Saturday, March 1, 2014

The CEP Experiment: Living the Dream

There is a side to any competitive sport we seldom talk about. It is the aspect of the game that leaves its victims battered, dispirited and sometimes broken; it's losing. Not just the big game. Not once in a while. Not ending a hot run that comes just short of a huge victory. After all, everybody but the winner eventually loses. No, I mean the habitual loser. The player, the team that takes its lumps over and over. How does a team or a player sustain their effort in the midst of that sort of mental and physical beatdown? The answer is they mostly don't. It saps the will and chokes the joy out of the game, any game. Losing breaks you down piece by piece until there's nothing left to fight back. And perhaps what's worse is nobody cares. Losers are yesterday's news, the butt of jokes.
That's where I expected CEP to be today. I mean that with no disrespect at all because it's hard, so damn hard to keep losing. And that has been the team's steady diet since they joined the pro ranks. I figured they were just about done. Not only was I surprised they survived the off season but I was positively floored at the attitude the team has toward the upcoming season.
Somehow, despite everything the team has been through they believe in each other and their potential to turn this thing around. They are approaching the upcoming season with an impossible level of positive determination and excitement just to get back on the field of competition one more time.
They are also experimenting with crowd-sourcing to help fund the team for the 2014 season. On its own a clever and intriguing idea whether it works out for them or not. To check out their campaign go here. And for a PBA podcast featuring CEP captain Robbie Goldsmith look here. If you're interested in helping out time is rapidly running out.
Normally VFTD stays away from promotional pieces because if I started doing them I'd soon be swamped with them and this isn't a paintball news outlet. And I'm not going to encourage you to act on behalf of CEP either. What I will say is as a team, a group of players and an organization struggling to stay afloat they embody all the best characteristics of the true competitor and they have done so with character and fortitude in virtual obscurity because those who have never been where they are or done what they've done call them losers. And yet they persevere with unnatural grace under duress ready to grind again for the opportunity to compete. Unbroken and unwavering they still love the game that has tried oh so hard to crush them. There are a lot of lessons to be learned from the example CEP has set for those who can see them and they are all positive ones whether we're talking about paintball or life.


Anonymous said...

Teams like Cep defy the evolutionary life of a team. They are too good to hang in d1 every year, but can't hang in the pro division. Usually these teams fold after a year of losing but cep sticks it out. I suppose the champions division solves this, but I still wonder about the long term effects of putting a team in the perpetual losers division.

Nick Brockdorff said...

That's why the challengers division was created :)

Mike said...

Great post

NewPro said...

I agree, excellent post, tugs a little at the heart strings which is odd for this Blog.


BTW Coach, can you post up your top four for Dallas and this ones a little trickier, whose getting the boot from Champions?

Anonymous said...

Jester's only lived with losing in Challenger for one year. CEP's fortitude is either impressive or foolhardy.

Will teams like TopGun, 187 and Afteshock last as long if they don't find constant homes in Champions, coach?

Anonymous said...

Great article. I think something people fail to see with CEP is that they did have some solid performances this past year with a 3rd in Chicago and 5th at World Cup. Granted these aren't stunning results, I believe it proves they are a top tier pro challengers team with potential to eventually compete in the champions bracket. Also the beating of the world cup champs X-Factor at Dallas last year further proves this. I don't think you can compare them to a team like the Jesters who has been consistently at the bottom. Look forward to seeing what they bring this year.

KingSny99er said...

Coach - I know this is off topic but could you please share your thoughts about all of the offseason changes to the PSP bunkers, layout format, side line coaching,PBS limit change, ETC..?

do you believe all of these frequent changes are beneficial too the sport overall? is this a trial and error period the PSP is going through? growing pains?

what are your thoughts about the idea of Halfs?

thankyou - KingSny99er

Baca Loco said...

Given that part of my new duties include oversight of the two pro fields it might be deemed inappropriate were I to pick "winners" or "losers."

1151 Anon
Any team that can find small successes, enumerated goals achieved will have something positive to build on so they will be okay. Like any team they will on occasion need some fresh blood and new energy but teams that contending for a Champions spot and going back and forth are in the mix.

124 Anon
I agree to an extent but the reality is that for most players and teams consistent losing is brutally demoralizing. It may the Challengers was a boon to a team like CEP. And as long as Robbie and the guys can find ways to succeed in steps and maintain their collective positive attitude there is always hope of bigger and better things.

It is plain in hindsight that many of the changes didn't accomplish much if anything but the issue to me is why. If the PSP were making changes willy-nilly cus they can it would be a problem but the fact is most of the changes have been intended to improve the game--at least as the league sees it. And while nobody enjoys jumping thru hoops I find it easier to deal with because I know that even when mistaken it's a sincere effort.
I also think it's the nature of the beast to the extent Xball and all its variants are still "new" and we're still finding our way to a degree.

As to some of the specific changes this year bunker kit from Sup'Air is an improvement over last years. I am not a proponent of no back center props ever because it doesn't achieve the intended result (in my estimation) of speeding points up. The sideline coaching change is clearly a response to the player base or at least the vocal portion of it that has hated on sideline coaching of late. Pro ROF is more of a concern to me simply because the current game balances on the fulcrum of movement versus ROF and any change "dumbs down" the requisite skill level in my estimation.

As to halves. I get the intent, I just don't think it would matter all that much.

Bruce Anderson said...

I'm not sure why there is any paintballer out there who would still give CEP crap about not being in the Champions div.

I'd give my left nut to have the time and cash to be able to play at the level they do consistently. With the chumps i mean Challengers division they get this.

Is it the highest level of play in the world? No - but it is damn close and they get to rub elbows while still getting out there at each event.

The PSP could use another 5+ teams with the balls these guys have.