GB, “Dead Aim is my jam”), but something weird happened here that I can’t explain. Because of the limited shots my M.O. is to take out at least one base right off the bat. But for some reason when I put three shots into the base it didn’t register. And I had to do this more than once as the game continued and my pack alerted me “don’t forget the base”, but somehow I was unable to deactivate either base. Now, please understand that I am very aware of the normal things that could prevent this such as if I was shot while tagging the base or simply not having sufficient shots…but this is not what happened initially. I will say that, yes, those things did come into play later in the game, but this does not account for the oddity I am describing. I did NOT suddenly forget how to play tag or how to fire three shots directly into a base…and yet, I can’t explain why or how they didn’t register. Ultimately that ended up costing me significantly as I came in last in that round in spite of it normally being one of my stronger formats. Sigh…frustrating, but from a pragmatic standpoint we were just playing for fun at that point, so I had to just suck it up and let it go.

I won the final game of Gladiator (and here’s a great example of how close it was between the three of us)…

But ultimately the game of Dead Aim cost me too many points to make up, so I ended up in second place overall.

Congratulations to Matthew for taking first. Since the first place prize was a $50 gift card to use at the center it wasn’t that big of a loss because I'd be headed back for NY the next morning and wouldn't have been able to use it anyway. I won some free passes and a $30 arcade card that they were kind enough to swap out for a t-shirt instead so I had a nice souvenir to take back with me. And no matter what, I just love to play tag, so even though this wasn’t the “tournament” I was expecting, it was still worth making a trip back to North Carolina and I’m glad I got to enjoy some tag at this center.

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