16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

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16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby Rodolfo » Wed Nov 16, 2016 5:28 pm

Friends, kickoffers, countrymen…

I can hardly find the words for you to understand how wonderful this World Cup to me was. After missing Dublin and Copenhagen, due to some ugly real life stuff getting in the way, for the first half of this year I was thinking that I would have to skip this one too. It was not until June that I decided that I could, and therefore, I would make it.

Since the day I bought the flying tickets I had been impatiently waiting for November to come, and actually last week, still before arriving to Milan, I started feeling sad thinking that on the next week everything would already be over. I am just so good at negativity.

I arrived on Thursday, at midnight, and on Friday at the hotel breakfast it was a pleasure to begin to see some KOA faces. Specially one of my favourites, Mark Williams, who had agreed on visiting the Duomo with me. When I say “visiting whit me” I must confess that what I really mean is “taking me”, because I am still a little town boy a little afraid of getting in a big city public transport on my own. Besides that, I was sure he would be excellent company, as he was. We queued and queued, entered the impressive cathedral, and later walked around Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, and did a little souvenirs shopping. Right there, when we stopped to have some tea, we had the pleasure to find Lee and Mrs. Lee, who were also doing some tourism.

Later at the hotel the other KOAers begun arriving, and could enjoy again the emotion of saying hello to those friends and kickoffers who have been there for so long, and also, to greet the new faces. This WC edition had another special thrill for me: there would be a few countrymen attending! From the little contact I had had before, I was sure that I was going to like them, and that was confirmed immediately when I finally got to shake hands with Leo and Luis Astorri. I was delighted to see that from the beginning they were getting along nicely with everybody. The other one, Jaume, would arrive after dinner, and I realized right away that the positive reports I had received about him were all true.

Then we had the usual two days of tournament. I was quite sure that I would not be able to reach my favourite trophy, the Silver Cup, due to lack of practice and the abundance of high quality players, so my goals were to try to reach the top 20, and to finish in the highest position among the Spaniards. In the end, I finished 21st, exactly as I had been seeded, and could at least achieve goal number 2. I finished almost completely happy with my performance on Saturday, and not so happy for most of the Sunday, right until the very last 3 games, when unexpectedly my best form reappeared, and allowed to at least justify my seeding and put me where I more or less think I belong: in the middle class.

As for the other players, of course, my first words have to be for Thor. It is extremely remarkable that in a World Cup with five world champions attending, we could see the rise of a completely new one. Hats off to Thor! I believe that his victory is good for the KOA, and actually brings hope to those who want this adventure to continue (although I was rooting for Gianni :D ).

Among the new Spaniards, Leo was clearly the best. It is a pity that he and Luis had to leave on early Sunday, because along with other reasons, he would have played a decent role in the Silver Cup. Luis would have also enjoyed a good Bronze Cup fight, and perhaps we could have had an all Spanish final in that competition. Shame that Jaume could not make it to the trophy, in spite of a very promising start at the decisive match, but I believe that he liked the feeling of playing his first big screen game anyway. As long as they keep in touch with KOA competitions, it is sure that their game will improve a lot.

In my favourite competition, the Silver Cup, I had the joy of seeing my good Vasilis raising the winner’s trophy. To be honest, I think Frank would have had a bigger chance if they would have played the final, but what the f, Frank had to go home and Vasilis was still there, so hail to the new Silver Cup champion! Feel proud to hold the title that once belonged to Lee, the good Lorenzo, Mark Williams, Oliver, and a few other great great Kick Off 2 players.

Above all, there was a very good atmosphere in the excellent tournament room, with the usual Kick Off 2 sounds occasionally enhanced by some lovely cheers of joy, and mostly by brilliant cursing from Lee. We really need to have him and Thorsten in the same tournament room, and specially playing against each other.

In the end, when flying back home, I had the feeling that it had been wonderful, but not long enough. I had not socialized enough, I had not heard Robert talking enough, I had not drunk with Jorn enough, I had not been sitting beside Alkis enough... the roll could go on. However, the list of good things that happened to me in this World Cup is still amazing. Finding more Spaniards, seeing again Robert and Spyros, who had both disappeared for a longer time than me, rejoining with the best of the KOA such as Andy, Steve, Oliver and more, taking a walk with Mark, and above all being in the hands of Gianni, Alessandro and Sandro, who did all this huge work just for our satisfaction, and took care of every possible detail to keep us assisted and pleased all the time. All that made me happy and very grateful.

