Canada Cup and Beyond

Click clack, click clack.

I fiddle with my controller on the bus ride down to Toronto, theory-crafting new solutions to scenarios I will likely find this weekend. It is a few days before the start of Canada Cup, Canada's premier fighting-game tournament. As a former resident of these stomping grounds, I have given myself a few days to catch up with old acquaintances before getting down to business.

Click clack, click clack.

Back in our Southern Ontario glory days.

Back in our Southern Ontario glory days.

A few hours later, I find myself in an old friend's basement, playing Melee for a few hours like old times. This basement is where we both began our climb to the top. Our first year was filled with poor positioning and questionable option coverage. The technical skill of Melee didn't come easily to me. Unlike my friend, one of those lucky few who absorbs everything like a sponge. The games I used to win were almost exclusively games where he would mess up on his technical inputs; it felt much more like "he lost" than "I won."

Gone are those days, however: in my short time in Ottawa this year, I find myself quickly approaching the level of the Capital's top ten. My friend has improved as well, despite maintaining the abysmal tournament attendance record the two of us used to be known for. The next few hours pass with a flurry of severe punishments on the smallest openings, the games we play now prove nearly unrecognizable compared to our games of yesteryear. But, I am no longer the one crumbling under pressure, and our game count at the end of the night reads heavily in my favour.

Click clack, click clack.

A big tournament is not a big tournament without a hype video.

It is now the day before Canada Cup. I sit on my bed, without a Melee setup in this house that I am staying in, I settle for the shadowboxing-like routine I performed on the bus ride down. The past few weeks after The Big House have been weeks of drastic improvement. I have only dropped a single tournament set against someone who was not in Ottawa's top ten since my return, with my lost sets against them getting closer and closer every time. Canada Cup may not be the prestigious event that The Big House was, but it should prove to be a great opportunity for improvement. I pack my controller into my bag and leave for the train station, like so many times before and so many times to come.


Nick Gibbins

Nick Gibbins is a writer, competitive gamer, and resident big mouth. He tends to prefer acting on impulse and writing the aftermath over observing how things play out on their own. Currently in his second year in Algonquin College’s Professional Writing program, Nick plans to mesh all of his hobbies together to pay the bills.

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