Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tecmo Madison X: The Gannonball Run

I went to bed extremely late on Thursday night and couldn't sleep in lieu of Tecmo Christmas that is the annual Madison tournament.  I was awakened by my son at quarter til six and for the first time ever took him to the bus stop.  See, nothing bad at all about Tecmo.  Anxiously awaiting text messages and Tweets from the 513, daboy8821 arrived in Naptown from Louisville.  Shortly after, the Chrysler Town and Country a.k.a the Vogt Van arrived and years of geometry fail ensue as we strategically tried to fit two television sets, Nintendo, along with all our luggage, ahake21, 513boy4life, bigmv54, vogtcd11, daboy8821, and myself into the van.  After the workout and maneuvering we decided that one set and Nintendo would have to suffice as ahake21 took the wheel.

Six plus hours of driving magically turned into what felt like a two hour trip as bigmv54, vogcd11, daboy8821, and I played several games.  The 13 inch CRT TV/VCR combo was wedged in between the driver and passenger seats resting a top the armrests.  On the first big turn we almost lost it, but after that it was smooth sailing.  The only hiccup was the picture swayed from side to side occasionally like waves in the sea and the color would bleed shades of red, green, and blue.  Games were competitive and fun.

We stopped for gas at a gas station called Hucks Down so bigmv54 could dump.  We all picked up some grub.  Each one of us was asked by a very flamboyant cashier if we wanted a bag of chips in a very feminine tone.  Three of the workers spoke the same way. This would be a catch phrase for the entire trip.  Back on the road, and more games to be played.  Vogtcd11 took the wheel and a relieved bigmv54 rode shotgun as ahake21 and 513boy4life could get in some games.  The next stop saw daboy8821 take shotgun and I drove the rest of the way to the infamous Super 8 on Hayes Road.

When we arrived, ahake21, daboy8821, and I stayed in room 215.  The three Vogt brothers stayed in 315.  We went down to room 134 where some gaming action was taking place and saw that Gats is indeed real.  After a quick stay at the Super 8 the Vogt Van headed to the Badger Bowl for registration.  Loved the T-shirt this year.  My favorite from the four I have attended.  We also received a Miller Lite Pilsner glass and purple bracelets with Tecmo X #eatshitorenga.  I will note that it was decided that we would register, say hello to some people, and we would be out.  Five out of the six of us (not me) ended up playing games.  During this time I met Bruddog. Very cool guy.  So glad he made the journey out.  Appreciate everything you have done for hacking Tecmo Super Bowl. 

I also was able to get Butt Douglas to autograph my copy of The Book of Tecmo I purchased online a few days before the trip.  Another down to Earth guy who is there for the camaraderie.  I can't wait to read this.  The 30 minute swing by turned into two hours. Some of us started to order food.  I ordered nachos.  35 minutes.  I had to ask for them as well.  Tasted like it came out of a refrigerator.  After leaving the Badger Bowl we stopped at a liquor store and picked up some goods.  Adult Strawberry Milk 20% by volume. Delicious indeed.

We headed back to the Super 8 ordered pizzas and met up with tecmodell42, LuckyTool, and KampHuna8. So glad to finally meet KampHuna8. Just as I pictured him.  Really laid back and there for the ride.  Vogtcd11 set up Twitch to stream the games and set up a Challonge bracket for the Pre Tecmo X Chrysler Town and Country Super 8 9-Man Tournament.  I drew ahake21 and played a back and forth Dolphins/Chiefs game.  A fumble was the difference.  In this tournament the loser of the previous game called the next games matchup. A coin toss determined who got choice of team.  On to the losers bracket.  In the losers I was supposed to play O'Toole, but he gave his spot to Jeff B. (made the final four last year).  I was able to win in a T.B./DET game.  Next round I played KampHuna8 in a Redskins/Vikings call.  I was the Redskins and played ground and pound with Byner. I think he had like 240 yards or something.  In the next game daboy got scared and left so I won by forfeit.  My next game was against tecmodell42. Hake called Rams/Bengals.  Odell took the Bengals.  I exploited the Bengals secondary by avoiding Fulcher. On to the semifinal game versus bigmv54. I was able to beat him in the van on the way up but had nothing go my way in this game.  Joey and MattyV played for the championship as I took 3rd.  When I get time I will add this to my sig.