Yesterday, Tuesday, I was still happily singing gay show tunes most of the day (pity we missed the karaoke!). Definitely, it was not long enough. But perhaps it was perfect.
____________________________________

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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby Lee W » Wed Nov 16, 2016 6:06 pm

great write-up Rodolfo, was truly a pleasure to meet you, can't wait for next time!
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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby Freshmaker » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:22 pm

Perfect write-up Rodolfo. I do think I need to have a talk with you about my drinking-habits though... :lol:

And yes, I can SO feel that it's just taking AGES till the next world cup. :-/
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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby Logos » Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:27 pm

This will be a short but sweet summary:

I love you all, I love the KOA, I miss you all!!!!! I miss Milan!

Gianni, thank you my friend for your selfless hard work! You made our Christmas wishes come true!
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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby Torchiador » Thu Nov 17, 2016 10:44 pm

Lovely write-up Rod! thank you.
We need something to break in two a long year between a world cup and another one world cup.
I think a big international in May could help somehow! I really need to see you more than once per year.
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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby Robert Swift » Fri Nov 18, 2016 2:34 am

Rodolfo wrote:I had not heard Robert talking enough


This is a rare complaint. Unique, even.
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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby VKafiris » Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:14 am

Rodolfo wrote: In my favourite competition, the Silver Cup, I had the joy of seeing my good Vasilis raising the winner’s trophy. To be honest, I think Frank would have had a bigger chance if they would have played the final, but what the f, Frank had to go home and Vasilis was still there, so hail to the new Silver Cup champion!


Well said, thank you Rodolfo! It's a pity that Frank had to go and I look forward to the opportunity for a potential match-up vs. Frank in the future!
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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby Freshmaker » Sat Nov 19, 2016 7:19 pm

After living so far away for so long, one should think that I'm no stranger to long travels. However, after relocating to Denmark I've kind of gotten used to easy access to the continent. This year, however, should be a different story.

My travel to the World Cup started 1 week early, leaving home at 5 a.m. to go from Copenhagen to Tromsø, (northern) Norway for a week at work, then "directly" from Tromsø to Milan. However, directly from Tromsø is not an option, so I changed flights first in Oslo, then in Zürich, before I finally landed at Malpensa, late friday night. This also meant that I missed to Dinner & Draw (tm) for the first time in 12 years. Bummer...
However, on the good side, both Jaume and Vassilis was landing at about my time, both at Malpensa, and both at Terminal 1. Right Vassilis? :lolo: After 15 minutes on the phone, walking back and forth, searching for Vassilis and Letta, Vassilis finally found out that he was actually at Terminal 2. Good going Vas. :lolo: Jaume and I then hopped on a bus heading to Stazione Milano Centrale, where we'd try once more to catch up with Vas and Letta. On the bus I recieve countless messages on Whats App with updates on the draw, the groups etc. Thanks guys. Much appreciated :)
Upon arrival though, we got messages from Vas saying they'd actually decided to go by train, and the train broke down, so they had yet to leave Malpensa. Being the good guys we are, we then decided to just push on towards the hotel. Thanks to Jaumes and mine collective orientation-zkillz we got there safe and sound and in one try. And what a pleasure it was, seeing all these familiar faces waiting for us in the hotel-lobby!!!

We got checked in, and while Jaume is a smart fella, and decided to retire to his room, I am who I am, so I went with my roomie Mark, Rodolfo (great seeing your comeback dude!!!), Robert, Jacob and Alkis (if my memory serves me right (I was dead-tired, so I might be wrong...)) to a kind of local bar. However, after 1 beer it was obvious a week of close to no sleep was catching up with me, and I told Mark to take me home to our room.

Next morning was even further filled with joy. More and more people showed up, both at breakfast-time and especially as we entered The GameRoom. Aye, such a pleasure, both hearing the KO2-sounds and seeing all these familiar, loved faces. I was very happy to see Spyros had made his way to the World Cup, for the first time in many years. My last encounter with Spyros was 8 years ago, in Athens, so the pleasure was special. I was also very happy to see Peter S, who was the only one of the Osnabrück-guys to show up this year. I'm very disappointed with the 3 other guys from Osnabrück who stayed home. But Peter did good, carrying their flag.
Another german I was very happy to see was Peter K, who'd I met first, and last, in Birmingham '11. This time he'd brought Michael G, who I'd never met before, but he proved to be a very fun dude.
And then all the others, Gianni, Sandro, Lorenzo and Lorenzo, Mauro (whom I met in the Italian Champs this June, a very funny and friendly dude), Vassilis had shown up after last nights endevours, Steve Camber, Flavio, Dagh, Andy, Mr. and Mrs. Lee, Oliver, Cornelius, Ektoras, Alessandro, Michele, Mario, Fabio, Thor and Chris. And then it was the new guys, Luis and Leonardo from Ibiza, Florian and Olivier from France (Paris World Cup anyone???) and some italians I don't know properly; Andrea (probably the best looking man I've ever met), Denny, Maurizio, Koney (good luck with your new, pink t-shirt), Paolo.

