It's been a long week. I was on the road most of the week which made posting difficult--(that's an apology for those of you jones-ing for more posts)--and my flight home last night was delayed. I didn't get home 'til after midnight. This morning we had practice scheduled to begin at 9am with the Red Legion. (My drive is around an hour.) Lately, afternoon temperatures have been running in the high 90s.
The PSP released Pro game schedules yesterday (or maybe the day before.) (See how out of touch I've been?) With the collapse of the semi-pro bracket and subsequent inclusion of Entourage & Aftermath the Pro bracket is up to 12 teams for Chicago. And we get 4 prelim games (again!) after getting only 3 in Phoenix. Thanks, PSP. (Though I gotta admit I find it a bit perverse to be grateful to get back what was arbitrarily taken away--but even so.) However--there's always an however, isn't there?--as a result it turns out we play the Legion in the prelims so it made for an interesting day of practice what with each team getting our last pre-event reps in and at the same time not wanting to give away too much.
We've got a ten player roster but CJ tore up an ACL prior to Phoenix. (He might be ready by World Cup.) And Jason Edwards, who injured some ribs working out this past week, is unable to practice and his availability for Chicago is uncertain. He'll be there and he will want to play but given the doctor's report I'm pessimistic. And Carthy missed practice today for a wedding so we ran with seven. That meant guys had to play out of position some points with everybody playing back-to-backs or three in a row. But it was a good thing. When a match is tight and the points are going back and forth and there is little discernible difference between the competing teams--it doesn't come down to tactics, famous names, popularity or past successes--it comes down to who wants it more, who can will themselves to compete despite the fatigue, pressure and expectations, who can execute.
The Legion coaches usually aren't too concerned about "giving away the game plan." They are interested in their players executing the game plan and you can see the fine-tuning as they make adjustments as the points unfold. The other thing they do is chart their opponents looking for patterns they can use in game-planning. Mostly they want to determine the lanes they will shoot for a given opponent and otherwise they are confident if they can get a good "read" that will help them OTB and prepare their players pre-match for tendencies to consider as the points play out they can (and will) out execute everyone. And history has demonstrated it's hard to argue with the way they do things.
I confess I'm not adverse to trying to make things a bit more difficult to discern. In this situation I have a variety of things I'm trying to accomplish and limiting what the Legion can feel confident about when it comes to what to expect from us is one of them. I'm also interested at this stage in our mental preparation more than I am in our execution but it's always valuable to prepare against the best. (With the shake-up in Florida paintball we've been scrimmaging TK--a very solid team--but it was easy to see in the first few points against the Legion this morning that we needed to dial up our intensity and it could have been a rude awakening to show up in Chicago only to realize we weren't where we needed to be.)
If any of y'all find this kinda stuff interesting drop a comment or ask a question and I'll post on tomorrow's practice as well.