It's taken me a little over a week to catch up after what was a whirlwind four days of practically non-stop driving and tag including a tournament, an Ironman, a qualifier and a league, each taking place in a different state. It began last Thursday with what turned into a trimmed down tournament in Connecticut.
I've played at several Spare Time locations before, including this one in Bristol, CT, so when I heard they were hosting their first ever tournament and it would include playing on Rift (which is still my sentimental favorite, thank you FJ) I got on the phone with Jamie to try to get with a team. As of the day before the event there were five teams signed up (not too shabby for a first time event) so I took a half day off of work and hit the road for CT in time to get there for the evening competition.
At 5:00 my team was there including Mike and Emilio (both ready to do this and show off their skill) as well as Myranda who was a little more tentative and Brittani who was just happy to be on a team. I was glad to be joining them. I could tell the guys would step up for sure.
There was another team gathered around a couch in the lounge area. These were all guys in their late teens to early twenties and they looked like they were ready to take this seriously. And thank goodness for that because by 5:15 we were still the only two teams there and ready to go...not the best indicator for the remaining three teams.
Ultimately the rest of the teams failed to show up. I think the main reason this happened was because, in spite of having good advance sign-ups this site did not require a deposit or payment to hold anyone to it. They just took payments before we started that night. I've seen this happen so many times before...until someone has plunked down some cash they are not really committed to showing up and can't really be banked on. It's a shame, but at least there were two teams there so we could at least still play. Actually, this was a solid ten players, so I would not have minded if they opted to turn this into a solo competition, but we went forth as teams.
With only two teams we just jumped to finals which was to be best two out of three games. My team started on red. Since this is Rift there was no "signing in" to be done, so I just looked for the old faithful name I knew would be on a pack somewhere on the rack...my old friend, I played once again as Legend. :)
We went into the round cautiously at first, then moving in more aggressively as it became clear their strategy was a strong base defense. I used some sniper skills to pick off defenders and the other guys came in from the other side. We were playing well, but they were not intending to give up any base points...but I was intent on getting that base anyway. One guy from my team tagged an opposing defender out. I simultaneously got another and the third one guarding. That gave me the window I needed. I took my three base shots and deactivated it just as one of the guys came back up and got a shot off on me...but it was a split second too late. I got the base!
I was not sure (and looking at the scores I'm still not sure) if any of my teammates got a base considering that was the focal point of their whole defense. I know the other team didn't charge for ours until close to the end of the game and we held them off. When we left that round we heard the system say the red team won and I was flying high on that victory, as the other team really did put up a good challenge. I was also really pleased to see that my score was on top by a pretty decent margin.
Next round we switched sides. The other team put on a much more aggressive offense this time and we guarded our base more heavily. I was defending the right side where I could tag a player coming in from that side, but also snipe from one angle that gave a good sight line to the other side. I was constantly yelling out what was coming in on my side...I hope I didn't scare the girls on my team. I remember how intimidating I found loud "communication" from teammates I didn't know well when I first started.
In the end we won this game also (although I do give props to the other team who gave us a good fight) and that meant we had won the event, even though we could play out a third game if we wanted to for the fun it it. Jamie passed out the prizes and each player on my team got some game card cash as well as a couple of rounds of free tag. Plus they passed out stacks of coupons for discounted tag for everyone. I'm glad that Spare Time will honor these prizes at any location so I can use them next time I play in Clifton Park.
Despite being smaller than expected, this event was a lot of fun. I enjoyed playing with everyone there and I was glad to support their first effort hosting a tournament. I hope they plan more events like this and I would definitely like to return again. Thanks to Jamie, the staff and all the players for a great Thursday night out! When all was said and done I had to drive back to NY to work the next morning before setting out on my next tag adventure the next day...let the driving begin!
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