Wednesday, June 30, 2010

PSP Chicago: Wrap-up

I've opted for a wrap-up post instead of the (day late) weekly update of the MLP events because the weekly update would mostly be about the PSP anyway. There's a handful of teams signed up for the next not so Grand Tour event, wherever it's being held. The NPPL is not yet making registration info available nor is there any follow-up info on the All-Star affair or Hall of Fame in the works. Does anybody, even those who have participated diligently in the NPPL 3.0, have the slightest idea who all the possible All-Stars are? I know I don't and I try to keep up to speed. How often does somebody watch an All-Star event and go "Who the hell is that guy?" during the introductions? The only piece of new data is the total numbers participating at the Millennium series' Campaign Cup this weekend; 49 teams in the 3 open divisions which makes for similar, if slightly down, numbers to the two previous events.

As far as this wrap-up goes it's really just an assortment of odds & ends I haven't commented on already. Like the UWL tie-in. I know they were there somewhere. I was invited to drop by prior to the event. It didn't happen 'cus I'm busy (and single-minded) at events but it would have liked to--except I never once thought about it after our event got started. All I heard post facto sounded like an Old Skool nostalgia tour with lots of high profile players from the past and resurrected team names meeting once again to do battle under the branches. Which is actually kinda awesome but maybe doesn't bode so well for the future of the UWL? How many regular teams attended?
Opinions have differed regarding the league's efforts to pull this event off. That's partly what the The (Tuesday) Monday Poll is all about. That and the general public perception. Most of the divide falls into two camps; the PSP did all it could with a bad situation versus maybe they shouldn't have put themselves in the situation to begin with. There's also a few who seem to think the league could have done more, somehow been better prepared to deal with the weather. When I lived in Phoenix there was a big housing boom. Surprisingly for those unfamiliar with the desert one of the things builders were required to plan for was flooding. (There's a monsoon season, Phoenix is in a valley, and the normally rock hard dry ground is unable to soak up lots of water with the result of occasional flash floods.) The flood standards were described in terms of their likelihood; the twenty year flood, the fifty year flood up to the 100 year flood with each describing a scale of flooding. The 20 year flood was one that was statistically likely within any 20 year period--and so on. Builders competed, in part, on the level of flood security they offered. In terms of dealing with the weather the real question for the PSP is what is a reasonable level of preparation for the unexpected?
The league also introduced some new stuff at Chicago that has been in the works for a while; the new scoreboards, pit scoreboards and so-called Easy buttons for conceding a point. There were a few kinks in the rollout but by and large it worked as intended. My only "complaint" is that spectators can't see the blue numbers from the grandstand very well at all. Otherwise it seemed sturdier and better suited for outdoor use than the old equipment.
And now for the shuttle system. It worked but only just. I'm left wondering if the league planned on using that Balmoral parking lot the whole time, rain or shine, because I don't know where all those cars would have gone on Badlandz property. I also wonder if some of the delays Friday and Saturday had as much to do with the the inability to get players on site in a timely fashion as anything else. And if the shuttle was always part of the plan why we weren't told about in advance with the suggestion that extra time be allotted to the process of getting to your matches on time.
At the end of the day I also think this venue poses a problematic question for the future: What is the tourney baseline today? What is the minimum acceptable venue for a major league event? Everybody understands the current climate but realistically the majority of participants are everyday paintball enthusiasts who aren't so driven they will do anything and accept anything in order to compete. They are competitors but they are also customers and most of them have much cheaper options available to them at the local and regional level.
Which brings me to perhaps an even more vexing question: With the decline in Race 2-2 participation what can the PSP realistically do? (Or, how long can they keep doing Phoenix?)

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