It's Sunday night. I'm at LAX waiting for my red eye flight home to Florida. If you're a fan--and given that you are reading this right now you probably are--you know the results. But if you didn't watch the action on the PBA webcast you missed out big time. Dynasty missed the top four when they tied Heat in the final prelim match-up. Event winner Tampa Bay Damage dropped both their matches on Saturday but came storming back on Sunday. And in between the extremes there was more drama, excitement and suspense woven into three days of competitive paintball than I've seen in many years. (Doesn't mean it was perfect but it was spectacular paintball nonetheless.)
Riverside was an acceptable venue. The fields were a notch or two above some of the venues the league has used lately and while it was hot it was not debilitating like some past events where the heat was just crushing. The city of Riverside was also an improvement over the similar location of San Bernadino used a few years ago--although not up to par with places like Phoenix it was certainly adequate. (That doesn't mean I can't wait to go back there but it does mean if I were to see Riverside among the venues again I wouldn't slit my wrists either.) Parking was, shall we say, congested (much like LA traffic at rush hour) and must have resulted in a lot of minor damage--hopefully to insured rental cars.
Additionally the fact I'm not commenting on a few topics that this blog has been critical of lately doesn't mean everything was swell, only that I'm taking a break from tilting at windmills for a bit.
Will the real X-Factor please raise your hand. If nothing else let our performance be a reminder that success is more than X's and O's, raw talent and superstar players. It is about conviction, confidence, and a gut deep determination shared by teammates that believe in each other and play like it. We came into Riverside off the best practices of the season under our belt and an outwardly positive attitude that proved in the crucible of competition to be misplaced bravado. To their credit though the boys refused to roll over and with their backs against the wall played on Saturday the paintball we had prepared to play. Sure there were other contributing factors like penalties but the decisive difference came from within.
For those who missed it in one of the Challenger semi-finals the Ton Tons were found to have 4 guns spiking velocity. The result was three majors, a match misconduct and a minor penalty the totality of which resulted in a point for Aftershock and three Ton Tons in the box serving two minutes each. On site rumor suggested the league confiscated the guns and/or boards after the match to determine if the velocity spiking was intentional or not. At this time VFTD hasn't heard whether or not a final determination has been made yet and I have no idea if this was an intentional act or not or an isolated incident or not but your humble correspondent has suggested that this issue and others like it were going to reappear given that the league has gotten lax in its efforts to enforce the gun rules. (I did not post about the likelihood on VFTD but rather spoke directly to a PSP honcho or two last year.) Hopefully this will, if it does nothing else, serve as a wake-up call for the PSP. (Btw, don't take my use of the term "spiking" to assume I'm suggesting the Ton Tons acted purposefully, I'm not. I'm simply trying to be brief--but it doesn't look good.)
UPDATE: seems Lane has commented on this over at PBN. At first glance it doesn't make a lot of sense. Perhaps more comments tomorrow.
A bit about the layout, slow play versus fast play etc. The relevant characteristics are open shooting lanes OTB and minimal defensive or control bunkers. I'll talk about both this layout and the new Paris-Chantilly field layout.
VFTD would like to wish Kirill Prihidni of the RL a speedy and full recovery as he sustained an apparent achilles injury over the weekend though the full extent of the injury wasn't certain Sunday.