MELEE-FC, an acronym for "Misunderstood Enthusiasts Living an Extraordinary Existence - For Cash", was held the summer of 2004 and had a turnout of just over 100 people, which was the largest of any independently run tournament at the time. Granted, it held that record for little more than a month as TG^ broke it with 120 people. But the success of the tournament rang out in the community just the same.
FC got its start from an idea the Ship of Fools had while hosting a little tournament sometimes referred to as FC0: the Midwest Challenge. Held in the same venue as the FC series, we hosted this tournament in September, 2003 after being encouraged by SmashBroPro (SBP) to host our own tournament. Having dreams of hosting as grand a tournament as Snexus 2, we were admittedly disappointed with a lackluster turnout of no more than 25 people. However, this was not just a small Midwest tournament, as some of the greatest names of the day in the Midwest, such as Eddie, Snex, Smog, Fusegen, and even Camper Bob came out in full force to compete. And while this may have been a small tournament, three great things happened that would change the Smash community in the years to come. First, Eddie told KishSquared that you can up-smash out of a shield. Second, the first ever Crew Battle was held: The Ship versus Eddie and the Ohio Gang (which the Ship won, incidentally). And finally, the Ship and Eddie began discussing how great of a venue this tournament had, and "wouldn't it be great to have a regional, maybe even national tournament here? We could even house everyone inside the church, and feed them, and..."
Thus, the Ship began making plans, but there were several obstacles to overcome. First, getting the church to agree was easier than we thought it would be. They were enthusiastic about it, saying that it sounded like a neat idea to try out, and their enthusiasm about the event remains even to this day. After we laid out the details, we were ready to post the topic, but one thing was bothering us: Matt Deezie had yet to decide on having another TG. Concerned that we may end up competing with THE national tournament of Smashboards, we contacted Deezie to make sure we wouldn't have it at the same time as his tournament. When we found that he had no plans at the time, we weren't sure how to go forward, since we believed (and rightfully so) that if we competed with TG, it would draw a lot of people away from FC. But come mid-November and Deezie still did not know, we decided that we would risk it and set a date with the Church. We then officially posted the thread in November, a full 8 months before the tournament date.
The rest is history, and is well-known by most Smashers who were around at that time. The idea of having a 3-day tournament caught on quickly, and the tournament grew far larger than we had anticipated. By the time that TG^ was announced, out tournament had already been planned for many months and had a large base of people planning to come, though there were a lot of people that chose to attend the final TG over FC, and rightfully so. The TG series was where the national Smash scene was developed, and it will always hold a special place in the community. Joshu attended TG^ and teamed with Eddie, taking 4th in teams. It was a fantastic tournament series and we thank Matt Deezie for getting us all started.
As such, when we heard about TG^, we were quite nervous. We had no official registration, so we didn't know how many people would come. But we still held our little tournament, which, as mentioned above, ended up with over 100 people in attendance. Our excitement rose as we saw the big names unexpectedly show up. While we knew Ken and Isai were coming because we needed to pick them up from the Airport, we didn't know about much else. Watching Azen show up with Team Ben and seeing DA Dave and Wes arrive were very exciting for us as tournament hosts. Of course, countless others from all around the nation came, much to our delight. Those that came greatly loved it and spread the word, opening up an opportunity to hold another tournament, which was done the same time next year with FC3.
There were several firsts at FC besides being a 3-day through-the-night tournament. First off, the Ship was concerned with people being able to get into South Bend in time for the official tournaments. Therefore, we decided to not start teams until Friday morning, which left Thursday night open for everyone to play free matches. We decided, however, that we could hold a fun tournament of some kind, and the best idea we came up with was a low-tier tournament, in which only the characters in the bottom tiers could be used. Of course, having no precedent for this, the Ship had to decide which tiers would be allowed - specifically whether Middle Tier should be used. After putting it to a vote, it was decided that Middle Tier should be included, a standard which remains in practice at most low-tier tournaments to date. As such. the first-ever low-tier tournament was held the first night.
The other first at FC was the Crew Battle Tournament. While very small in size, this is where the idea of Crew Battles caught on in the community. Several crews, including the Ship, the Gamer's Guild, Team Ben/Azen, Michigan, and a thrown-together crew involving Ken and Isai participated, and all those involved thought it was a fantastic idea. Wes from NYC was impressed as well, and eventually suggested the idea of the Regional Crew Battle to be held at FC3.
While many people wanted to host other tournaments during free time, such as SSB64 and Naruto 2 tournaments, it was quickly realized that very little actual free time existed. The low-tier tournament went late into the night, and teams round robin pools began promptly at 10am the next day. Ignatius, using his trusty bike horn, went around the church waking Smashers up, much to many of their dismay. The teams tournament went longer than the planned schedule, and we weren't able to begin singles round robins until Friday night. Rather than force everyone to sit down and play, we announced that everyone should play as many of their pool rounds during the remainder of the night, a mistake we didn't realize until the next morning when we found that most of the Smashers hadn't even played half of their matches. We were lucky that most people cooperated and played their matches quickly, and we were able to seed the pools into a double-elimination bracket only a little behind schedule. The double elimination bracket ended around 8pm.
From there, most of the Smashers rode over to Joshu and Iggy's house, the planned post-tournament location. And yes, by most we mean over 50, which Joshu and Iggy could say would be too many people for their house. Still, Smashers brought their TVs in, and many of them continued to play into the night, even after three days of nothing but Smash. A lot of them were also able to find other things to do, such as Risk and other board games. It was a great time of unwinding, and the Smashers left the next day.
MELEE-FC was an amazing tournament for all who attended. We felt blessed to be able to accommodate those who came because we could not have done it without the support of so many people - family and friends alike. Still, it scared us a bit when people began asking about FC2, as we were just thankful FC went so well. Little did we know that this would just be the first installment of the series...
Here is the results page for FC: www.smashboards.com