When I went back to my room I snuggled with Hake on our king size mattress on a double bed.  Woke up the next morning and had some yummy waffles at the Continental breakfast.  Ate with Kevin Cabarello. I love this guy.  Met him at the last 3-4 tournaments we've played.  After breakfast Hake and I went to a gas station to get him some ear buds. Cashier had one pair in a special drawer behind the counter.  W... T... F.  On our way back to the hotel we did an illegal U-turn on the high way and some old fart got pissed and honked.  Had to get the blood pumping a little before the tournament I suppose.  We then picked up the crew and head to Tecmo X. In the parking lot we met up with Erik M. (arncoem). Love this guy as well.  His buddy Cuban Tecmo had to drop out due to the flu. Weird not seeing the Jason mask at the tournament.

The Badger Bowl was packed.  We arrived in the cabin room and were there just in time to watch opening ceremonies which included a video montage of L.T. crushing opponents.  I found my way to group 14, a.k.a the pool of death, a.k.a. Blood Bath Bowl, a.k.a. WTF made this pool?  I will note that with 256 people, making sure no one is paired with people they came with, and properly assessing previous records it is impossible to avoid this.  Just sucks I was in one this year.

The #8 seed was Steve P. from Boston.  Right here is where it is deceiving.  While he posted a previous 1-7 record in tournament play, all of his losses were to quality players and his point differential was a positive number!  I played Steve at Midwest this year and had to come back to beat him.  In the very first game he had the #1 seed Rico R. (Ryan33fulcher) down 10-13 in a Cardinals/Steelers matchup.  Rico had the ball on the 2 yard line with 2 seconds remaining.  Instead of electing for the FG he goes for it and gets the win.  This was the indication for how Group 14 would play out the early part of the day.

My first game was against the #7 seed Matt C. (GameHigh). After doing some TPC scouting, I noticed he never uses lower tier teams.  I got the toss and called a Packers/Saints matchup. I actually like playing with both of these teams, but this would not be my game.  He took the Saints.  On my first drive on a 3rd and 7 I had several open receivers, including a wide open Sterling Sharpe which probably would have resulted in a touchdown.  Instead that first possession results in a punt after a blocked pass at the line of scrimmage.  In my opinion, this was such a game changer.  On his next possession, he scored.  My next drive was going really well until Woodside fumbled away and the Saints drive to make it 0-14 at halftime.  In the third quarter the Saints are held to a FG and are up 0-17.  I switch Sharpe to WR2 and went to plan B.  Chuck it.  With two minutes left in the game Sharpe caught his second diving CC to make it 14-17.  When I went to onside kick, I accidentally kicked it full with no chance of recovering.  Used my timeouts, but couldn't get the ball back to have a chance to win.  Well-played game by Matt.  He had 194 yards on 27 rushes.  I couldn't shake the blockers and couldn't get any picks despite holding the Saints to 0 passing yards.

I will admit that the pressure was on knowing the pool I was in.  I had to win out to make the big bracket.  I did not want to miss for the first time in four tries.  My second game was against Frank M. I won the toss again and went extremely safe and called Chargers/Lions.  The plan worked as I got the Chargers, but things continued to not go my way.  I start this game down 0-10 after losing a Butts fumble in red zone.  I get a score before half and get the ball after halftime.  My offense started clicking in the second half despite three dropped open passes by Charger receivers.  My defense became stout forcing punts and TODs.  Once I got up big he was forced to pass only and it got worse from there.  Final score was 31-10.  Butts ran for 273.

My third game was against Aaron T. of Illinois.  I found out this guy was 18 years old and has been playing since he was 12.  This was by far my toughest game of the day.  I won the toss again and went safe with a Chargers/Broncos matchup. A little surprised, he took the Broncos.  Neither player’s offense could be stopped.  I was fortunate to get the ball at half.  In the fourth quarter it was 21-21 and on a 3rd and 13 I had to reverse the entire field to get a clutch first down which resulted in a score 28-21.  His final drive ended with a desperation throw for an INT which was the difference.  Well played sir.

