Ok, not so weekly lately but I kinda lost interest. No, I'm not a borderline burnout but after the first couple of events the arc of the season for the MLPs was set and nothing really happened to shake things up and unlike in years past the approach of World Cup hasn't really churned up the rumor and gossip mill(s) like it once did so I decided I didn't want to re-hash the same old over and over. The paint biz continues to be a critical calculation and the off season hints at the possibilities of change with Procaps sinking fortunes, the return of Richmond, the Valken Maneuver & the introduction of the HydroTec paintball. (What is the Valken Maneuver? I don't know. I made it up but it implies that Gino always has something up his sleeve. Which he does. For good or ill.) There's just not a lot of chatter and the Magic 8-ball keeps coming up "Try again later."
The Mil Series finished off its season last weekend outside Paris at Disney and everything appears to have gone off with nary a hitch though the "sold out" event was indicative of generally lowered expectations and a conservative move by the Board to control costs.
It will be interesting to see if the closed divisions and licenses continue into next season. A real threat from the PSP to invade Euroland would either compel the Mil to loosen up or further entrench in an effort to maintain control. Sadly it continues to seem highly unlikely--as least from my perspective--despite heavy rumors earlier in the year. One thing I'd like to see from the Mil is team rosters, particularly in the CPL & SPL.
World Cup is just around the corner with registration officially closing this Friday and firming up by early next week. New registrants continue to dribble in with the total up to 275 as of this morning. So far 167 teams are paid and xball teams continue to outnumber 5-man (or in current PSP speak Race to X has more teams than Race to 2 which continues the trend seen this season but which is counter to the history of the event.) By the look of it PSP has also limited 5-man participation and there are more teams registered than there are slots so if you're planning on playing Race 2-2 get in as early as you can. It's hard to tell whether the PSP's move this year to shorten events has made a difference in participation but it has put pressure on the league in terms of the number of fields required along with staff and I wonder how that trade-off has worked out.
NPPL Vegas is this coming weekend and the schedules came out today. It seems the league has mixed the Pro & D1 prelims again despite rumors of a move to the S7 format for the Pros--although that could still be implemented on Sunday but it strikes me as unlikely in that it destroys the suspense. A best of 3 but all played within a 15 minute non-running clock format would mean outcomes were decided right then given certain match-ups whereas the old way dragged it out and gave the other divisions some grandstand court time. Whatever. By my count yesterday it looks like Vegas & the NPPL will host 101 teams with 60 (including the Pros) competing in the 7-man format. The turnout is an improvement over last year and the NPPL has made a concerted effort to offer lots of extras in a revival of the old NPPL spirit. I'm still not a big fan of parking lot venues but the Vegas set-up is about as good as parking lot paintball gets.
On a more personal note our efforts to arrange practice prior to this event fell through on account of too many conflicting player priorities. You know, real life stuff like school, jobs & family. And for the fourth time this season our roster will be different--but only slightly so--yet I'm confident the team will be motivated and mentally prepared for the challenge. And the schedule cut us a huge break as we're in the afternoon session so we'll get to see some games and have two or three short breaks to get on the field briefly before (and after) we begin play. Our sole goal Saturday will be to survive and make Sunday. Every season only a handful of teams win events and/or have an opportunity to take home a series title. It's a great place to be. It's what competitive paintball is all about. It's what sports is all about. Rising to the occasion and overcoming all obstacles in order to succeed; to win.