Excitement builds as Flag Football moves into Play-offs

by: Andrew Coakley, Sports Editor

This is no doubt the most anticipated play-off season in Grand Bahama Flag Football history.
The anticipation lies in the fact that the sport has grown expotentially in Grand Bahama and the teams that compete each Sunday have felt the love and the expectations of the fans.
No, this is no ordinary play-offs and teams that may have been a bit quiet all season, are expected to speak loudly once the play-offs kick off on Sunday at the GB Sports Complex.
“Because we have more men’s teams than ladies teams, for the first week of the play-offs, only men’s teams will play on?Sunday coming,” said Vincent Marshall, one of the executives of the Grand Bahama Flag Football League.
“The ladies will play next weekend, along with the other men’s teams.”
As the League heads into its play-offs, the top four teams in the men’s division are the GB Shipyard Wreckers (they won the first season of flag football in Grand Bahama), The Zorba’s Destroyers (champions from season two), the Frecon Alliance (season three champions) and the ISS Marines (one of the new male teams in the league).  
So, champions from all three seasons are in the top four of the league as they head into the play-offs.  That alone ups the ante and the excitement. 
Leading the ladies’ division are the Lady Enforcers, ISS Lady Marines, the Freeport Container Port Piranhas and the newcomer to the league the MLM Assassins as the four top teams in the ladies’ division.
“This season, because we were actually collecting stats, we will use those stats to hold a Pro Bowl of some sorts,” said Marshall.
“From the remaining eight teams, we will be able to put together two teams for an All-Star, North versus South game.”
That Pro Bowl is expected to take place during the third week of the play-offs.
Taking to the field this Sunday will be the Frecon?Alliance, the ISS?Marines, the GB Shipyard Wreckers, the Bears, the Police Enforcers and a few others.  
There will be four games on?Sunday, with games starting at 1:30 p.m. at the GB SPorts Complex.
The following Sunday, there will be two men’s games and two ladies’ games.
Yes, as the play-offs begin, so has the trash talking.
“In fact, the trash talking had begun long before we even reached the play-off stage,” said Marshall.  
“The guys have been going at each other off the field for a long time with the trash talking and that’s good because it’s all in good fun, as long as they don’t trash talk on the field.  
“But the guys are excited about the play-offs and they know that it’s gonna be for bragging rights and for a shot to play for the championship. ?So, we can see the competition step up.”
In addition to the Play-offs, players and fans are also looking forward to the GB Flag Football League’s National Invitational Flag Football Tournament, set to take place during the August Monday weekend.  
According to Marshall, thus far five teams from Nassau have confirmed their participation in the tournament, however, as the tournament draws near, it is believed that more teams will be coming in from Nassau.  
“This is going to be our biggest tournament thus far in the Grand Bahama league,” said Marshall.
“The Invitational culminates our season and it gives all of the teams who may not have played good all season to have one last chance at that big dance, which they may not have gotten during the regular season. ?
“So this season, we’re looking at some 20 teams participating in the Invitational tournament.”
In fact, the tournament will serve as a platform for another Grand Bahama ladies’ team to make their debut into the league.  
Marshall did not reveal the name of the new ladies’ team, but said that he’s happy to see that the league is continuing to grow.
Marshall admitted that Flag Football in Grand Bahama has grown well among the players and the fan base.  
He credits the growth among the players to the fact that the sport allows former football players, who may not be able to play in the full contact league, to still play the sport of football.  
He said that for the women, the sport is seen as a great way of getting and staying in shape.
“The fans are excited about the competitive aspect of the league and so they continue to come out in large numbers to support the teams,” said Marshall.
“We also try to make the atmosphere one where the entire family can come out and support their dad, their brother, or their sister on the field.”
Marshall said that each Sunday, they average close to 200 spectators.
“We’re growing and we want to continue to tweak whatever needs to be tweaked so that we can continue to make the league better and even more exciting,” said Marshall.

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