And posts a not-quite-ready-for-primetime version of the HB layout. Hey, I enjoy a little comic relief as much as the next guy so I'm not gonna give the league grief over a grid to 3D image "inconsistency". (What, you missed it? One version, probably the 3D, mixed up which bunker was where in a trade between a Temple and a Maya Temple--in Sup'Air speak. Not a huge deal really. Heck, I'm still waiting to find out what a grand success the Hawaiian Challenge was. I couldn't resist.) I am however gonna give the league just tiny bit of grief over the last minute move of the snake side MT. If that was really necessary why did it take somebody pointing out the obvious on the internet to get it "fixed" and if there was nothing wrong with the original placement why was it moved? Consider those rhetorical questions. (Jet lag from all those Hawaiian trips? Okay, I'll stop. I promise.)
The bigger, more interesting question is: Does this help promulgate the NPPL and the 7-man game or is it another (unintentional) sign of the end of the league and format as a serious national competitor? Now this may surprise some of you but I think this was a clever idea well worth consideration--and I think it's probably a sign of a league on its last legs. Then again, this move and the move away from a legit pro division might actually save the NPPL.
Part of the problem the NPPL had to overcome in its latest incarnation (3.0 by VFTD reckoning) was that most places nobody played 7-man anymore and worse, there weren't any, or many, 7-man fields around on which to give the format a try. (And every year another upgrade kit came out reduced their numbers a little more.) After three long years of choking off their own potential grassroots growth moving to the other guys' bunker set means that from now on it will be possible to set-up NPPL layouts anywhere, or pretty darn close. The format instantly becomes accessible to huge portions of the paintball country where it had no chance before. But the move was also a capitulation, an acknowledgement that the other guys were delivering the product the majority wanted and that is a reality the NPPL still needs to make inroads against.
The answer may depend on what the NPPL and its fans [insert your own joke here] find acceptable. If they are satisfied being a second tier series doing their own thing for a modest fan and player base with a newfound potential to grow then they might keep the league alive indefinitely. Assuming they can get their finances under control without another moneyman prepared to cover the red ink. And if that is the way things turn out what we will see in relatively short order is real Race To-whatever in 7-man format if the HB layout is indicative. They may begin play with 7 players on the field but once the buzzer sounds they will be playing Race To whether they like it or not.