I'm in the middle of part 3 of the World Cup Practice posts but didn't feel like finishing it. Or perhaps more accurately got side-tracked, again. One thing I've been meaning to talk about are the logistics of a merger in the sense of how it might affect the actual competition irrespective of any format change. And then there's a couple of items that came up today.
The first isn't really new but my resolve to do something about it coalesced today. I am referring to the seemingly endless fount of email pressers the big event series spam you with as part of their "service" to their sponsors. I have objected to the volume in the past and nobody cared. (Which is fine.) But even as I ranted about it I let it continue resignedly accepting it as a personal sacrifice for the good the game sorta thing. Yeah, well, I'm done with that. Before I continue maybe I ought to make it plain that I am not a gearhead. Never have been. (If you are your tolerance of such mailers may accordingly differ from mine.) Never had more than a passing interest in the stuff of paintball so getting slammed with notices of those new barrels or that new shoe or whatever I couldn't care less and with the rising volume it has just become a nuisance. But the good folks at PALS have taken it beyond annoying and into stalker-ish territory. 18 email promotions in the last four days was the final straw. I couldn't easily unsubscribe so I relegated all PALS email to my Junk folder. And odds are they won't be the only ones. (I don't like direct mail either.)
In the last day or so somebody started a thread in the PSP forum over at the Nation ostensibly querying views on the Coaching Question. Referring, as usual, to sideline coaching, hollering, incoherent screaming, sign waving and the like. He did so by setting up the false dichotomy of more run throughs versus sideline coaching and equating run throughs as competitive paintball's version of the slam dunk. Once upon a time in basketball the dunk was exciting. When it didn't happen that often. Today, the way the pro game in particular is played, there may be a dozen dunks in a game. Whoop-de-doo. The more routine an action becomes the less interesting or special it becomes--not the other way 'round. Personally I'd rather see 48 minutes of good hoops than a highlight reel of outsized men jamming the rock through the hole at close range. But I get the analogy--even if it is flawed. The problem here is, that much like the OWS (and all the lookalike protests it has spawned) they may have identified a legit issue but their "fix" doesn't actually address that issue. A sideline coach never stopped a well-executed take down. Period. End of story. Now if the real issue is getting the take down and living to tell the tale that's a different issue--but even that isn't because sideline coaching makes it impossible or even nearly so. Time to move on.
Separate from the will-a-merger-change-the-format chatter is the question of what the Pro division looks like in the aftermath and how the merger might impact the other divisions. In recent years the Pro field in the PSP has been the exclusive province of the Pro teams until Sunday and even then the pro refs are exclusive to pro matches. In the PSP not only does the format contribute to a best outcome but so does the quality of the officiating. (It's not perfect but it's a damn sight closer than anything the NPPL has ever put on their center court--with one exception.) A continuation of the basic practices will either limit the number of pro teams or force an expansion of the pro reffing cadre and its supervision. And that is not a minor consideration. There has also been some talk of bringing back the Semi-Pro Division. Part of the problem is that NPPL has 10 pro teams that do not already participate in the PSP and the showing of (Pro 7-man competitive) Portland Uprising recently has to be viewed as a cautionary tale by the rest. So, A) there isn't room under the current system for everyone, and B) it isn't unreasonable to assume that some number of the potential new guys aren't going to be competitive--at least initially. Toss into the mix that only 11 of the current participants in the NPPL have "owner" status (and that may not mean 11 teams) and the plot thickens some more. One would have to assume that "owners" have a leg up but even then there are a few teams that currently have rostered players who also play on other teams and there's no telling exactly how that could shake out--although that is almost certainly part of the reason there are board members dead set against a merger. Whatever happens it isn't going to be as easy as simply deciding to do it. Part of whatever happens will be predicated on what already is.