It's Day 1 and on the pro field it's a new day. New teams and new names on some old ones. New rules; case in point, the 90 second rule (which was really 90 seconds plus or minus a few seconds here and there but it's a new day for staff, crew and refs, too.) New prelim schedule, 3 matches, new path to victory. No more best of threes, maybe for Cup? But what you really want to know about are some of the surprising scores, right? What happened? How?
If you want a blow by blow recount of the day's events probably the best you'll find is here at PBN. If you're wondering what it may mean for your favorites it's pretty simple. 10 teams start, 6 will go through. The top 2 seeds get byes directly to the semi-finals. The remaining 4 teams are seeded 3 v. 6, 4 v. 5. Winner goes on, loser goes home. With 3 prelim matches there will be some number of teams with identical records and, best I can tell after a cursory examination, there is a real possibility a team with a 1 - 2 record will go through as the 6th seed. That means nobody was determinatively eliminated today.
For the "new guys," Vicious and XSV, it was a long and probably disappointing day 'cus nobody likes losing but the truth is the transition isn't an easy one and both teams have made a number or roster changes during the off season. Another truth is that most of the time, no matter how good the player or players, this remains a team game and it takes time for a group of players to become a team. It's one of the great frustrations no matter what level you compete at, the sense of beginning again, starting over, re-building. For XSV and Vicious they also came to Phoenix with a sense of opportunity, of nothing to lose--but of course that's not true. Look for both teams to accept the Phoenix results as the hard part of an ongoing process, learn from it and come back better.
For those inclined to see the Ironmen and Dynasty losses as signs of decline, think again. Even with established teams roster changes must be assimilated and a new chemistry established. And part of that process is time together, learning the way new teammates play the game. The reality is there's not necessarily a lot separating any of the top teams on a given day and then throw in even a single untimely penalty and that might be all it takes. In matches marked with numerous penalties the outcomes in question were just simple wins or losses. Important in the here and now but no more than that.
Don't read too much into any single result. We play a season and it's the accumulation of results that tell the final story.
Look for more hard-fought lively action tomorrow.
I'll have more about this field, tournament and the pro play next week in a recap.