Wednesday, December 16, 2009

'09 Year in Review: PSP Venues

At this rate it will take a year to do the Year in Review–and with absolutely no guarantees it will be worth the wait. (This is one of the problems with blogging. Some subjects require more thought and preparation than others while blogging generally encourages volume and brevity. And don’t get me started on tweeting. How incredibly gay is that? Twitter is the bastard stepchild of blogging and texting and carries the worst attributes of both. But I digress. Again.)

This installment of Year in Review is rating the venues, the logistics, the vendors and the vibe of the PSP. (Tomorrow the USPL/NPPL 2.0) I'm gonna be bad at this. I'm tired of the traveling road show and as long as my field is in order when we walk it it's all good. I don’t care about anything but winning and I tend to be single-minded so the only things that get my attention pertain to winning. The last time I made the rounds of the vendors actually interested in new gear WC was still at Paintball World. Most of the time I only pass any vendor because I have no other option. I’ll drop by a booth or display here and there but I’m looking up people and not gear or goodies. I usually hate whatever music is playing because it’s usually garbage. I enjoy the girl parade as much as the next guy but I tend to grind my teeth to avoid rolling my eyes when they start talking. (That, by the way, isn’t a chauvinist comment. My consternation has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with inane yammering. Show me the booth babe who knows who Yeats and Renoir were and trust me, I’ll be fascinated.) And beyond all that there is a huge gulf between how somebody experiences an MLP event for the first time or the forty first time. Keeping that in mind; here goes.

PSP
Phoenix--suitable location, hotels, restaurants, etc. Good accessibility and good grass. The facilities on site provide a sense of permanence and indoor plumbing. The latest theme (or scheme) logistically is to lay out the vendors in such a way as to force all the players to walk past them repeatedly. Unfortunately it did not result in waves of impulse buying (pun intended) but the number of vendors was generally so small this past season as to not be a major inconvenience--until World Cup. The mood is always good here because it's the start of the new year. Everyone is hopeful and happy to be competing again. And win or lose there remains something to play for after Phoenix. Grade B-

MAO--is the archetype of the PSP's back-to-basics it's all about the competition formulation. (It's a dedicated paintball site and cheaper.) Normally a part of the Paintball Central family of fields and stores the MAO site routinely hosts other tournament events the year round. It's a compact venue, which is a plus, but as a full time field the grass isn't always the best. Parking can get muddy and the gravel is a pain but still an improvement over more mud should it rain during an event. The Rock Hill area has good accessibility, hotels and the rest but isn't exactly party central after sundown and downtown Charlotte is at least 45 minutes away. This is a taking care of business event. Grade C-

Chicago--in recent years this has been held in the distant suburb of Bolingbrook on property adjoining a small water park. All the essential amenities are readily accessible here as well although things are perhaps a bit more spread out. (Our hotel of choice the last couple years has been a solid twenty minutes away but there are others that are closer.) Parking in a church lot is preferable to parking in the city's cornfield across the street and the layout in Chicago is particularly annoying as it compels you to drag your bags thru a virtual maze to reach your playing field. Even so, it's not horrible, just less convenient than Phoenix or MAO. Chicago does have a unique quality as it is usually the second largest event and gets the big Midwest turnout with a lot of partisan fans and the energy they bring. On the downside the ground is hard and the grass is thin but it plays well enough. It’s frequently really hot in late June and overall the venue is a bit cramped. Grade C-

World Cup--the Fantasy of Flight location was out in the sticks a bit but still only 25 minutes or so from Disney, Kissimmee and Old Town. Besides the location (that some didn't like much) the major complaints centered on the long and winding path through the vendors to get to the fields and the cross country hike to the registration area located in one of FoF's buildings well apart from the venue itself. (Reaching your field wasn't nearly as bad if you simply parked where you weren't supposed to. Fortune favors the bold.) With the lifting of the vendor restrictions by the league the turnout for Cup was the largest, by far, of the year (as Cup has traditionally been anyway) with lots of new gear lines and products being introduced to the public during the event. That, and the access restrictions that are part of the routine security measures created the unwelcome walks. However, for a first time in a new place the logistics were adequate. Cup is necessarily big and more spread out. Some of the fields were uneven and perhaps less than ideal but certainly, on the whole, no worse than the Disney fields. Grade C

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Crap Pun - There wouldn't have been any Impulse buying at Phoenix, because they didn't release it until Chicago...
So the more correct statement would be that there has been little or no Impulse-buying, at all, since Chicago...

anonachris said...

