Okay, probably not really the last word but hopefully the last for a while. Mostly I wanted to reiterate a couple of past comments on this subject. First, a prediction: If the merger results in a format change it will take about three weeks for new state and regional leagues to pop into existence offering Race 2 variants and perhaps six months after that for some of those leagues, plus some of the ones already operating, to plan on a cooperative national championship event to be held wherever. Nature abhors a vacuum and if the mergents, in their collective wisdom, move away form the most popular format functioning today somebody else will make sure it's available. (Yes, mergents is a made up word. It means those participating in a merger.) And since the local and regional level can offer the format for considerably less cheddar than the national league those lower level leagues will instantly cannibalize some significant percentage of the divisional teams.
One reason that will prove to be true--should those conditions emerge--is because everyone who claims they don't care about the format is either a liar or a poseur, or both. Now there surely are a few players and/or teams prepared to go with whatever format but that doesn't mean they don't have a preference--it just means they are unwilling to admit it.
Then of course there's the fact none of this would even reach the discussion stage if the Industry could police itself. Virtually all the impetus to make this happen comes from a collective that can't seem to make a decision either individually or collectively as to where their actual interests lie. They say they want one league to support but that's a red herring, a blue mackerel even. Nobody has ever put a marker to any of their heads and forced them to support anything. And a merger of the NPPL & PSP does not, I repeat, does not, guarantee that there will only and ever be only one national league. At some point the Industry has to decide who and what they will support (or won't support) and it isn't the leagues, either one of them, that put the Industry in that position--it is their fellow industry members and their own intransigence. In essence the Industry is pressing for the merger in the hope one league will protect them from themselves. (Until another league, or leagues, come along and then it's right back where we started.)
Those of you who have been around long enough will know that I'm not a big supporter of the Race 2 format. That, in fact, each time Xball was watered down I railed (even "raehled") against those changes and would love to see something more like Xball return. Nor, despite some of the naysayers, do I dislike or disdain 7-man. (I've coached teams to series championships in both Semi-Pro & Pro in the NPPL.) Personally, I'm content to see two national leagues. I understand and sympathize with the aspirations of the pro team owners in the NPPL. The fact that I comment on the weaknesses and/or failures of one or the other league only means I'd like to see them get better and deliver a superior service to all the competitors. However, at this stage, if there is to be only one national North American league it makes zero sense to insist on some 7-man variant as the format. Look at the rest of the world. If Xball Lite has been good for anything its real claim to fame is that it has largely united the competitive paintball world. It would be foolish to move away from it now or make it even more difficult to compete. 7-man xball? Really? How big will that field need to be? Look at the chaos and ruckus adding twenty feet to the PSP field length caused last year. Are we in for a repeat performance of that? My point is simple. For better or worse the world plays Race 2. And so does most of North America and that is what the vast majority of fields that cater to competitive players is set-up to offer. It makes no sense to kowtow to the wishes and egos of a handful of team owners in order to effect a merger that will not, cannot, do what the Industry that is pushing for it wants.
Merge. Don't merge. Whatever. Try not to screw it up for everybody else.
World Cup field posts & practice coming next. (I didn't forget.)