Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The AXB What?

VFTD was going to post the first Pro*file today but (as per usual) I've been distracted by the sudden exit of the AXBL a week (or so) after they released their 2010 schedule (and the usual suspects began complaining about this and that--but, of course, that's paintball.) [Team numbers appear to have been on the decline for whatever that's worth and there was a petulant quality to their au revoir. On the other hand I hear the AXBL didn't really make much of a profit and, as seems to be the case these days, it all breaks down to the cash to be had, or not, in paint. Go figure.] Anyway, I am not here to praise or bury the AXBL, it had some laudable qualities and some parochial qualities and in some respects I'm amazed it lasted as long as it did.

Let's talk xball--and I'm not talking 'bout that format-formerly-known-as-xball for pansies either. Last bastion of "real" xball, that's what the AXBL was. (Yeah, I know they still play it in the CXBL but that's Canada so it doesn't really count.) Of course it wasn't exactly the same as "real" xball. The rules were a bit different and they played with a ROF limit. Everybody knows "real" xball was "real" semi-auto. Trust me, I'm the ultimate fan of true xball and I would love to see it make a come back. And who knows? Maybe one day it will. In the meantime I'm not sure if 7 or 8 "real" xball matches a season is worth it. The NXL tried that too--we played a few more matches too--but it's just more fun to win events on the way to World Cup.

I'm also a fan of local and regional tourney ball as the appropriate developmental scene for competitive paintball and the AXBL seemed to do that pretty well. And it was clever to take advantage of the Canada/America thing to have a season ending league championship in each league and then a North American slugfest. As a result a regional league played bigger than it was and promoted a certain pride of competition. But wouldn't it be better if it really was a North American championship? Or even bigger than that? If an opportunity existed to compete at a local or regional level during the year in order to earn a spot in a real championship that included the top regional teams in identical leagues from around the country and beyond?

That's the hope and promise of the new alignment between a number of regional leagues and the PSP. Okay, so maybe it isn't "real" xball. It's still pretty damn good. And a season of competition has a lot of winners and losers on the road to a local title and, who knows, a real honest-to-goodness championship that proves who the best divisional teams really are.

The AXBL will be missed but bigger and better is in sight. But it ain't all cookies and milk. Fact is there probably won't be a place for everybody. Oh, not teams and players--I mean promoters and local leagues. Making the move the PSP and the affiliated regionals have undertaken has risks but if it succeeds it will marginalize all the other grassroots series and events. Why play local without the opportunity to prove yourself on a national scale when it's readily available to anyone with the desire to be their best? Fingers crossed. It could be a bumpy ride.

UPDATE: Looking for an immediate alternative to the AXBL? Check out the NYPL.

23 comments:

theone said...

I also think that this may be in part because of the close relationship that NAX/BuyPBL have with Smart Parts. It seems to me, a one time participant in CXBL/AXBL, that SP played a large part in the league. Seemingly providing league jerseys and unknown money (probably). With the recent occurrences at SP which has resulted in CXBL removing SP from their official press releases (see the one about Tanked developing the jersey's now for the league)it seems like NAX/BuyPBL were left with a gap in funding...so why not cut the league that (apparently) not making them good amounts of money.

The CXBL is the only major game in town in Canada and the amounts that prospective owners are willing to pay for open spots in CXBL have been reported to go for as much as $10k (in years past) JUST for the spot to play in CXBL's upper division. So, instead of focusing on the losing $$$ situation (apparently) that the AXBL represented; they made a business decision and cut their losses.

Some though, would take offense to the leagues official press release as to why they closed up shop.

Times are tough.

Floppyheaded Canuck said...

The NYPL is no comparison to the AXBL...

The whole last season was full of terrible calls, the reffing staff is made up of friends of the home team... guess who won...

I have never felt the need to comment on the league before, but baca be careful what you endorse...

Baca Loco said...

Thanks, Floppyheaded Canuck, I appreciate the warning but I fail to see how it's an endorsement. It's just an alternative that NYer's might want to -- wait for it -- check out.

FC, did you ever play the Sunshine Series in Florida? Something in your description sounded familiar.

Anonymous said...

The AXBL reffing last year wasn't so great, either. They had few trained refs and frequently asked MXL players to stay after they played on Saturday and paid them to "ref" on Sunday also.

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