Did some kid from PBN hijack your blog and change your grades?

Those sound like the grades from some goofball who insists all his events be in a stadium or on the beach.

If the grass is good, the venue large enough, the hotels nearby and relatively cheap, and the flight connections decent the only other thing that matters with the venue is how easy it is to get to. (Well not the only thing, basic infrastructure etc)

Real rating:
Phx B (grass could be better)
MAO B+ (great gass and cheap hotels make up for bumbleville location)
Chicago B+ (strange location, but it works consistently year after year)
World Cup B+ (anything in Orlando area close to a highway with decent grass will score high marks with me)

And I almost think I'm being too hard on the venues... Nothing got an A. What would consitute an A for me? There are only so many realistic venue locations that are actually good for the size of event and playing paintball at.

I think you need to go back and first tell us what constitutes an A grade event so we can see what your benchmarking off. For all we know you're a D- student, so a grade of a C is exceeding expectations!

anonachris said...

I propose this...

Make a list of 10 things a venue needs to have. Identify the 4 most important and assign them extra weight.
Rate each of the items on the list from 1/10.
Add up, divide, compare.

If the PSP were hero's they'd do this immediately and send out an email to all their players to at least get a very good feel for how the players rated last seasons venues and see what players value (or at least say they value)

Baca Loco said...

Okay, Anon, A) you're a literalist and B) you actually knew when the new Impulse was released. That makes one of us. Simpler is funnier. :)

Aonochris
Sorry, I don't grade on a curve. I don't care about Little Johnny's self-esteem and not everybody is as smart as everybody else and not every venue is the bestest it can be. It may be perfectly adequate but adequate isn't exceptional. Any grade above a C makes it better than average. The PSP venues are adequate and there's nothing wrong with that.

Counter proposal--YOU make a list of ten things and I will be happy to offer a rating based on your criterion.

anonachris said...

Bah... that sounds too much like work. You're the one doing this for fun. I just like to watch myself type, but I don't want to have to stop to actually think longer than it takes to wiggle my fingers (a true paintballer to the core).

But really, I was interested to see the 10 things you'd pick and define as appropriate criteria or value-drivers for a venue.

franktankerous said...

Anonachris...

Baca has always been a rough critic. I'm pretty sure thats why we read his blog, cause he's not just making everything smiles and rainbows. On the other hand he doesn't shit on everything because hes old either.

The grades he gave out were on point, a "C" is defined as "An achievement that fulfills the average standard" basically hes said that MOA and Chicago were slight bellow average, but not deficient and far from failing. Cup was average, and Pheonix was an above average event. That all sounds reasonable to me...

By this grading scale it would be hard to find an event in todays day and age that would qualify as an "A", but I also don't think the sport has enough money flowing in to hold an A level event that brings together a great venue, in a great city, with ample flights, good non player turnout, perfect layout, good parking, ample supply of vendors, close by nightlife, close by and various quality hotels, and on top of all of that good weather.

Hey look theres your ten grading points.. Good work Baca cant wait to hear what you thought of NPPL

Patrick said...

How about we all work together to come up with a list for Baca.

I'll start by saying I think number one on Baca's list of A venues would have a Drive thru Pit with a covered parking spot. :-)

-patrick

crotchetyoldfan said...

ten things to grade a venue on?
1. convenience
2. low cost
3. convenience
4. low cost
5. convenience...

anonachris said...

Define convenience ;)

anonachris said...

Low cost what? For whom?

Reiner Schafer said...

Didn't we have a poll about what costitutes a good venue a little while ago?

Baca Loco said...

How soon they forget. But that's because they's too damned lazy to even vote. Bah, humbug!

anonachris said...

What are you talking about? I voted for Bush back in 2000?

Twisted Games Of Texas Paintball said...

"...a great venue, in a great city, with ample flights, good non player turnout, perfect layout, good parking, ample supply of vendors, close by nightlife, close by and various quality hotels, and on top of all of that good weather."

In my opinion, that is about as close as you can get to HB.

Am devastated my son now refuses to play 7-man as I always looked forward to HB. Heck, I started buying flip flops and sunscreen around the end of December every year just in anticipation. Wonderful memories....

franktankerous said...

Twisted...

I agree HB is a great event, as close to perfect as we have now. If we could get world cup vendors, the new releases (for gear), and all the industry attention to happen at HB with the spend happy NPPL staffers, then we'd be talking about an "A" class event for sure.