My fourth game I played Steve P. in a rematch from Midwest.  I again won the toss and called Bengals/Rams.  He took the Bengals.  I was in control early amassing a 21-7 lead. Earlier in the game he had a FG blocked and I had a chance to go up 24-7 late in the third, but I too had one blocked which resulted in the game being 21-7.  That would be the final score.

The fifth game was a win and in for the big bracket.  I had to play Matt C. (GameHigh) again.  Again, I won the toss and had to call the matchup.  I went with something I knew I could put up points with either team so I called Bears/Raiders.  He took the Raiders.  I had my Chrysler Caravan Crew and one of my wife's friends who showed up supporting me during the game.  I wish I had this every game.  I don't know what it is but I always play better with a large crowd supporting or against me.  I put Neal Anderson up top and on the first play of the game throw an 80 yard JJ for a score.  Mort exclaimed, "That was Anderson on Anderson!"  Another trip catch phrase was born.  Up 14-7 right before half, another JJ was tossed to Anderson as regulator dropped a beer on the GameHigh adding insult to injury.  The second half saw lots of JJ picking by Carrier and redemption was made with a 42-7 victory.  Phew.  I made the big bracket after tackling the gauntlet that was the 2014 pool of death.

I actually had a descent point differential despite going 4-1 and received a #9 seed in the Dom Deluise Region.  My first round game was against Justin N. who went 3-0 and won his pool.  He won the toss and called a Cardinals/Jets matchup. I took controller 1.  He gave me the Jets.  He was safetied on the first possession and I had success scoring on his defense the entire first half despite several dropped passes to open receivers again.  The halftime score was 19-0.  After going up 26-0, the Cards tack on a TD late to make it 26-7.

In the round of 32 I get Chet.  I actually had no fear this time.  I have played Chet several times.  Three years ago several times at Orenga's place and a couple of times in tournament play.  I wanted to call a Steelers/Cowboys matchup, but he won the toss and called Bengals/Chargers.  One of the games at Orenga's place three years ago was this. He told me then he preferred the Chargers in this.  Remembering this, and knowing that the Chargers are my favorite team I took the Chargers. Yes, the Bengals are the better team.  Lose the coin toss, two fumbles, and down 0-14 in the first quarter.  It is bad enough to do this against anyone, but this is freaking Chet.  To make matters worse Blow Job Tolliver was throwing the hike and strike to avoid Fulcher, but the retarded Charger receivers were doing the "let's run back to the QB instead of running our routes" crap.  I tried to battle back amassing over 450 total yards, but came up short losing 21-31.  I am in no way saying I would have won the game despite the fumbles, but for some reason I never get the breaks when I play Chet. Well played as usual.

After being ousted I caught up with KampHuna8. Kamp had a tough go at his first Madison as he didn't make it out of his pool.  A Spotted Cow was in order.  I feel a connection with Kamp as we are both in the education field.  We both are similar in Tecmo skill level.  He is a hell of a lot cooler than me though. So glad to have finally met you in person. One of these days I will fly out to the Northwest for a tourney out there.  I got the opportunity to meet a few other online Tecmoers for the first time like Manyo, coconuts, and Joey Gats.  I also met ryan11p's family who came to support him in the tournament.

Joey is one misunderstood individual.  I know there was the whole cheating thing, but this guy was nothing like what I imagined him to be when I first started online back in 2010.  I know he has had his troubles as of late.  We chatted a little bit over dinner.  He had to get a box because he was not used to eating that much ;)  I truly hope Joey can land a job and get back on his feet.  I am so grateful that Mort got the funding together and want to thank everyone who contributed in that process.  I know that it was an experience of a lifetime for Joey, but just as much an honor for the online community that was present at Tecmo X to get to meet him.  I just wish I could have got a game in with him over the weekend.  It just didn't happen.

