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Long Island Big Game 2003
by Dawn Mills

The Big Game in Coram, NY on Long Island is a yearly occurrence for the crew since 1999 yet the game has been tradition for the area since 1988.  Each year players from around the Northeast, and even other countries come together for the Long Island Big Game.  Saturday is filled with the rec tournament - a relaxed pace tournament with unusual format games.  Many players opt to make a weekend of it and camp out at the field overnight.

Sunday morning started with gorgeous weather, blue skies and awesome temperatures for the day as opposed to the rain and chilly weather that had been a standard.  By 8:00 AM the large parking area was full of cars parking down the length of the road leading into the field.  The game was started at 10:20 after the 1600+ players had signed in, got paint, air and arm-bands. 

The field was nearly a rectangle in shape, aligned north to south.  8 bases were the main objectives on the field.  Each team started with one which was worth three points per minute, and two that were worth three points per minute.  The missile base near the middle of the field on the eastern border was worth no points, and the oil refinery in the southeast corner was worth two points per minute.  Both of these bases started out neutral. 

The field layout gave a bit of an advantage to the team on the southern end because the south team's 3 point base was deep in their territory, while the Capital, the north team's 3 point base was near the middle of the field, making it more vulnerable.  Additionally, the oil refinery was on the southern end of the field, making it easy for the southern team to capture and defend.  In order to even out this advantage, the two teams would switch starting positions after the lunch break. 

Heading into the field of play, the Blue team was generaled by Graham Easton of Smart Parts and Greg "Red" Hastings from Red'z Comfort Gear.  Augmenting the blue team was Michael "Blue" Hanse from EMR who brought Blue's Crew to battle it out alongside "Red" who is one of the team's sponsors, as well as The Knights and even Rocky Cagnoni.  The blue team also had the might of the Armored Fist Paintball Tiger Tank working for them.  When the game started, the Blue team pushed hard from The City at the north end of the field, down across the field of play towards the Village where the Red team, generalled by Bill and Dawn Mills started.  The Red Team also included Canadian Contingent, and the Wild Geese, both of which have become a fixture at LIBG.  Team Thor Omega made potent use of their new Tippmann A5 Flatline set-ups with electronic triggers in the field's dense woods where a flat trajectory gave an edge.  Defending against the masses of people with a crew of willing red players, they pushed outward, trying to create a Maginot Line extending from the Village to the Missile Base with the goal of holding off the invaders and making forays into their territory to take the Armory, Capitol and The City.  Holding the middle line would keep the Oil Refinery in Red hands, giving a 2 point per minute advantage.  Pushing north to the Capitol could sway an additional 6 point per minute difference for as long as it was held.

Red Team was successful in holding the Village, the Ammo Dump, the Command Post and the Oil Refinery for most of the morning session while Blue battled against them, making advances into their areas which were usually repelled after a couple of minutes.  Just prior to the lunch break, Red pushed past the Missile Base and Village line to take not only the Armory, but also The Capitol and into the City.  At one point in the morning, Red General Dawn was left alone with refs, gunless, in the Village to insure that it remained in red control.  The blue tank rolled up and into the Village to drive her away, dropping off a member of their squad to swap the flag from red to blue.  After hearing the tank retreating, she returned from her hiding place, cautious for an ambush, raised the red flag back into position and then turning, spotted a blue member creeping up on her.  Still gunless, her only option was to flee again with paint flying around her, she escaped to encourage red players with guns to go defend and retake the Village area.  Bill on the other hand was not so fortunate.  While waiting for an air fill, from deep in the safety of the middle of red held territory a lone blue player who had snuck past the lines of combat ran up on him and called for a surrender.  With no bodyguards, and no air that was 50 points for the Blue Team.  General kills occurred on the other side of the field as well, with three hits on the Blue Generals before lunch.

Overhead, as usual, was Doc, hanging out the side of a small helicopter, taking pot shots with his Angel, and dropping balloon style paintball grenades specially mixed for him by Canadian Contingent.  Red also loaded him up this year with a supply of Red'z Comfort Packs.  Doc developed an all new tactic.  The chopper would hover in over a clear area like the Capitol, and a series of packs would fall to the ground.  Many of the players who had scattered in fear of air based attack would rush back into the open to grab packs, and become targets for the paint grenades.

