I've already written 90% of the final Hammer Time! post and had planned to post it today. Before I got the post finished I had a brief conversation with a guy heavily involved in divisional paintball and decided to take one more stab at convincing y'all of the value of rethinking (and changing) the penalty structure. Oh, I know, you're open to change but if that's true you ain't been contributing much to the comments 'cus most of those betray, intentionally or not, the difficulty it seems many are having thinking outside the box.
But first, for those who missed it, a past series (or two) of posts focused on penalties and officiating, here, here, here, here & here that are on point and relevant to this conversation. If you didn't see them and you're really interested in this subject give them a quick once over. (Go ahead. Take your time. I'll wait. Done? Cool.)
Like in the 'Name That Penalty' series I want to highlight actual outcomes to illustrate the weaknesses (unfairness?) (inadequacy) of the current system. Since divisional no longer has a penalty box minor and major penalties result in pulling bodies, 1 and 2 respectively. In the case of a major the timing of the call impacts the penalized team to varying degrees. If it occurs early in the point the result likely leaves live players still on the field and capable of contesting the point--though the odds are stacked against pulling out such points. Same penalty called after the offending team has dropped a couple of bodies results in defacto loss of point as there's no one left to contest opponent. Finally, the same penalty is called against the last player on field which results in a point for the opponent and the penalized team starting down two bodies, 3 on 5 the next point. (Which, most of the time, results in the opponent winning the follow on point as well.) The same penalty call results in varying levels of impact based on the number of live players. (To my mind that is a problem on its face.) Now imagine you're playing RT2 or RT4 and consider the potential impact from that one penalty. Is this really the best option? And if it isn't how does one go about reconsidering?
Let's take a look at some other sports for clues. Hockey for instance has penalty boxes, time-based penalties and even extra chances to score. Basketball has fouls which lead eventually to added scoring opportunities but even with the greater number of points scored doesn't award points for penalties. And football penalties are largely predicated on field position, yards plus or minus. The real difference regardless of the sport is a proportionality to the penalties they assess that paintball has yet to replicate. And that needs to change.
Next time, I promise, will be the last one--for now.