The League Weekly – @SPiNToronto Wk3, @SPiNNewyork Wk5

An interesting trend is happening in New York. For those that don’t know, the League at SPiN NY just set a record – a record for the greatest number of player check-ins, ever.

It occurred on the 5th week of the 3rd season, and it is, for data scientists everywhere to note, a notable uptick – an uptrend – in player pong circle duel-offs. It makes Luke Skywalker shake his boots, Darth Vader roll in his grave, and Yoda say a proper sentence.


Total Checkins

Pessimists will regard this as an outlier – a blip – a sample space far too small to conclude that this is a front-end indicator of the new norm. I laugh at those that impose their logic wills; who are you to challenge the Pong gods of League play?

[For those wondering, the single day record for player checkins is 72 @SPiNToronto back in March 2014]

Basking in the light of all this positivity was Junichi Seki, pulling off a perfect record in wk5, a perfect remedy to last week’s string of 3-set losses, including some payback for Mr. Reiss himself. Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 9.37.09 PM

In intermediate news, T-Bone kicked off his week with a key win down the stretch against newcomer, Choiju. Before that Choiju was on a roll and is one to watch with just a few weeks left. After a long absence, Clay returns with a perfect week himself. This will be an interesting run for the finish.

@SPiNToronto, Brox88 brought along a clan member (father? my spies have been slacking…) and continued his dominance with some hard-fought 3-setters against Steven, Cdnchef, and Andrzej. He needed it with Niramaydesai in perfect, week form. A slip anywhere at this stage and it’s back into the jaws of the pack. It’s anyone’s game now.

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Craig and Roman took advantage of some idle-ness from Div1 leaders with a perfect string of wins. And less not forget… our friends in Div3.

I got some pretty harsh feedback for failing to mention Div3 in previous posts. I have to admit, it was a total abomination for me to exclude, arguably, the most fun division the League as ever seen. As evidence of my blatant disregard for the beginner squad that march out on Sundays at 5p, the brilliant avatar icon from Razorblade himself has been largely ignored.

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Yeah. I know. How could you miss this when calling out best avatar icons the League has yet to offer?

Trust me when I tell thee, I shall not forget. Never again.

The League Weekly – @SPiNToronto Wk2, @SPiNNewyork Wk4

Great week of League Pong.

It was an eventful week of pong in the city of New York and Toronto. I would love for the Blue Jays to pull of an epic Game7 come back; not only would it be fitting vengeance for KC’s great escape in ’85, I think we can totally create a rivalry between both SPiN clubs:

  1. GeorgeBor, clearly a favourite in Div1 after his titanic defeat of the ‘immortal’ Denier, was idle in Week2. As a consequence, he drops to 8th. (Gotta play to keep up). His point spread with Denier is now 48 points; another win against the Denier in say Wk3 would bring the defending champ tumbling back into the mix. Love it. Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 2.43.36 PMSome would view this as unfair – however, our goal all along was to create a format that yes, remains competitive, but more importantly, creates a few play dynamics that keeps things interesting. Denier isn’t a runaway winner – and GeorgeBor although ‘punished’ for not showing in Wk2, is absolutely still in the running to be the winner. I’ve said this before: this isn’t a league for the best of the best; we’re here to build communities and in order to do that, players got to feel they’re still within spitting distance. The FA cup format in soccer is another example of where anyone could take the title. That’s exciting stuff.
  2. I’ve officially past the torch to the best icon avatar to ksh9. The Knee of Justice’s avatar was an early favourite and to best honest, I didn’t think we’d see another that would be better so quickly. KSH9’s avatar absolutely rocks. It’s simple, works well for an icon size, but the detail remains relevant and pops.Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 2.20.54 PMThe immediate thing that comes to mind when I see this is Kill Bill’s Oren Ishii’s character from that epic duel scene in the snow. Great stuff.
  3. It’s anyone’s game in both Expert and Intermediate divisions @SpinNewYork. Nice to see T-bone take top spot after Wk4 – he’s been a loyal contender from past seasons too. It appears that both Clay and Alfred are, percentage wise, the most talented, but like GeorgeBor, haven’t played enough weeks to sustain top spot. The leaderboard could change dramatically if they play more regularly.
  4. In the Expert division @SpinNewYork,  Suryasahithyan has created some space in top spot. Looks like Suryasahithyan -eeked a win against Junichi Seki… a tough loss man. Juni lost another tough 3-setter against against Reiss which effectively caused the tumble from top spot after Wk4. Don’t worry Junichi: vengeance is a dish best served cold. 
  5. In the parallel Div1 session @SPiNToronto, Denier regained top spot with some big-time wins against familiar foe. An interesting matchup between Kyle – the man from Northern Ireland – and Ivan was dueled-off in a 3-set grinder… the wily slicing vet comes through this time.                    Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 3.08.32 PM
  6. In Div2 @SPiNToronto Brox88 is starting to string a small win streak together as he went undefeated… but Niramaydesai is not a step too far behind. Familiar contenders Steven and tricky Mirek lurk dangerously below with some nice upside coming from Pallettown and Pikaboo.

I know I’m biased but having an on-demand, automated league scheduler that adapts to ‘whoever shows up’ really works. In a future post I’ll talk about how the format came to be… and how I think it can help other communities.

Looking forward to the results this coming Sunday.

