Day 1 was a story half told. By the end of Day 2 the story has been written for the majority of competing teams. The prelims are over and so is their tournament. After Day 1 we were a part of that uncertain limbo, our future in doubt and we had lots of company.
The morning pro bracket had a few surprises. Much to the dismay of the Midwest Aftershock struggled, seemingly unable to find the quality of game that has propelled them to talk of glory renewed this season, and finished out of the running at 1-3. Entourage turned that result around and went through 3-1 as the four seed and a Sunday morning match-up with Aftermath ( 5 seed) whose strong Friday wasn't matched with an equally strong Saturday. Vicious failed to reach Sunday but played like they belonged for the first time this season taking two wins home with them. And the Red Legion took the top seed and a bye into the semi-finals with an unblemished 4-0 run and some dominating play.
After Day 1 our plus/minus put us at the top of the teams that went 1-1. It's not much but sometimes the smallest of margins make the difference between going on and going home. After the first day it looks like Aftermath is on their game and Infamous is uncharacteristically off theirs but yesterday's scores are just that, old news. And doing half the job isn't enough to get you to Sunday and nobody is eliminated the first day. (Hey, paintball has cliches, too!) We needed our first match of the day against Aftermath. All my calculations tell me we can get through with a split--though it's hardly a given--but our odds go up significantly if the win is against Aftermath. Aftermath is a good team with a developing roster, a building organization and a good mix of experience, exuberance and hunger. After splitting the first two points Aftermath gets a major, followed two points later by another. It's an invitation to finish the match before it ever gets started and that's exactly what we do by a score of 7-1. The result leaves questions unanswered but it is a match we needed to win. Those questions will be answered in the last match of the prelims when we face Infamous. All year long, or so it seems, we keep banging into these guys. In 7-man we've had the upper hand but in xball they dealt a second consecutive second place trophy. The numbers going in leave Infamous small hope of going through but of more immediate concern is winning the match at hand. It's hand-to-hand combat from the beginning as we eventually forge a 3-1 lead. Amid penalties and some brawling paintball Infamous brings it back to 5-5. A final 2 point surge leaves us with a hard fought win, a sweep of Saturday and a trip to Sunday morning paintball and a match-up with Impact.
Whatever Saturday paintball demands it's nothing compared to Sunday. All the preceding effort has done is earn us a seat at the table of those who can finish Sunday as MAO pro champion. The real tournament begins tomorrow.