Frank F. was missing, but was awaited to arrive after lunch.

Bring on the games!!!



As usual I started runty. I lost my first match to Michael G (damn that one goal he keeps on scoring, and my runty defense...). I followed up with what looked as a clear defeat to Leonardo as he was up 4-1 and 6-2 (damn those ko-lobs!!!), but suddenly I got a bit more friendly with my joystick and I got to put some fear into him, reducing to 6-5 with 1 minute to go. And what a cannonade I had on his goal those last 60 seconds... not that it worked out anyway, we ended at 6-5, but Leonardo seemed very pleased. Following that I had matches with Thor, Andy, Spyros, Jacob, Mark, all losses. I managed to give Mark some sort of competition, but he pulled away anyway. Spyros won easily, but he was definately not the force he once was. My match with Jacob was a good one, I performed well vs Andy, and got a severe hammering from The Viking World Champion Thor.
I finished off the group stage with comfortable wins over Flavio (6-1) and Andrea (7-1), barely going to the Silver Cup.

Both on saturday and sunday I'd chosen to skip to KOA-certified lunch, choosing to rather go incognito with Mark. This was a choice I did to be able to get some timeouts, as I came directly to the World Cup from 7 days of 24/7 work. Luckily though, we didn't get to go alone, as the (S)ex-World Champion Spyros decided to go with us, both days. Very nice. Quiet walk a couple blocks to a quiet little place, serving us paninis at our desire. A little bit of tranquility, before going back to the GameRoom.

I was also very happy to see not only MariaChiara, but also Gianni and Sandros mother joined us in the GameRoom during the afternoon. A pleasant reunion.

Saturday's dinner was a strange affair. We didn't understand much of the menu, so I guess we filled up on some of the starter-menu's, so when the main-dish finally arrived I was full... However, as I have no shame in my body I gave the pasta a try. I couldn't finish it though. I did finish my dessert though. ;)

When leaving the restaurant I had accepted my situation as dead tired, and was gonna go straight back to the hotel to go sleep. The two Peters was of a different opinion though, and reminded me that we'd agreed to go out, so Mark and I decided to go with them for a beer. Dead tired, we agreed to show up, have one beer, then quietly sneak out and head back to the hotel. Me knees was hurting like shit as well, so all I really wanted was to be left alone. Rodolfo tagged along as well.
Then we enter the bar. And it wasn't a bar. It was a club. It kind of reminded me of the Voodoo Bar from Cologne 11 years ago, just updated to today's standards. And standing round a high table was Peter S, Peter K, Florian and Andy. And they were totally hitting it. Rum and coke-drinks, the music was really good, and Mark and I agreed to have a drink rather than a beer. Rodolfo announced that the music was too loud for his ears, so he left. I got to the bar and orderet two Stormy Waters. We got served, and it was like the drink just vaporized. It was gone in an instant. As was my knee-pains. And my need to sleep. Party-mode activated!!! Peter S called it a night, but the rest of us stayed. We kept up with the Stormy Waters and Rum&Coke drinks, had our photos taken by the club's own photographer, had rum-shots on the house, it was just fu**ing great!!! Mark and I even had the "pleasure" of being inapropriately touched by a woman walking by...
And before long we bloody hit the dance-floor. Are you serious? Me? On a dance-floor? :lolo: :lolo:

Andy earned his title as The People's Champion, Peter K and Florian showed the people of Milan how to do the Joystick-Dance (geeky, not kinky...), and it was all just total fun. The KOA rides again!

