This post picks up where 'Riffing On Stein' left off--sorta. In the title I'm reminding everyone, myself included, that the pro context is PSP pro, not MS pro or generic "other" pro. Just so we're clear. Because it does make a difference. Anyway, after John Dresser (mega-Mod at PBN) moved Stein's original post to a higher profile forum it has turned into the thread that just keeps giving. And what it's giving me is indigestion and this odd tic at the corner of my left eye. (It was so bad for a while I started wearing an eyepatch .. and I almost posted to the thread directly.)
This time around I want to touch on two things; the lifecycle of the pro team and the oft-expressed belief money equals championships. Any comparison anyone makes to *real* professional sports and pro paintball is necessarily very broad and general at best and laughable at worst. At this stage of development all paintball teams rise and fall at the whim of their creators whether that's a wealthy individual or a group of friends banding together. And the team lasts only as long as the creators choose to sustain it. For the very simple reason there are no external forces at work that help keep them together. (Okay, this isn't totally true. Sponsorship inasmuch as it reduces the cost to operate may extend the lifecycle of a given team but that's as far as it goes.) And at the top of the game it is creating a future problem that is going to be difficult to resolve. Despite the fact teams usually have a limited lifecycle every team, every team creator, has aspirations of longevity, of continuity. And here is where the problem arises. The game's evolution has driven the teams to professionalize in order to compete and at the same time sponsorship shrank--and a lot of "pro" teams were lost. (And this process upped the ante on divisional teams too--but that's another post.) Now we have a high risk high cost webcast that is delivering the game direct to an international audience--and trying to figure out how to make it profitable. Whether the ultimate goal is television or not the critical juncture is profitability. If it doesn't happen the whole edifice collapses sooner or later. If it succeeds a truly professional league may arise but in the here and now the pros are seen as transitory and unreliable--yet how can they be anything else?
Let's shorthand the money argument shall we? I say Impact in 2013, you say Heat in 2012 and I say there can be only one--winner--and everybody else necessarily isn't so while the metric money equals championships sounds good it simply isn't true. The truth is money provides a level playing field if you're competing against similar resources and ought to provide some advantages over teams that don't have similar resources. And I say ought because while the money can make a difference it needs to be used in advantageous ways. So if you want to say teams with money [resources] unavailable to other teams have an advantage I'm still going to disagree to an extent. I agree they have a potential advantage and a potentially significant one. If you want to say it's unfair I will agree with that too. And that group of ten players is more talented than another group of ten. That too is unfair after a fashion, it's just not the sort of thing objected to in sports. Let's pick on Impact some more because it's a good example. Last year they had rostered players from all over the U.S. and Canada and they played in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Their schedule alone demanded resources only a handful of teams could even consider matching and we haven't spent anything yet on what matters when it comes to competing. Now let's add player compensation. Something Impact is able to do in order to draw (hopefully) top tier talent. To this point a lot of resources have been expended but not on competition or preparation. Did Impact practice more than most teams? I don't know, maybe. Did they practice effectively? Did they utilize their time and resources in better ways than their competition? They had a strong season. They had a consistent season. But they didn't win. You say money make them a top a team and I say talent. Yes, money matters. Especially if you ain't got any but it isn't the deciding factor. If it was the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins would be perennial champs as would the Red Sox and the Yankees--but they aren't.