Players and teams from around the world are converging on central Florida to take part in the greatest paintball competition of the year. Saturday and Sunday dozens of teams and hundreds of players flooded the fields at Central Florida Paintball including pro teams Damage, Infamous, Russian Legion, Ironmen & Vicious. Teams will continue to flock to the field for practices reps until the day the tournament begins on Thursday. Meanwhile more players and teams will continue to arrive over the next few days.
Back in the day World Cup was a literal week if you were competing in both 5-man and 10-man competitions. Nowadays World Cup manages to contain all the action in a four day span but that doesn't diminish the event at all. For one week every year competitive players everywhere turn their attention toward the World Cup as does much of the rest of the paintball world. It is the greatest show in paintball and the most coveted title; World Cup Champions.
We finished our field preparations for Cup on Sunday grinding out nearly 40 points with Infamous. On Saturday it was with Vicious and the weekend before (just after the layout was released) 187 Crew came down for a two-dayer. (There is a long and noble history of made up words so just go with it already.) It was a productive weekend and I am satisfied with where we are going into the event.
Now the sad truth is I'm a frequently jaded and cynical participant in the traveling circus that is big time competitive paintball. I go to compete. I go to win. I enjoy renewing acquaintances and friendships along the way but otherwise the tournaments themselves and their locations all began running together a long time ago. The travel stopped being an adventure and became part of the grind. I'm into my third decade of World Cups. And yet--
Somehow World Cup can still fire the imagination. It stands alone. It is the must be a part of paintball event for every player. People often ask me if World Cup is really that big a deal. Is it worthwhile to make the trip and I unhesitatingly always say yes--but don't just come to World Cup. Compete in World Cup. Over the years it's moved from the original 'Paintball World' in Kissimmee (and New York before that) to a cow pasture on Poinciana Blvd. to Disneys Wide World of Sports to a pitch of chunky grass at Fantasy of Flight in Polk-freaking-County and none of that matters because it remains World Cup.