Officially it's Day 1 of World Cup but the first matches won't begin for a few hours yet. Sensible people are in bed trying to get some sleep. To get a good night's rest before the first marker is fired in earnest in the morning while the grass is still slick with dew and fog hugs the ground and clings to the boles of trees as if hiding from the rising sun. The quiet soon to be shattered by a thousand voices, the echo of horns and the incessant staccato racket as thousands of paintballs take flight.
Unofficially the World Cup experience has already begun. It began a few days ago with the early arrival of teams and players looking for some Florida fun to go along with last minute practices at nearby local fields like CFP. It began with the arrival of the PSP crew at Fantasy of Flight in order to get a dozen fields set-up and the grounds prepared for the vendors, parking and routine logistics of an enormous one-off annual event.
It began when the PBA team arrived to a-fix the cameras, lay the cable, build the studio and prep the broadcast facility for the webcast that begins Friday morning. It began when the dozens of vendors rolled up in their big rigs and rentals in order to set-up their booths and blast the music they hope will help attract a crowd.
My World Cup began in San Antonio nearly three weeks ago when X-Factor stepped on the practice field for the first time focused on preparing for this event. Each weekend a trip to Texas from Florida until finally the coming weekend is the event. On Tuesday I spent a half day with Mark "Twizz" Dale, coach of the London Tigers and a D4 Tigers team getting in their final reps before the competition. It's a great opportunity to meet new people, catch up with old acquaintances and offer a helping hand. (And means among other things I will be taking in some of Destiny's games this weekend--on purpose!--to watch my new favorite female paintball player, Shelley Farmer. It's a dead heat between her and Freddie from FL Charms.)
This afternoon (Thursday) X-Factor got in a final practice session with the Ironmen in preparation for Champions bracket play beginning tomorrow morning. The boys are rounding into form and the excitement is beginning to take hold.
For many divisional teams competition began today. For some the dream remains alive and burning hot. For others it's already fading. If this is your first Cup or your tenth, win or lose, take in the whole experience and enjoy the heck out of it. There is nothing else quite like it and as at every serious competition there is only one winner leaving the rest to regroup and vow to do better, be better next time. In the meantime World Cup has a lot on offer. Don't miss out.
I will try to post up something every day of the event and I'm planning on shooting some behind the scenes video as well as taking some photos for those who can't be at Cup this time.