Finally I can get near a computer with time to type something. It seems I have this opportunity only at work....
This will have to be in summary form, due to lack of time.Pre-tournament Events
- Really enjoyed my 2 days' holiday with the Milanese. Even if Gianni is the slowest man in the universe. ANDIAMO GIANNI! I think everyone had fun even if the 5 mile hill walking caught Alessandro and Valentina unprepared (be careful Alessandro!) and there were some unintended slides. I am happy to do this tour again if you want to see more of the Real England; next time we can maybe go to the Lake District. Sorry about the cazzo di frega but it is winter here and we got some nice pictures in the snow and ice. Also I've been very content eating MC's cookies and drinking espresso. I hope that mini bites will soon make their way into Italian shops. They seemed to be popular.Friday Night
- Strangely, when Panayotis arrived an hour late at 11.30pm, it was not time to go out to a restaurant, in a large group, for dinner and beers, followed by playing friendlies until 4am. I think he didn't take too kindly to the instruction to go to bed, and also the discovery that the bed would also have John Hogstrom on it.....plus this all seemed to be a surprise and a disappointment. "I don't read the forum" he said, which resulted in a brief verbal punishment from myself (for which I apologized the next morning). John and Panayotis found great pleasure in winding me up; but about 1am when I was still running around collecting equipment and loading/unloading the car, I think they started to realize just how much I had to do. Next morning and next day they were both very helpful.Tournament morning
- Everything went to plan and we got a good selection of food. Panayotis was very happy to be in charge of food, and John very happy to be in charge of money! Miraculously I had managed to get 9 Amigas set up in the room (and maybe even 10 was theoretically possible) making this a really useful room, that has not seen its last ever KO2 tournament... Everyone did their duty and turned up on time, except for the mysteriously absent Martin Beard. James was furious and this seemed to run into his first few games which he lost and complained he wanted to go home. Luckily the (famously brittle) Beard morale seemed to recover and he enjoyed the rest of the day. Despite us all keeping to the 10am start, the Amiga that Panayotis and I were using developed a fault immediately and had to be replaced; all the Amigas that replaced it seemed to have problems of their own, as well, so eventually we were down to 8 Amigas.Tournament afternoon
- We seemed to be running a bit late after 12pm and it appeared my worst fears (about missing real football) might be recognized. But then, after shouting at people a lot about "empty amigas" (Andy H/E suggested I just get a t-shirt saying EMPTY AMIGAS) it appeared that people got the idea and kept the games moving nicely. By 4pm we were on target and by 6pm we had finished a little ahead. What's better was that people took their food breaks intelligently and the speed of games was unaffected. I don't suggest that every tournament is run like this with 24 matches and the sense of hurry, but it shows that the plan was possible and I think it's a great achievement for all of us. I even had time to resolve an issue of the hotel overcharging Dagh for an invisible person in his room (sorry Thorsten for the interruption this caused in your game with Glenn).Tournament Matches
- Only three notable ones for me that went against expectations. First, a win over John H. These are always pleasant. After he'd predicted me in 12th and him in 4th, it was great to beat him and finish adjacent in the table. Second, 6-5 loss to Simon K from a keeper fumble on kick off routine in the last second of injury time. Yes, it was as bad as it sounds. Simon is already one of the moaniest KO2 players I know, always complaining about his bad luck, so hopefully this will teach him to count his blessings! Third standout result is the loss to Andy G. It reminded me of a game I had last year in Milan with Luca F - new opponent, totally underestimated him, and found myself leaking 7 goals without adequate response. Next time I play him (and I hope it's soon) I will require a completely different approach and a better attitude than the one that I should play my normal game and beat him just because he's new, normally plays online, and has a borrowed joystick... no doubt about it, he's a good player. These are the three standout games and pretty well everything else went with the rankings. Draws with Steve Evil and Alessandro felt like a point each gained, given their form. Overall, it seemed I had my harder opposition loaded onto the first half of the day, plus all my team B games first, so I didn't pay attention to the table until late on. The final run in was very satisfying with 6 straight wins and tough 3-2 wins ground out over Garry and James, allowing me to catch a reasonable 10th place from James but not quite catch John in 9th. I think that if I had been on my 'best' best/top form then it might have been possible to finish higher but given the quality of opponent, even finishing 10th is good. It's very rare that I finish so low down a table - don't think I have ever been 10th in any league - and this says a lot about the quality of this tournament. Especially when competent players like the Andy's are beaten black and blue with just a couple of wins apiece. Congrats to Dagh on his win, of course; I didn't see the game as I had started to clear up. Real football
- It was very hard to find this location and only a phone call and an Italian TomTom got us there at all. The game was fun and we got a full 90 minutes (or at least it felt like it the next day!) England were a lot better than normal, but then so were ROW who paraded their new signings, Klaus and Gleninho. Although Will got 4 goals for us, Glenn scored at least 10 back. I really enjoyed the level of violence in this game....it was more like Speedball 2! And what's nicer is that nobody had a loss of cool or argument.... everyone took the physical side in a nice KO2 community spirit.Meal
- Great to meet up with everybody - again it's a relief that everyone found the location (sorry that all the roads in Luton were CLOSED since I researched and planned this tournament). The Beefeater seemed a good choice and everybody had more food than they could eat. Nice to catch up better with Pedro and Alex. Great to finally see Pedrophile at a tournament along with his really nice and friendly family. Hopefully this isn't the last.... Sunday
- Panayotis went to see Sherlock Holmes and John read his book so this gave me the 3 hours I needed to begin the clear-up and unpacking of cars and washing of clothes/towels..... there is always a huge domestic mess caused by these things. Evening was really nice with a meal in the local pub, some beers, and then an excellent 3-way friendly tournament running to 3am: Result; Robert 6 wins, Panayotis 6 wins, John 4 wins. Great to get two wins in penalty shootouts.
I think the other two really enjoyed these friendlies too, and hopefully Panayotis understands now why this food/friendly combination was possible on Sunday pm after the tournament and not 11.30pm on Friday the night before getting up at 7.50am to start the event.Conclusion
- This was incredibly draining but the satisfaction of bringing everyone together was worth it. Great to see Pedro make his debut and to see Klaus/Glenn make their return. Now I look forward to attending some plug-and-play tournaments that will (hopefully) be Milan International, UKC (hopefully organized by KOBRA), and the World Cup (probably in Austria). I am not sure that a London Tournament of this size can be an annual event; it was 60% of the work of organizing a World Cup and I still want to make sure that everyone prioritizes the World Cup - I don't want this tournament to reduce or distract attendance from that AT ALL - the opposite, I would like it to help increase interest and participation in travelling to play KO2.
Officially the best UK Kick Off player living outside the UK.