I’m writing my recap of the Bench Minor 24 hours after the final game and right now I hear loud thunder and heavy rain outside my window. But the last four days were a different story, We played pick-up Thurs and Friday then round-robin and finals games on Saturday and Sunday in some of the nicest weather of the year.

There were so many firsts at this event for me. Probably the biggest was the longer games. and not ending the games at a set score. Almost every tournament goes something like this- 5 points or 10 minutes whatever come first. So if it’s 5-4 after 6 min. thats game over. Not here, the games were played to 50 min the score kept going up and up (I don’t remember any games going to 30+ points but a few teams did score in the 20′s). the games were split into Halves with a short break, changing ends and a second joust to begin the second half.
And all games were played and played on time. Plus the final game was held in plenty of good light. The schedule ran super smooth. How often does that happen?

The second thing that was a first was deeper teams. I’ve played in 3 vs 3 and 2 vs 2 tournaments but this is the first time I’ve had 10 teammates. It was still 3 vs 3 on-court but playing with different teammates from shift to shift in game after game added an element to this that was like square dancing or something. Having  a partner out on the court was short lived. And speaking of finding a dance partner, even though there were hockey inspired rules regarding fighting, there were no bench clearing fights. I didn’t think there was very much rough stuff in general.

A needed factor in big tournaments is penalties. This tournament delivered. There were real and enforceable penalties. Teams who were called had to compete a player down for one or two minutes depending. In other words, go 2 vs 3 for the length of the penalty or until scored on. This is an extremely effective way of keeping over aggressive play to a minimum. You may want to get back at the other team but you sure don’t want to take a penalty and go a player down for a minute because of it. I think this addition to the rules should be added to more tournaments.

Another rule that was a first for me in tournament play was the ball joint only to half court rule. There was not a center line painted onto the court but the tap out points were a good indicator. I think that if dragging the ball is allowed it should only be allowed in your own half of the court. This tournament was like that and kept the offensive play interesting when players had the ball in their offensive half. It’s another rule I’d like to see in more/all tournaments.

Also teams had matching jerseys and players had numbers, really good for the spectators and great for the legitimacy of the sport. I think this was also a first in terms of tournament wide use.

The goals were not cones. I like the cones but net are the future if this is to be taken seriously.

We had a ref on-court. A very good thing. But he was on a BMX bike and it looked a little bit unneeded for it to be that way. I’ve seen refs on-court before, I like the idea of a ref on-court, I’ve been a ref on-court. A bike is not needed. It’s great to try new things. So many new things were tried here and did really well. This one is something we could do without. 7 people and 6 bikes is on one side of the line and 7 people and 7 bikes is on the other side of the line when it comes to how much can fit onto the court.

Prizes? what prizes. This tournament had no prizes. The winners got to take the hand made trophy, that’s it. And no, you cant drink out of it. With so many events out there I bet all the regular sponsors are a bit tired of being asked for prizes. or maybe not. Anyway, this one was not about winning  gear, it was about playing a game. A game that is more than a game, it’s a real sport.

Thanks to Adam, Zach, Paul, Birdseyeusuk, Benny, everyone who helped, all the GM’s, all the players, and everyone who stopped to watch. I thought it was a huge success that went off without a hitch. Can’t wait till the next Bench Minor next season.

Results:

1st place Green (Alexis)
2nd place Black (Jav)
3rd place-tied Gold and Grey (Lefty Joe and Ben Hunter)