I had a conversation today with a friend of mine who used to be a pro player. He's still in the paintball business though his playing days are part of the past now. As usual it was a fairly wide ranging though pretty much exclusively paintball related chat--and it got me to thinking. (Which is almost always of sign of impending trouble.) Part of what we talked about were last week's posts about classification and we routinely go back and forth on the subject as he tends to be more solidly in favor of the system than I. I tried at one point to explain that compared to the early days of the UPC I was positively giddy about classifications these days but that I thought it was worthwhile now and again to look at the the other side if for no other reason than as a reminder there are unintended consequences sometimes that effect real people. Or that's the point I would'a tried to make if he hadn't suggested that what I was saying was akin to reminding him that once upon a time I called his wife fat and ugly but since she'd gone on a diet she was just ugly now.
Before the conversation deteriorated though an interesting notion was mentioned and passed over without much comment--until now, as I have a chance to think about it. (See what I mean about trouble?) See, he's convinced that divisional teams tend to (or would tend to without the UPC) avoid moving up if at all possible and that teams moving up are less interested in the (hopefully) superior competition and are instead put off by the prospect of having a tough time reaching the top. So in his view if the UPC wasn't pushing top teams up it would keep some lower division teams from continuing to compete at the national level. Which is, to my mind, almost the exact opposite of the frame of mind of a real serious competitor. However, I found the argument interesting and I'm curious what the rest of y'all think.
Have we come so far down the road to wimpdom that even so called competitive teams demand a handicapped system? Do teams not view the division leaders are targets? Or as the current benchmark of excellence within a given division? Do teams really try to avoid moving up because of the teams in the division above them? If divisional teams really are concerned about having to move into divisions they aren't ready to compete in the answer isn't to make that division easier, is it?
If all or some that is really true would be so bad if some group of average teams continued to play in a particular division indefinitely? Maybe they're better than the next division down but simply not good enough to move up. Is that a problem? Why?
I'm completely serious in asking. Rhetorical questions and all. It all seems almost alien to me. I have never walked away from an event thinking "boy, those guys were just too good, we'll never be able to compete."
What do you think?