The PSP's Northeast Open is in the books and as usual there are a million stories to tell. Unfortunately I do not feel at liberty to tell the best of them. And by best I mean those that would scar the innocent and shock the naive.
On the other hand I also feel the occasional pang when criticizing one thing or another because there are peeps involved I either like or respect and sometimes both. Even so I accept that pain for the pleasure it brings, if you know what I mean.
Some will disagree but all things considered it wasn't horrible which is a victory of sorts given that the site had no business hosting a national event. C'mon on down folks and watch the greatest players on the planet from a tiered pile of rocks and mud on a non-regulation layout while we deny those same players the opportunity to participate in their matches except when on the field. Hurrah! And then there's the image it presents. It's a poor idea to have a league owner host an event when that owner also has a particular stake in the outcome. There's apparently already been some internet chatter about Philly and Dynasty practicing on the NXL event field and everybody with any stake in the matter has made every possible excuse as to why in this instance it didn't matter. But if it didn't matter why all the excuses? And if it really didn't matter how bad does it end up looking when those same teams end up in the finals? It's a no-win situation and could have, should have been avoided. There was another turf field right next to the NXL field. Why didn't they practice on that one? That wasn't so hard, was it?
There's a reason the league long ago decided to stop allowing teams to practice the actual competition fields and there was absolutely no reason and no excuse for it being allowed this time.
Along similar lines I'm hoping someone will be able to explain how it is that the rules are the rules except when they aren't. The rulebook goes to fairly precise detail about how a field should be set up including the pits et al. Well, of course pre-existing structure required some modifications to those rules and some for this event only judgments (modifications based on the modifications of the rules) that were, IMHO, assinine at best. But beyond that when you scrape away all the particulars what's left behind is that the league will alter rules for the sake of convenience. Now you may say in this case it wasn't a big deal and I would agree with you but if you've been involved in paintball for any length of time you also ought to recognize that coherent, comprehensive rules are the only things that make a sport a sport and the history of paintball makes deviation from the rules a very short and very slippery slope. Consider yourselves warned.
One good story I can tell you involves your hero and mine, Chris LaSoya, of Aftermath. The reason I'm telling you this story is because of the one I've already posted about Pony in last month's archive. It seems Chris had a tiny little fit during an Aftermath match not unlike the one he had at Buffalo NPPL in the Spyder field deadbox. The button for conceding a point didn't work and Chris got upset at the loss of time, etc. and slapped the button and housing around a little and got into a shouting match with Dan who objected to his equipment being treated so poorly. It was ugly, abusive, angry and most excellent entertainment. But the point is the league, in the person of the commish, dealt with it directly and it resulted in a brief suspension for Chris. I've yet to hear anything about the Buffalo incident except for the swoosh of brooms working overtime. That in a nutshell is why I personally tend to favor and have some faith in the PSP over the NPPL and also why things like the bent (but not especially important rules) continue to put the nighborhood cats in jeopardy.