By the numbers it wasn't extraordinarily hot or muggy. Don't let that fool you as it was plenty hot. Maybe not quite carting off players with heat stroke hot but hot enough to be a potential factor in the outcome of matches. Today the divisional teams got started competing and the pros got in some last minute practice. Friday morning PBA fires up the old webcaster right around 8:15 am, erm, nope, make that 9:45 am. Don't you hate it when they change the schedule at the last minute? Me too. Oh, and there's nary a sign of any Challenger matches on the prelim webcast schedule this event.
Is it possible that the kids at CPX added some rocks and debris to the fields from last year? Probably not but the Champions field is pretty rugged and some of the others look pretty bad too. Some patches of uneven ground, ruts, gopher holes? dirt and rocks mar portions of most of the fields. (This is why I predicted injuries on the pro field--but I hope I'm wrong.)
Another prediction I made concerned the percentage of matches going to max score after a couple of years of slower, to time games. In a sample from D1 78% of today's 39 matches went to 5 points and while it doesn't reach the level of my prediction it suggests my prediction has a chance of being correct.
As usual the pro field is a long walk--from everywhere--past all the vendors over the same sort of rugged uneven ground that are the Chicago fields--which is fine for the youngsters but there are more of us old guys around than the league seems to recognize. (No, we aren't playing, just paying--and working on behalf of ours and others kids. I'm just saying we deserve a break.) (See what I did there? Now I'm a champion of the people, the old and downtrodden, instead of a lazy old whiner. Pretty slick, right?)
One other item of note is the latest lame fiasco from our friends at Sup'Air--the new penalty box, formed of the inflatable walls and doorways first seen last fall at World Cup making a mockery of the 10-man field. (Was that a wee bit harsh? Good.) In this version the pro fields now have oversized silly penalty boxes/starting boards with doorways on either side. Players in the box will have the choice of running out either doorway but won't be able to see anything while in the "box." With player(s) in the box the refs will have to assign a ref to let the player know when he can leave and there's been some talk of marking off a smaller start area as otherwise players at each end of the new structure would already be halfway to either corner. (Ok, that's a slight exaggeration but still.) The doorways, btw, are behind the boundary baseline so I imagine there will need o be some rules modification for players exiting this new monstrosity as well.
Welp, I don't know about y'all but I didn't go to bed last night 'cus I had a 5 am flight and, you know, things to do. Managed a couple of hours of sleep on the flights up from Tampa but we were scheduled to practice the TonTons at 1 pm and we needed to get everybody together, scrounge up some pods, get our paint and find a heavy duty first aid kit (because the practice fields were perhaps worse than the playing fields.) Oh and do all the routine stuff like registration and walk the event field. (Ok, so maybe I exaggerated the first aid kit thing but it could'a come in handy. Just saying.) See all the Champions action live on the webcast and check in everyday for more from VFTD. Good luck to all the competitors.