As you've likely noticed I failed to post everyday of the event. There were a couple of other things I failed to accomplish as well a little higher up the priority ladder, I'm afraid. Next time perhaps. In the meantime I'd like to congratulate all the teams and players who participated especially those who came home champions. Well done each and every one. There is no feeling like it to be had in competitive paintball.
Now for the snarky part. With all the divisions of play presently available there are like, what, four or five hundred winners now? The league was rushing peeps onto and off the podium like it was the conveyor belt scene in the candy factory from the old 'I Love Lucy' show. Does the fact there is a D5 Race 2-2 World Cup champion diminish the accomplishment? I'm just asking but do a bunch of old guys who play once a year really get to claim they are World Cup champs for a once a year novelty division? I'd be cool with Masters Division champions at World Cup but when every Tom, Dick & Pietro is claiming World Cup champions status it almost makes a mockery of the title, doesn't it? Or am I just an elitist snob?
Now that I've riled everybody up let's move on to 10-man. First I want to correct the VFTD record with regards to just how the latest bunkers (inflatable camo walls, etc.) from Sup'Air found their way onto the 10-man field. Prior speculation was consistent with known facts but I tracked down the 'rest of the story' while at Cup. The PSP asked Adrenaline Games [AD] if they could make a one off old school 10-man field. AD said they could but given that the league didn't begin promoting a 10-man division until relatively late in the season the league didn't want to commit to buying a field for a division that nobody might sign up for. At which point AD volunteered they had some new bunkers they thought could work. The PSP said okay and there you have it. The truth then is that AD didn't do anything (this time) other than offer bunkers they had available and the league, looking to hedge its bet on 10-man, accepted. I remain curious about when (or if) the league discovered just what they were getting. And, as it turns out, regardless of what they expected or wanted the majority of 10-man players I spoke to liked the field and enjoyed playing. (While not a done deal VFTD believes the PSP will continue to offer 10-man play in a limited way in the future.)
One of the few places where this World Cup struggled a bit was in scheduling and one place it showed up was late Saturday afternoon on the pro field. The issue here wasn't that the schedule was wrong but that it probably should have been done another way, by divisions, even though teams within the divisions wouldn't all have played common opponents it would have produced clearer results. As it turned out with the last game played, Dynasty v. Heat, eight of the fourteen pro teams finished with 3-1 records. The problem, only 6 move on to Sunday. The top seeds--by margins of victory--were Damage and Heat which received byes into the semis. The next two, Ironmen and X-Factor had identical records and identical margins. The next tiebreaker is head-to-head but it didn't apply so their tie-breaker went to points scored making X-Factor the third seed and the Ironmen the fourth seed. Here it gets tough. The next three teams; Vicious, Infamous and the Russian Legion were all tied through point margins and since there were 3 teams the tiebreaker went directly to points scored which eliminated Vicious. (If there had been a head-to-head Vicious would have put out Infamous.) And finally there was Dynasty with the lowest margin of all so they too were eliminated.
All the pro teams played hard, win or lose, and there was a rumor going around the pits on Saturday that CEP would be playing Shock to retain their sponsorship. I don't know if that proved true or not but how's that for a strong incentive? Do you rise to the top or fold under the pressure?
In top divisional play Sunday delivered a few surprises (Florida Kings in D1) but mostly saw the consistent podium teams back on the podiums as the winners from D1 thru D3 were also their division series winners as well; T1 Topgun Union in D1, Revo in D2 and Palm Beach Venom in D3.
Despite the proximity of Sandy and some unseasonable temperatures the weekend provided some excellent paintball playing weather excepting Florida was only able occasionally to live up to it's nickname as the sunshine state. Compared to some past years when it's been blisteringly hot this was probably a welcome respite. As is often said here in Florida if you don't like the weather wait an hour.
Word on site was that while it wasn't the most teams ever (and it definitely wasn't) it was probably the most players ever at a World Cup and by the daily crush in the parking lot it is hard to disagree with that assessment. It also seemed to me--though I didn't spend a lot of time or energy on it--that there were considerably more fans, visitors, spectaters, friends of players about than we've seen in recent years--and I saw a lot more people carrying bags around like they'd been in to see the various vendors and had actually bought stuff. Purely anecdotal but reports from the big vendors will likely leak before too long so we'll see. There was a lot of new and different stuff on display.
A quick clarification on the webcast. I am told that there were points where Damage was playing and the new feature that shows which players were on the field sometimes only indicated four Damage players. That happened not because of unexplained penalties but because the PBA apparently didn't have a photo of Daniel Holliday to show so he was our mystery man all weekend. I didn't see any of the Cup coverage and haven't gone back--yet--to watch any of it so can't comment on the latest improvements.
On a personal note to everyone I ran into at Cup--especially those I haven't seen in forever (Ronan, Big Dave)--it was great to see y'all again. Friends are a great tonic for some of the nonsense that surrounds our game and helps keep everything in perspective.
And finally both last and least I was tapped for 3 interviews during Cup and guess how many of them actually happened. If you guessed none give yourself a cookie. MattyHo you can't keep dodging me forever. (Well, actually you probably can as I get older and slower every year.) If I didn't know better I'd swear it was a conspiracy of silence but as long as VFTD is here then so am I.