Monday, May 21, 2012

NPPL Chicago: Sunday

By now either you've heard--or you haven't. Infamous won, we finished fourth. Good for them, less good for us but given the way the rest of the results unfolded (according to my back of the napkin calculations) we should be first in series points heading into the second half of the season. And that's not a bad thing at all.
Our first match Sunday versus Arsenal couldn't have played out any better and I think everyone was feeling like maybe we'd turned a corner. We repeated the process we'd begun Saturday night on site to get ready for our semi-final against Infamous. While both teams played a similar game on the layout Infamous was considerably more patient and the points dragged out. We played well but made a couple of small mistakes, an ill-advised move, a foolish penalty that ultimately cost us a shot at the title.
In one respect it was a frustrating weekend because--with the exception of the Arsenal match--we never seemed to be putting our game together with any consistency. On the other hand we did a very solid job as a team talking through the game plans and visualizing as a group how we wanted to play. It's not like that has been a weakness in the past but when teams and/or players struggle it almost always impacts everything the team does. This time we handled the struggle as a team with what I thought was a lot of maturity and a unified effort focused on our shared goals. Something positive to build on.

I mentioned this on VFTD Facebook too. Mentioned what? Oh, yeah. The vast yawning sound coming from the competitive paintball community in response to the just past NPPL Chicago event. Or is it just my imagination? The shared forum at PBN with Living Legends is 90% Living Legends. The regular league forum is mostly dead and that includes the lead up to the event, during the event and in the immediate aftermath of the event. I realize the league isn't helping their cause--and no, NPPL guys, being the messenger doesn't make VFTD responsible. So what is the cause? Team participation numbers remain consistent if not spectacular. And sure there isn't the same kinda media coverage as there once was. And the best the NPPL could manage was Facebook photos and scores updates but still--it wasn't that long ago that players and paintballers were sufficiently interested they made an effort to keep up to speed. If there is no webcast does the event really exist?

I still have stats stuff to cover too. Both the rof-fi chips at NPPL and the comparo between the two leagues. Not gonna happen until after the Millennium's Bitburg Open.

One final comment on the reffing. I still think the pluses outweigh the minuses of the improved energy and activity level but--it was also a glaring reminder that consistency must be the highest goal. Compared to past events the refs were definitely flag happy and in the instances when it occurred the lack of flags (for similar offenses) produced a more obvious imbalance. Which was one of my issues with the Mills refs. If the refs are going to be extremely strict any failure to apply the same stringent standard results in a less consistent and more unfair result.

If there are any event related questions feel free to post them up in comments and I'll try to answer. Warning: I know zero about the bikini contest, the player's party or men in kilts or what they were or weren't wearing underneath.


Nick Brockdorff said...

Seems like this year is the turning point, and a majority has started to see the 7man format as less relevant.

I'm not one of those die-hard "7man sucks" kind of people, I like 7man, as a player (less so as a spectator), so this is not based on me wanting 7man to die.

It just feels like the battle is lost for the NPPL.... but that might just be because of the lack of hype generated leading upto the event - something the NPPL used to be world champs at, but seem to have lost.

Maybe they will improve for the next event, and be back on track - but presently, it seems like there is a distinct disinterest amongst the tournament community at large.

My personal feeling is, that the only chance the NPPL has for survival, is to embrace some form of 5man race-to format, and then compete on quality, because fewer and fewer view 7man as the wave of the future.

Mike said...

You played Impact in the prelims... and they took 2nd losing in OT to Infamous. What made them so successful this event? They seemed to dominate and JUST came up short.

Grant Harrison said...

It hasn't helped that Facebook has changed its privacy settings so not all posts on pages you have 'liked' get fed to your news feed eg NPPL's FB page. If Drew Templeton hadn't posted a pic on FB I would have known Infamous had one - the NPPL scoreboard hadn't even been updated...

As far as 'fans' go we're a lazy bunch too used to watching the box for other sports news. If paintball promoters want to get serious about promoting their events and the game in general they'd better get with the times and start developing scoreboard mobile phone apps to engage fans and of course without some sort of visual fix ie. webcast or at least delayed video releases of matches, all the hype over an event is lost...

In saying this, I don't think lack of 'fans' has anything to do with team turnout for events - because they have little relation to each other besides the moderate goodwill positive exposure can create for an event.

Baca Loco said...

Don't know what to tell you. Impact was playing well from the start but clearly Infamous got better as the event proceeded. I didn't see the finals so I can't say if there was anything in particular that happened but even so Impact still had some close matches and came from behind a couple times as I recall.