The rest of my Tecmo X experience was following my boys from the 513.  We are no Orenga Posse, but we bring our own level support and intimidation I think.  Watched MattyV take down Jimmy B. In the Elite Eight.  I love Jimmy, another fellow social studies teacher, but he had no chance with Mark “Rypien” farts torching the Broncos in the air and on the ground.  Matt's game versus Skunker was so awesome.  From the called run 2 sweep for a touchdown, to the gutsy run 4 call on 4th and 1, and overcoming two fumbles to finish 3rd, it was an epic serious of events that can only be captured by the live stream.  Speaking of the live stream,  Dave Murray is awesome.  Coolest person in Tecmo.  If you can't get along with Dave you can't get along with anyone.  What Dave does for Tecmo is unparalleled.  I can't picture myself not attending the big tournaments, but if I did I would be forever grateful for that live stream.  Awesome work man.  You are the best.

Another cool moment was following MattyVs game with Skunker when the entire online community posed for a picture.  I didn't realize it at the time, but after seeing the picture it has to be the largest collection if online players at a console tournament in a picture.  Very cool.  That picture summarizes what this shit is all about.  Camaraderie first and foremost.  I am married now with kids and don't really see my old college buddies much anymore, but 3-4 times a year a get to hang out with a group of guys who worship a video game that is nearly a quarter of a century old and has dominated a major  chunk of my life.  Living the life.  Long live Tecmo.

In the semifinal Chet took down bigmv54.  Damn Chet.  You don't go to three straight Madison finals on luck alone.  Proven best there is on a consistent basis in the biggest games of the biggest tournaments.  I wanted MattyV to win so badly, but it wasn't meant to be.  On the bright side I am glad that regulator088 got to play Chet in finals.  To be the man you've got to beat the man.  Wooooooooooooooooooo!  Kyle beat the man.  A dominant performance from the opening game to winning the championship.  Long overdue my fellow Hoosier.  Way to bring home a Madison championship to online garbage and to the Hoosier state.

The closing ceremonies ushered in four new final four members earning various prizes in addition to the prize money.  A Cannonball Run DVD, a Rich Gannon bobblehead, Rich Gannon created cuff links (so jealous), and the ambulance replica from the Cannonball Run movie.  After the awards were issued we grabbed some pictures, dropped Erik M. off at his hotel, and head back to the Super 8.  Knowing we were going to lose two hours going back home due to the time change and Daylight Savings switch we elected to checkout early and drive back.  After picking up donuts and a 12 pack of Mountain Dew I took the wheel.  The entire van was asleep and it was just me the road and $11.50 in tolls (thanks Hake for staying up as long as you did).  I hate you Illinois.  We stopped shortly after the Brookston Fowler exit in North Central Indiana for some gas and energy shots.  Check out those pink Zebra Zubazs!  We arrived at my house about 7:20 AM.  I found out that the furnace went out and it was 59 degrees in the house.  Tecmo depression in full effect.  Slept my entire Sunday away and now writing a blog because my sleep pattern is fucked up.

I want to personally thank Josh and Chet Holzbauer for doing another incredible job running this tournament.  I know this is probably the final run and want you to know what you have done for the Tecmo community.  I knew about online play before 2010, but it was your He Went to Jerry You Tube video that actually got me playing online and registering for my first Tecmo Madison experience The Hoss Whisperer.  I have attended the last four and if by chance there will be a Tecmo XI I will be there.  Bailey, Orenga, Durch, Larry, and the women of Tecmo, your work does not go unnoticed.  We know it is strenuous on you not only the weekend of but in preparation for the big day.  Just remember the joy you give to 250+ grown children when they get to open their Tecmo Christmas that first week in March each year.  You wouldn't want the community to stop believing would you?

Last, but certainly not least, my boys.  Jon, Hake, Joey, Chris, and MattyV.  This weekend was one for the ages.  Each time we do this I build a stronger connection with you guys.  Anderson on Anderson, dust to dust, I'd have a bag of chips with you guys anytime... No homo.