----

Sunday. Breakfast was tortilla-chips, coke and a beer. Yup. We woke up a tad late, to messages on our phones telling us the games had started. Thanks to Peter K I got a cold beer, and could get my nerves under control. My early games on sunday I can't remember much of. I guess it was loss to Vassilis and a win over Olivier, but then after lunch I played Robert, and suddenly my game was on. With a fiesty combination of luck, 424, 532 and Lockout, and Robert having bad luck, I managed a 3-2 win. As Robert yelled to anyone willing to listen; A Kick Off Lob, a Penalty and a Fluke. Whatever, I take what I get, the game was tight, even though Rob was the agressive player, and I could really feel how that win boosted my moral by uncountable points. We even had a group of spectators. Fun! :) After that, my hands was shaking so bad I needed half an hour and a beer to calm down. Next match-up was vs Lee. My good friend, and of course, archenemy. Once again, I managed to stay ahead, combining with 424, 532 and Lockout, and the win was a fact. After Lee's outbursts ("Did you f**king use F**king Lockout on me??? Did you F**king Lockout me???") it felt quite natural to fire him up a bit more with answering that he got burned by The People's Lockout. My moral was close to peak-level. Yet my adrenaline-shakes didn't go down, and Cornelius was asking me if I was ready to play him.
Cornelius is a player much on my level, but he's a very hard opponent for me. Therefor I needed a bit of a calm down, and after a while we sat down to play. Once again, a very intense and close match. Battling back and forth, but it ended with a 3-3. And a draw was all I needed to go through to the Quarter Final of the Silver Cup, and to leave Cornelius behind. I was very pleased. My final game vs Mark was a loss.

My Quarter Final was vs Frank, and was a much closer battle than what I'd expected. 4-2 and 6-4 to Frank, much closer than what I played with Frank last time around, and the games was actually close. So, even though I lost, I was very pleased. Of course, just hanging out with Frank was also a pleasure, and I'm glad he promised he was definately coming back next year.
Then I played Mark, and our reslut shows clearly we were getting tired. 1-0 and 4-4. The first match was most likely one of the most boring matches ever played in a KO2 World Cup. My final match was vs Michael G, where we were equal after two matches, equal after extra-time, and we had to go to penalties. He had a save, and that was it. I'd found my place in the final standings. However, the match with Michael was very exciting, and both at full-time of regular time in our second match, and at full-time in extra-time, he scored in the dying second, securing he was still in the game; and as said, it ended with him winning the penalties.
And so, a really fun World Cup was over for me. But I had still the funniest thing yet to happen.

We're looking at the big-screen-matches. I'm seated in a group with Mark, Alkis and Robert. Alkis digs up some knitted bracelets, in green, with Kick Off 2 written in the knitting. He gives one to me, one to Mark, one to Robert. We thank him, and Mark asks him where he got them. Alkis answers in a whisper:

"From a 16 year old girl I found on the Internet"

:lolo: :lolo: :lolo:

Then the finals passed, Thor won a WELL DESERVED and fantastic victory. When he was facing Gianni in the final I really thought he'd hit the wall, but that second leg was just amazing. The Viking World Champion was crowned.

Pizza on sunday night was a real pleasure. The food was good, the company was excellent. Some of us tried to find a place to have a final beer, but all was closed.

Monday was time to say goodbye; Mark left in the morning, and I spent the day walking the area around the Duomo with Jacob, chatting about our plans of offering to host the next years World Cup. More on that later.

To finish up:

Thank you Gianni, Allesandro, Sandro, Steve Camber, Alkis, everyone taking part in hosting on one level or another. Also thank you to MariaChiara for letting Gianni do this for us, even though they had their second child just a month before the World Cup. And to Gianni's mum for helping out as well. Grazie mille, and see you next year. :)

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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby Abyss » Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:29 am

A KOA World Cup :)

All these years I was away, I knew it was fun and i always felt a bit jealous for not being able to come.

To be honest, my absence was partly because it was getting a bit more difficult to come, due to real life circumstances, and partly (and that's a greater part) because the hunger for playing KO2 has been diminished for me. Maybe it's time to take up something less extreme... knitting anyone? But I digress, KO2 is still a special game for me and the KOA World Cups are among the best weekends of the year - a lovely trip back in time, feeling both new and familiar.

I really liked the organization with things like a very good value for money hotel, a comfortable tournament room in the hotel, enough hardware to compensate for failures, superb game room video coverage and even a rigatoni draw! Little glitches like the Sunday delay due to people leaving of the world's slowest food service(tm) on Saturday's dinner did little to diminish the fantastic work of the organizers. There's a lot of effort for this result and we are grateful.

I didn't expect much in the way of KO2 success and 6th place seems undeserving to me - I believe there were around 10-12 better players than me in this world cup. A combination of a good draw and some focused games against Alessandro, Chris and Andy gave me this. To be honest though, I feel like a KO2 fossil nowadays :)

Of course KOA world cups are not only about the game, but mostly about the people and, as always, it was great to see the old (and getting older!) familiar faces and meet the new ones. Ibiza anyone?

