Normally I'd be cruel and include 7-man in the coming litany of has beens and never was but I have a soft spot on my head for 7-man and besides, it's not a failed format in my estimation, it's a format that was failed. In fact most of the other formats I want to mention are all good, clean paintball fun--they just don't have any business being grafted on (like mismatched body parts on a Frankenstein's Monster) to a perfectly fine national series featuring variations of the Race To format. You know, stuff like Young Guns 3-man, gimme a freaking break. Or more recently pump, mechanical (Dare I say it?) UWL or even 10-man. [And if push comes to shove I'm not a huge fan of any division D4 or lower playing at the national level with the exception of World Cup, but that's just me being all snobby and stuff.]
I can appreciate the notion of the league trying to cater to diverse player interests but there has to be a limit and for me the limit is when the whole thing is little more than a sad laughing stock parody of what was intended. Nor do I lay even most of the blame on the league--with one exception--but on the caterwauling players claiming that players will show up in droves to play [fill in the blank] if only it was offered.
Well, it's been offered. Over and over and over again and the same 12 guys and that loser with a duffel bag full or Airsoft crap keep showing up.
Don't get me wrong. I'm all about Young Guns. I'm down with 3-man events. It's great to see pump play make a revival. And if mechanical markers only were taken seriously I think it would open up truly competitive play to a much broader participation base and I love seeing some Old Skool 10-man and I'm even willing to extend nook space under the big tent of competitive paintball to the UWL. My problem isn't with the formats, it's with the fact that no matter how loud the hue & cry gets to add this or include that at the end of the day nobody shows up. Okay, not nobody but not nearly enough bodies. And the PSP shouldn't be in the business of trying to be all things tourney paintball to all people. In part the truth is not all that many people are really interested and a national stage isn't the right place for some of the others. For the league it's a distraction and it dilutes the brand.
Then there's the exception I mentioned earlier. That would be 10-man. 10-man can't stand alone at this point in time or likely draw a real field of competitors from less than the national scale and nobody else is in a position to offer 10-man other than the PSP. (Except perhaps as a one off and the risk would be very high the promoter would lose his or her shirt.) But if the PSP is gonna to make the effort they need to do it right and quit treating 10-man like the red-headed stepchild it was at Cup and at Dallas. For now it ought be promoted only at the Chicago event and Cup and potential players need to know at the beginning of the year (when and where 10-man will be available) if the league is even vaguely serious about giving 10-man a real shot.