Flag Football National Tournament this weekend

by: Andrew Coakley, Sports Editor

Grand Bahama Flag Football continues to see great improvement, a growing fan base and much success.
With a successful season and a historic championship in both the men and ladies’ divisions, GBFFL is getting set to host its Flag Football Invitational this weekend at the GB Sports Complex.
The tournament has not started yet, but already it can be considered a success thus far, because registration for the tournament has already been closed due to the high number of teams signed up to take part.
“We had to close the registration because we didn’t want it to be bigger than what we could handle,” said Vincent Marshall, GBFFL Executive.
“We have maxed out with participating teams logistically as allowing any more teams to enter would incur additionall costs as we would have to utilize an additional field which will involve additional man-power and transport.”
There will be some 16 teams taking part in this year’s tournament, 10 men’s teams and six ladies teams. Nassau is expected to bring in four teams for the tournament.
The last time the Flag Football Tournament was held in Grand Bahama, Nassau took both the men and ladies championships, but this year is expected to be different.
“At the time we only had two female teams in the league and they had just started, so the girls were still in a learning stage, whereas Nassau teams had been at it longer than we had,” said one of the coaches from the local teams.
“But this year is going to be different. As you can see, we have more female teams in our local league and the level of play has gone to the next level. 
“When we didn’t have that much experience, our girls still gave Nassau a run for their money and made them fight and earn that championship.
“This year, we are at a different level and we expect to not just give Nassau a run for their money, but there are strong possibilities that we can win the ladies’ championship.”
As far as the men’s championships go, of course, Grand Bahama will remain a big contender. 
There has also been massive improvement in the level of play in the men’s division here in Grand Bahama and if Nassau feels they will be coming back to Grand Bahama to clinch another title, they will have to think twice...maybe three or four times over.
“Flag football in Grand Bahama has improved greatly and so we are expecting to go into the tournament and play the kind of game we’ve been playing all year and as long as we remain focused, we can come out on top in the tournament, the way we came out on top in this local championships,” said Jay Stuart coach for the ISS Marines, this year’s men’s champions.
There is also expected to be an increase in the fan base at this year’s tournament. Flag football has caught on here in the second city and the fan base is proof of that.
Hundreds of fans turned out to the GB?Sports Complex each Sunday afternoon during the season, showing a full support for the sport.
“We encourage you to invite as many persons as you can so that we can support both the local and visiting teams,” said Vincent Marshall.  
“We want to strive to put on a great tournament not only for the participants but also for all of our new flag football fans here in Grand Bahama.”
The tournament will take place on Saturday and Sunday during this holiday weekend. Out of town teams should begin arriving today. 
With games set to start as early as 10 a.m. in the mornings and conclude at 8 p.m. in the evenings, its an indication of just how many teams will be playing in this year’s tournament.
It’s also an indication of just how compeittive this year’s Flag Football Invitational tournament is going to be.

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