Uberflip’s 2015 Tournament Bracket – #startupong2015 retrospect

Uberflip’s #startupong2015 event was the 2nd annual tournament run at SPiN’s ping pong bar Toronto. Tournament participation clocked at 200+ players, a 64-team single elimination tournament that ran in a skinny 2.5hr window. The overall general attendance grew from last year’s 300-ish basement capacity, as the crowd spilled ceremoniously onto the 2ndFloor event space that housed another 300+ of standing room.

Hats off to Uberflip for running the event again. Exhibiting their reach and influence with big-time sponsors, attendees were offered free admission with a drink ticket in tow… clearly more than generous. Teams paid $20 for tournament entry but all proceeds – $2500-ish – were donated to Sick Kids Hospital.

Uberflip’s #startupong 2015

Over the last couple of years startup-themed tournaments have thrived with the growth of startup companies and culture. SPiN’s ping pong bar offers the perfect venue for a single elimination tournament and (unofficially) began in earnest back in November 2012. Wattpad, the original sponsor of the first startup tournament, ran a single elimination tournament bracket of 20+ single players and attracted heavyweight Toronto startups Wattpad, Freshbooks, and Kobo to name a few. Overall attendance clocked in at roughly 150 people – not bad for a private-run event.

Singles bracket from Wattpad’s startup tournament back in 2012.

The growing and ever-changing landscape of Toronto’s startup scene continues to sustain a thirst for ping-pong dominance. There is more than enough desire for more and if anything, this is but a snippet of the aggregate interest level. Last year #startupong winners GataLabs for example, couldn’t participate to defend their title; meanwhile, 2012 heavy contenders Kobo and Wattpad were nowhere to be seen… not to mention the obvious absence of tech behemoths such as Facebook, Amazon, LinkedIn and Google.

Just imagine a 128-person and team bracket that featured the best of Toronto’s startup/tech companies: One pong competition to rule them all.

For years we’ve dreamed of a full, 128-person company bracket tournament. Using some polka-roo imagination, it’s not far-fetched to envision one ridiculous, off-the-chart, mind-blowing experience. The hype would be insane: just imagine a 128-person and team bracket that featured the best of Toronto’s startup/tech companies. One pong competition to rule them all. Taking a step further, leveraging SPiN’s North American reach, this could be a multi-city affair. With SPiN’s expansion into San Francisco and Chicago in the very near future, not to mention their current presence in NYC and LA, the stakes and pieces to take this a step further may be closer than you think.

Wattpad’s startup tourney in 2012 reserved SPiN Toronto’s backroom. The tournament has since grown from one room, to the full facility last year, to two floors this year.

The challenge of course is time and logistics. 2.5hrs is barely enough time to run a 64-person bracket and even then, a single-elimination tournament isn’t enough to sustain continued interest. There has to be more.

Why not take a page from soccer’s FA / Champions League series and run a year-long tourney with a grand finale of 16 teams and players at the end of the year?

The other hurdle foiling this grand vision is player time. This is the reality of today’s workforce – we ain’t 9-5 anymore and trying to ram a strict schedule down a startup’s throat is like trying to feed a crocodile without losing a finger.

So the real question is: Why run the tournament simultaneously? Why not take a page from soccer’s FA / Champions League series and run a year-long tourney with a grand finale of 16 teams and players at the end of the year? If executed correctly, this could circumvent the time issue.

This kind of format orchestration would require  qualification rounds, general rules to be governed and ruled, a venue (at least for the finale), and a basic system to help manage results and progress. Perhaps a ranking system at the company level to help manage seeding. And most of all… someone would need to organize the monster.

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Therein lies the rub. This needs a committee or council body at best. Someone to oversee it. Someone to set rules and regulations. Someone to market the messaging and spread the word.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a quick poll of the floor: tweet/share/like this post and let’s see where this goes. This might be just a dream but hey, worst case, startupong 2016 will run. That’s more than just good enough for me.

But imagine – even if it is that bloody male actor changing into a costume –  it could be so much damn more.

Fall League Seasons have begun!

What a start to the Season. Who says drama doesn’t exist outside pro leagues? There is so much to say in so little time. I’ll try to summarize in 5 fat points:

  1. NYC has started off with a bang. We got – check it – 50 players that have played a match in Season 3. It’s official, the thing down in New York is catching on.
  2. I’m giving the best name and avatar between both cities to the hands down winner…. the ‘Knee of Justice’ (NYC). See what I mean?Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 11.08.28 PM
  3. And just like that the Denier Streak (from Toronto) is over. I made a BIG DEAL about his streak in a previous post. After going 60-0 in Season 4 and 72-0 in Season 5, his win streak was snapped by newcomer GeorgeBor in his 2nd match. It’s no surprise that GeorgeBor leads the division after Day1.Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 11.14.29 PM
  4. Like the beginning of S5, we had Div2 graduates begin S6 in Div1 and boy was it fun watching their progress. Ivan took no time producing the first upset of the day with a scorcher over League vet and S1 winner, Craig M. He sits in 11th tied with that guy from Northern Ireland. Just so everyone knows: Ivan barely beat me in 3 last year. Just saying.Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 11.20.39 PM
  5. We had some old crew back and THAT was nice to see. Steph by Steph. The Eye of Soren. The Thunderbolt (ponytail or short this year?). It’s also REAL nice to see Broxterman in top spot. He had it last year. I don’t think he’ll let it slip like John Elway. Right.

And finally one sad observation: It was hard not seeing Queen Talbot among active players. Have we lost her to career-ending wrist ailments? Tell me it ain’t so. Juan Del Potro you’ve got company.