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Users North American Challenge (NAC)


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Well, as promised, I'm going to give a story about my trip as a whole.  I'll probably do it in parts, like how Asper did his.

I'm a member of Toronto's NAC team or, more specifically, a groupie.  I practiced with Toronto on a weekly basis for the past several months and have been on prior NAC teams with these members over the past few years. I was not technically a playing member of this team this year because of eligibility rules (which are completed retarded) but I would be by no means the worse player on this "stacked" team and am currently an upper tier tournament player amongst the ranks.  Many of the members on Toronto's team I have known personally since 2005.  Toronto East (TSA) was one of the teams favoured to win the biggest Laser Tag tournament out there and there were very high expectations coming into this t tournament for us.  Our roster was more powerful then last years (where we came 2nd) and the defending champs (North Richland Hills out of Dallas) had lost arguably their best player.  Most of the team arrived before I did since I didn't get to leave until Friday evening AND my flight had some....interesting issues. O_o

Competitive laser tag has been my main hobby since 2005 and I've been to many places which I never would have expected to visit as well as met some amazing and interesting people.  Sometimes I can consider the LQ community and their actions (whether online or IRL) to be on par with furries when it comes to nerdiness or weirdness at times. :P

Friday Night:

I was expecting this to be a typical flight from Toronto to Chicago with no delays or problems.  My flight boarded at 5:40 pm and left at 6.  Despite my frequent traveling this was my first time flying out of Toronto's Pearson International in more then 4 years because since then I've always made a habit of driving to Buffalo NY and flying out from there because it's considerably cheaper.  Thus I was a little apprehensive because of the horror stories I've heard about the extra security at Pearson in the last few years.  However, it was nothing really out of the ordinary and since I had a NEXUS card I bypassed the customs line, went straight to a terminal where I got my eyes scanned, then proceeded to get checked personally by security along with all the other passengers.  Typical security check through X-ray/metal scanners so no biggie.

Terminal 1, which was the newest terminal at Pearson International Airport, was extremely visually appealing.  Easily one of the nicest and cleanest terminals I've ever visited out of about a dozen or more airports.

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Even the departures and arrival monitors were pretty high end - although my blackberry camera failed at capturing the quality.  I chuckled to myself at the fact that I've been to about half the cities on the two departure terminals.  My flight was AC511 heading to Chicago.

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It had some pretty high end restaurants and shops to buy things at, even though I personally don't buy from airport stores.

My flight was from Air Canada, and I hadn't flown in one of their places since the last time I flew out of their Toronto (January 2006 en-route to Las Vegas).  Their newer planes are by far the nicest planes I've ever seen.  They not only had monitors where you could watch T.V. shows/movies/documentaries/music stations, etc,  but cute flight attendants as well.  This was something I couldn't say for most other airlines.  All in all, the plane felt like a nice living room as opposed to a cramped dirty space. I appreciated the comfort especially because that is when the problems started.

My flight took off okay, but as it approached Chicago the Captain said we would be in a holding pattern over O'hare and we couldn't land. I was even more perplexed when she said we would be diverting to Milwaukee and was upset when we were apparently returning to Toronto.  At the time I didn't know what was happening but O'hare was actually closed for a couple of hours because of severe thunderstorms.  The state had anywhere from 7 to 12 inches of rain in that one day - flooding people's houses. The flight was originally only an hour and a half, but instead of getting in at 6:30 pm local time I got in at 11:00 pm because not only did we have to fly back to Toronto, but we were stuck on the tarmac for about 90 minutes while dispatch was figuring out if they should sent us again or keep us overnight in Toronto.  I really hoped I could arrive in Chicago that night because if they sent us the next morning it would f*ck over a lot of things that I won't list here. 

