Saturday began with the GFL Young Guns event 2, and the Grid Fighters semi-pro division. The field set-up was smaller than usual, but perfect to demonstrate the sport to an unfamiliar passer-by. And, what could be better than little guys on the field, geared-up to the nines, screaming out positions from behind bunkers to attract tourist attention? We had a full crowd of spectators and family trying very hard not to coach their little ones from the sidelines. The GFL series, for those who are not aware, is a race-to-three, no-coaching-allowed series. This event saw the return of teams from previous events, and a few new ones were added, with players of even younger ages.
Team Innocence climbed up from second place to take the win at event 2. Points were fast, and the field did not leave any room for mistakes. The most aggressive team usually took the flag by taking the corners first, and then eliminating their mirrors. My most memorable moment of the day was the 1 vs. 3 won by a young player from team Convicts. His teammates, unable to make the starting gate in time, left him alone to fight for the point, which he did win in the most impressive way, strategically taking out his opponents one-by-one, while remaining completely unaware of the situation he was in. In the end, Innocence took first in their bracket, and GZ Crew once again won their bracket.
Sunday featured the GFL entry division, which, unfortunately, I cannot report on as in depth as I would like to, as I was gearing up for my own matches. With the top 5 teams in the current brackets fighting for first, matches were quick. Steam Rollers and Force Ten were able to get through all of their games fairly easily, until they met each other. Their last face off was the deciding factor in who would take home the prize. With a final score of 3 to 2, Force Ten took the win.
The main event of the entire weekend occurred when the Grid Fighters Pro division played their first ever official event. The teams who have been invited to debut the format this season are Toronto Hustle, Gatineau Altitude, Montreal FX, Cambridge Raiders, and Mississauga Semper Fi. Adrenaline-pumped games, from start to finish, ended up in ties for 3 of the 5 matches, for the first event. These highly unexpected results will definitely prompt the league to revise the target positioning and/or mechanisms for the next events. Nonetheless, player and spectator feedback has been amazing thus far. The response from the crowd, and their engagement during the action, was a true testament of this new formats potential.
Navy Kim is a well-known & respected Ontario-based paintball player, with international experience playing for the Femmes Fatales. Navy currently plays in the Grid Fighters Pro Division with Gatineaux Altitude, and in the MXL with Woodstock Semper Fi.