Otherwise known as the 2011 Pev's, er, NPPL All*Star game. (Everything else was a Pev's this or a Pev's that. Easy mistake. I just got a little carried away.) I'm not sure it was just a game though. A match maybe. Or, as I rather prefer, a spectacle. Why spectacle? Because it featured yet another confusing and ill-conceived format change in the (apparently) never-ending effort to make 7-man better (without quite making it xball or Race 2 for that matter.) And because the introductions of the teams took longer than the actual game(s).
Before I continue I have a question: Who picked the All*Stars? And don't try telling me they were voted in by the public. The only way that happened is if the NPPL mimicked old style Soviet demokracy by allowing the voters to only vote for the players (candidates) on the ballot. And why did some teams have 3 player reps and others only 2? Who decided that? Look, some of the participants, heck, probably all of them are swell people but pro paintball all stars? Really? And seriously, how much money does Gio d'Egidio have and how much is he willing to spend on his kid's fantasy life? I realize voting in real All*Stars might be kinda hard when your league averages 40 7-man divisional teams an event--only 36 in DC--but if you're gonna fake it don't make it so blatantly obvious the thing is rigged next time. Next time. Right. I kid.
The following description of the All*Star "event" needs to be qualified with a regular 'as best I can tell' because nobody explained anything about the format changes except as incidentals as the event was in progress. So if you add a silent 'as best I can tell' to everything that will save me having to repeat it endlessly. (Thanks.)
Initially the announcer called it a best of 5 match. He also scored the first game a point when the West hung the (second) flag. It was played on the main field--and (parts of) it were probably available on the webcast. (I have no idea how much of the field the cameras actually covered.) I say second flag because there was also a center flag that couldn't be pulled during the first 60 seconds of the point, er, game, er, whatever. A buzzer sounded at 60 seconds to let the players know the center flag could be pulled. A first (only?) pull of the center flag was worth 30 points. A factoid were told after the second game when the East failed to pull it in winning the second game. The announcer called the score of game two 70-15 and later retroactively gave a score for the first game consistent with more traditional 7-man scoring. (No, I don't know where the first game "point" went.) The West followed with two more game wins to make the game count 3-1 after 4 games. It seemed like they were trying to turn each game around within a 2 or 3 minutes but nobody said one way or the other if they were on the clock or not on the game turnarounds. There was also some confusion after the fourth game and I thought they were done with the West "winning" 3 games to 1 but no, after around five minutes or so the teams took the field for one more game--which the West also won. After which Ms. NPPL, not wearing her title bikini, gave the trophy to the West All*Stars who pantomimed faux excitement at the victory and held hands to take a bow as the bleachers cleared. And just as the last of the audience was leaving the announcer gave the final score which was something like 309 to 110 but that must have been wrong as West won four of the five games. As best I can tell nobody had a fricking clue--including the brain trust that conceived of that silly, er, spectacle.
I heard later that the "real" plan is to play best 3 of 5 in brackets of 4 teams as the prelim round--next year. How that is better than the S7 prelim format attempted at HB this year I don't know. The issue with S7 wasn't the best of 3 format but a prelim round that only plays against three teams and the resulting tie-breakers. For a sample result look at any Millennium prelim round and you will discover that teams go thru all the time based on point differential and not wins or losses. At some point you might as well draw straws or flip a coin as play the games and if that's the direction the NPPL wants to go I can only assume they're less interested in the competition than the logistics and the opportunity to turn a buck.
But it gets better. Wait for the next DC Challenge post.