Minor Leagues of Major Importance: The DC Brawlers on SAGL

Jan 16, 2015 Jamie Tebaldi
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Grid may be far younger than football, baseball, basketball and hockey, but its goal is the same--take passionate athletes who excel in the sport and allow them to compete against other athletes of their caliber. One of the best ways to pull in fresh talent and ensure that all levels of athletes have their moment in the spotlight is to have both professional and minor league teams.

Marshall Crown, Director of Minor League Operations for the national champion DC Brawlers, spoke with the Southern Amateur Grid League about how the Brawlers are investing in the SAGL to grow their minor league organization. "We feel very fortunate to be able to partner with them," said Marshall. "I have a vision for what the SAGL could be and how it could help the DC Brawlers." The Brawlers have three minor league teams--the Charleston Marauders, the Orlando Outlaws, and the Atlanta Assassins--which they established through the SAGL.

MaraudersOne of the Brawlers' concerns is that, since this is a relatively new sport, no one is aware of the lifespan of these athletes. Who knows how many seasons they'll be able to compete before a new group needs to be brought into the fold? So it can never hurt to continue building the rosters on these teams, both amateur and professional. And he recognizes that partnering with the SAGL is certainly helping to increase Grid's popularity among amateur and professional athletes alike.

In addition to finding fresh talent, as Marshall emphasizes, one of the main things professional teams like the Brawlers need to do is grow the sport from a fan awareness standpoint. The minor league operations are pivotal for this growth, and according to Marshall, "right now, the SAGL is the most comprehensive and well-thought-out minor league Grid out there. They're modeling themselves after NPGL really well."

Obviously, die-hard fans and athletes will attend professional Grid matches, but there are still a large number of people who are not aware that this sport even exists. This is where the SAGL comes in. The first SAGL invitational, back in November, brought one hundred elite athletes together to meet each other, compete, and find others who share a similar passion for this new sport.

Equally as important, it drew hundreds of spectators, some of whom had never previously heard of Grid. This, as Marshall emphasizes, is one of the main goals of both the DC Brawlers and the SAGL. The common goal is to introduce more people through events and competitions, further spreading the word to not only make this sport more well-known, but also recruit more athletes.

ChristinaEven if you are unfamiliar with the sport of Grid, once you've experienced a live match, it's difficult to not get swept up in the excitement, the adrenaline. This is true not only for fans and spectators, but for athletes as well. Christina Mailloux can vouch for this firsthand, based on her experience at the DC Brawlers' first minor league combine for the Charleston Marauders, which took place this past weekend.

Christina had heard of Grid and the NPGL, since a couple of the people she had trained with in the past became professional Grid athletes last year, and she attended the combine to support other friends from her local gym. She hadn't signed up for the combine though, because she was a bit intimidated by some of the weight for day one's GridScore elements. However, her friends encouraged her to talk to Marshall that day, and he explained to her that they were looking for specialists, not just the well-rounded athlete. She felt encouraged enough to try out, and it turned out to be a great decision: she ended up being signed last night by the Marauders. Marshall says, "She put herself out there, and her skills and personality were a perfect fit for us."

ChristinaBeyond being excited to have just been signed to the Marauders, Christina also recognizes the value and appeal of Grid as a sport. When asked about what attracted her to Grid, she mentioned that during her normal workout sessions with her training partners she would think, "It would be great if we could split up this workout based on our strengths..." After learning about the sport and seeing her friends in action, she came to realize, "Grid allows you to do just that."