The crew from Green Iguana Productions came back after their production of the 2002 Big Game video was well received, with members of the company out video taping and interviewing both players, celebrities and industry members.  Supplied with not only video cameras, they set up Joe Milazzo of the red team with a goggle-cam to run a mission with his every move recorded.  This year's game will be released as a DVD.

The lunch break stopped play for a time, the helicopter landing after the morning of sniping at players from tree height level.  The tanks also had a break, after much terrorizing of the players, the music of their sound systems blaring through the woods, often inspiring fear in the players, leading them to flee the area regardless of whether the tank members fired a shot.  At the end of the morning session Red had amassed a total of 1551 points with Blue at 1015.

Swapping entry areas and starting points after the lunch break, the field was taken again by the teams.  Red started in the City, Armory and Capitol while Blue started in the Village, Ammo Dump and Command Post.  The Blue team started out strong, taking advantage of their position.  The Red Team strategy was to push hard down the eastern tapeline to capture the Oil Refinery, and simply hold their starting bases.  The Blue Team thwarted that plan by sending a squad of over 200 players straight to the refinery. 

While the Red team held fiercely to their starting positions, a few small blue attack teams got behind them, putting the battle on two fronts.   About an hour and a half into the afternoon action, Blue had made a brief excursion to change the flag from red to blue in the City before being ejected from the area and then faced with a harsh front of red players.  Red Team increased their hold of the field by taking the village near the center line of the western boundary, leaving Blue only one player insertion point while red had three.  Tactically, this gave the Red Team the advantage of knowing exactly where their opposition would be, and making them easy to contain.  It also had an unforeseen benefit.  Many of the blue players simply didn't want to take the walk to the far entry point, and by mid afternoon, the red team had a major numerical advantage on the field.  An hour before the end of the day, Red had captured all of the locations of the field, not only the entry points.  Blue members were forced to have special re-insertions (hi RJ!) to make their way back onto the field.  This kept the red team jumping, because they never knew where on the field, the new groups of blue players would be starting.  Unfortunately most of the specially inserted squads were small.  While these teams were small, they kept red command jumping, because they were so unpredictable.  After a half hour of special insertions behind the lines of the red team, red abandoned the Command Post, giving up 3 points a minute to the blue team, in order to re-open a blue  entry point onto the field, a strategic move to keep the red team from being surprised by more special insertions. 

The City was taken again for a few minutes giving Blue insertion points of both B and E though blue continued to have special re-insertion (hi RJ!) points throughout the field to allow them to play.  The minutes ticked down to the five o'clock cut off with Blue bringing in a few last minute props from missions completed, the blue team holding the Oil Refinery as their only base at the end of the day.

After packing up their gear, players gathered for the closing ceremony.  Paul Sattler, one of the owners of Paintball Long Island served as the MC, passing out thousands of dollars worth of prizes to people who answered trivia questions, or competed in feats of skill such as standing on their hands.  The event sponsors, who provided prizes included Cousins Paintball, Smart Parts, Redz Comfort Gear, Tippmann, Worr Game Products, and Generation E, as well as a local cigar store and the local Hooters restaurant.  Sattler also auctioned off an LCD Matrix, donating the proceeds to Zion Youth, the youth group in Palm Bay Florida where Bill and Dawn Mills do volunteer work.  The final score from the big game was announced - 2825 to 1893, a decisive victory for the red team, one of the largest in the history of the Long Island Big Game.

Many thanks to all of those who made the trip not only fun but a totally welcome respite from our normal travel schedule.  Paul and Peg for their hospitality, broccoli, sacks, gnomes and everything else.  Dean and the crew from Cousins - thanks guys for a fun weekend.  Mike for the hug, Craig and Timmy for the super reffing, Simon for showing up and being an honorary Canadian with us again - always a blast to see you.  The Canadians and Geese, thanks for the hospitality and comfort of your encampment - the grilled cheese sandwich was awesome!  Thanks to Keith who bought the Matrix!  Thanks to the tank crew for chasing me.  Doc for shooting at me and the random blue player who tried to waste me while I was alone! 

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