Does it ever seem to you like paintball has more than its share of dumb and ignorant? Ignorant, by definition, isn't bad, just uninformed. Dumb, however, like ugly, goes more than skin deep--it goes all the way to the bone(head). The subject is the status (and/or fate) of pro teams. And, in truth, all competitive paintball teams. It's easy to crack on teams and players and that's okay. Really. For the pros, even paintball pros, it goes with the territory. The notoriety breeds glory and adulation--in admittedly tiny doses within the confines of the sport's followers--but it can also breed envy and animosity. That's just part of the price. Beyond that high profile teams and players are a part of paintball's public domain and talk, whether positive or negative, is just that, talk. So when some internet know-it-all starts running his (or her) mouth online it's no big deal.
The reasons for this are straightforward; the fundamentals of a successful team are skills, leadership, chemistry, consistency and heart, not necessarily in that order. Beyond that all competitive teams are like sharks, they need to be moving all the time, in fact, they are moving all the time and if it isn't moving forward it is going backwards whether anyone is aware of it or not in that moment. It is the unavoidable fact of competitive life; there is no standing still.
A failure or breakdown in any one area can frequently be overcome or made up for but as soon as two or more areas are in flux it is almost always a problem, and often a big problem. And in competitive paintball it is hard to sustain a team under any circumstances, even a good team and in the current environment there are a number of factors conspiring to make it more difficult that usual. If you've played tourney ball for any length of time it's easy to tick off the names of teams that have come and gone. The list of teams that have come and stayed is a very short one.
Right now one of the bigger issues impacting the pro game is practice--or the lack thereof because of reduced resources. Less paint, less practice. No paint, no practice. No practice and the edges start to dull. The commitment required doesn't have a direction. The desire and motivation to keep grinding and grinding with a purpose is frustrated. And before long the team, any team, begins to break down.
Even in the best of times things happen; players get jobs, go to school, lose motivation after they succeed. Team relationships and dynamics change and the reality is the difference between success and failure is often hard to impossible to define in the first place much less diagnose with the intention to try and fix. Most of the time the best anyone can do is focus on the essentials and hope the pieces fall into place. And when they do, take every advantage because chances are it won't last all that long.
Today some people see teams like X-Factor and Impact uncharacteristically struggling compared to where they were before and they are ready to write them off or diminish real past accomplishments in light of current difficulties and that's just plain stupid. Btw, I'm not suggesting everyone who runs down a pro team or player (or a rival team or player) should maybe have a little more respect or think before they yap. There are, after all, limits to what even VFTD can accomplish but I am suggesting there is a lot of sense in the old adage that it's better to remain silent and be taken for a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.