Eventually, I arrived in Chicago at 11:00 and was forced to pay $40 for a taxi to my hotel.  When I arrived LQ players from Toronto and Detroit were surprised to see me, thinking that I wasn't going to be able to make it in time due to the severe f*cked up weather.  Teams had already finished their warm-up/practice games by around 11 pm so most of them were either eating and drinking, hanging out, or doing whatever for the night.  The tournament started at 9:30 am the next day so many players weren't getting drunk or anything (they did that Thursday night lol).

The hotel itself was pretty nice - not the best I've stayed at but by far not the worst.  Typical Hilton Garden. The rooms were pretty sweet too.

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I got some early sleep since the tournament started early the next day, but that's when things took a turn...for the interesting!  :shock:

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that has to suck...going all the way back to square one.

so who won?

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that has to suck...going all the way back to square one.

so who won?

I'll be getting to that when I post about Day 3 :P

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Wow, that's one nice hotel.....and some annoying air travel! :P

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I'll be getting to that when I post about Day 3 :P

tease :lol: now you're making me have to read the whole thing  :trollface:

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Now that is one nice hotel. The best one I've stayed in was a Comfort Suites. :)

Yeah, looks like a penny pincher's worst nightmare :lol:

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Guest FoXXX

I guess the flight attendants were worth the extra $$$ :P Sucks though that you had so many problems, but everything turned out alright. :)

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Saturday Morning:

The hotel room beds were quite comfortable so I was able to get a good nights sleep.  It also helped since no one from TSA were getting wasted that night.  We woke up around 8:30 am or so and after a quick breakfast we arrived at the center for the captains meeting and opening ceremonies.  Before that however I needed to rush back to the hotel with 3 shopping bags and fill them full of ice for the $100 or so of energy drinks that we needed to buy.  TomTime?!? here is busy loading up the shopping cart with things like Powerade, Red Bull, and other edible things like fresh produce.

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And here he is riding the shopping cart down the parking load towards the mini-van where we set up our "base of operations"

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On top of that through the day we seemed to have a personal film crew of sorts going around taking pictures and video interviews for a documentary they were doing about competitive laser tag.  They were from LA and apparently had a lot of high level contacts.  These guys weren't only at the tournament itself, but in our hotel rooms, private meetings, and restaurants.  They were pretty cool individuals, I recognized one of them from last year in Vegas.

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The opening ceremonies went smoothly, with all the corporate big wigs giving their usual speeches.  National anthems were sung and everything seemed to be going smoothly, until it was realized that a team from Ohio wouldn't be showing up.  To maintain the integrity of the schedule a group of alternates were selected from all the teams on a volunteer basis and I ended up on this "alternate team" composing of players from different centers.  I was also nominated the Captain of this last minute group on recommended from high level players and one of the corporate executives because I was most powerful individual on that team and I had the leadership compatibility to be a team Captain.  I was happy to help, but I knew it would require a LOT of organization and responsibility from me throughout the tournament.  Furthermore, it would somewhat conflict with the rest of TSA now technically I was on two teams. >_> It was also an advantage for the alternate team though because I was able to get intel regarding packs from TSA for the Alternates and I knew we were going to do poorly compared to the rest of the teams. Two elite players on a team of 11 (myself and Mush from NRH) can only get your team so far considering the rest of the team was pretty bad. I also wanted to play fair and try to get everyone on the Alternate team an equal number of games but was not allowed to play someone in a game if it meant they playing their home team.  >_>  As captain, it was annoying to try and figure out who I was allowed to play against which teams WHILE trying to get everyone an equal number of games.  >_<  In the end however, despite some delays, the furry managed to accommodate everyone. :)

TSA (Toronto) were the favorites (and knock off the defending champs) to win this tournament and we knew it.  Expectations were very high for us considering all the smack we were talking on the forums prior. This team has players on it with countless tournament victories all over North America and some have been playing since the mid 90's.  This is considered an all star team from Canada of sorts.  We leaved nothing to change and were determined to go into every game we played and crush the living crap out of every team that opposed us. 

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Toronto team huddle

TSA's first game started at around noon...so stayed tuned for what happened the rest of Saturday night!  :shock:

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