@Rodolfo: Quality! Muchas gracias por el jamon! I totally forgot to give you the money - lo siento.
@Jorn: The cool force from the North and KOA's favorite Ovaltine whore!
@Andy G: A top fella and the people's champion indeed! The toughest challenge Thor faced on his way to the top, and a player I love to play against.
@Gianni: So much organizer pressure and yet, the final boss of Milan almost pulled it through! Take care of your lovely family Re.

It's great to have a new champion and Thor totally deserved it, facing all the greatest threats to his throne and defeating all participating previous world champions.

Big Kudos to the Greek Team not only finding our way to the airport, but also managing to fill the car's gas tank. We are all winners!

Last, but not least, I want to thank everyone that participated in the lifetime achievement award given to me - it's the only way to leave World Cups with trophies nowadays! Many thanks - it's greatly appreciated.
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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby Rodolfo » Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:58 am

I never asked for any money! It was a very small effort compared to mine and everyone else joy of having you back :)

Remember, room temperature, use your fingers, try it along some dry sherry wine and the picos.
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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby Freshmaker » Mon Nov 21, 2016 12:00 pm

Thank you for your write-up Spyros. I just hope you'll find the urge to attend also future World Cups :)
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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby alkis21 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:23 pm

I'm not doing a long report, as I want to save my inspiration for alkis.org.

I had a blast, as always. My biggest regret was obviously my sore throat which prevented me from joining as many conversations as I wanted. And like Rodolfo said, it felt like it was over faster than ever, I hardly had the time to talk to my best KOA friends.

Things did not begin very smoothly. Ektoras called me on Friday morning to say he couldn't find his joystick. Then he had trouble approaching my house with his car, because there was a street market. When I got in, he realized that we only had gas for 10 kilometers (the airport is 25 kilometers away)! He said he believed we'd make it if he drove slowly, but logic prevailed and we exited the highway to find the nearest gas station.

My favorite place out was the pizzeria on Sunday evening, not only because the food was great but mostly because it was quiet enough for us to talk. But I loved all our social gatherings.

As far as the actual games are concerned, I played well on Saturday, only blacking out against Mario. Then on Sunday morning I played some friendlies and I felt like my good form would continue. I don't know what happened to me afterwards, I broke every single negative record I could: I had never lost 8 matches of Kick Off 2 in a single day, I had never remain goalless in a world cup match before, I had never finished so low in a league. I just couldn't play. Shit happens, and I'm sure I'll bounce back from that. I vow never to go so unpracticed again.

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Some random names that come to mind:

Spyros: I never thought he'd travel to another world cup again, so good to see him back in action. He's also as silent a roommate as you can imagine. But who gave him the right to perform better than me?

Robert: I hadn't seen him since Birmingham in 2011, and yet it was just like the old days. He pissed me off so much I kicked a chair! :lolo:

Thor: I was so impressed by him, he was very nervous in the group stage but the moment he beat Dagh in the last match he felt invincible and it showed.

Jacob: He's getting better every year, maybe we haven't seen the best he can do yet.

Lee: He got caught up in the middle of a nasty KOA war last year and we weren't so nice to each other. But all that was forgotten and I really enjoyed spending time with him and his lovely fiancee.

Gianni: No disrespect to the likes of Dagh, Gianluca, Andy or Thor, but I believe that if Gianni didn't take up so many responsibilities in world cups, especially with the software, he'd have a couple more titles today.

Vasilis: Dartford 2001 was like yesterday. The only Greek guy who ever witnessed me win a world cup!

Ektoras: He was kind enough to give me a ride from/to my house, and drive our rented car during the weekend. We had some funny moments!

Florent, Olivier, Leo, Luis: Not only did we have new players, but from France and Spain no less! I hope we'll see more of them.

Some memorable quotes and incidents:

(while I was lamely blaming my atrocious performance on my laryngitis)
Spyros: Dude, it's not like we brought you here to sing.

Robert: Don't go to someone's country and kick their chair.

(right after Thor's victory in the final)
Christopher: Of course I'm happy for him! I taught him everything he knows!

(that was on Facebook actually, but it made me laugh so hard) :
Gianluca: Four players from Spain and two from France? Did I miss something?
Jorn: Yes. The world cup.

(after receiving his Lifetime Achievement Award)
Spyros: You're running out of people to give it to, aren't you?

See you again in 12 months, guys.
Remember, remember, the 4th and the 3rd of November
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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby thor » Tue Nov 22, 2016 2:31 am

alkis21 wrote:(right after Thor's victory in the final)
Christopher: Of course I'm happy for him! I taught him everything he knows!


What he meant to say was: "Beating me thousands of times prepared him for this moment!" :D
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