Friday, May 9, 2014

Paintball's Traveling Circus

Next week at this time the Millennium kids will be in Bitburg on the second leg of their 2014 series. Bitburg will have the usual competition plus another edition of one-on-one's and the Euro Women's Championships. Based on the teams listed Bitburg is down from the Mediterranean Cup numbers slightly and it's too early to determine whether it's a trend or not although the year-to-year numbers are down some as well. In recent years the MS has scoured Euroland for filler teams to take the place of attrition losses and there are few if any untapped regions left to pull teams from. And the stronger the national leagues get the less the incentive to compete in the Millennium. Clearly the Euro-wide challenge posed by the MS still appeals to a lot of teams but viable and growing alternatives exist.
(Unlike in the U.S. where local and regional series are unable to accommodate D3 and above teams for the most part thus pushing them into the PSP. This is almost certainly [an unintended?] function of the universal classification system.)
Once again the snake wire will be along the pit side with the D-wire facing the spectators. I didn't notice any particular difference it made at Puget-sur-Argens but I am curious what those actually watching on site thought. Did you like it? Hate it? Didn't care? Didn't notice? As to the webcast I expect once again to Shelley doing her best to offer some cogent info while Rene and Bear fight over the microphone and I turn down the sound. (It is otherwise quite good as are some of the guest announcers.)
Bitburg will also be all-grass. Does that have an impact on the teams at all compared to turf fields?

In two weeks the APL will be in Chicagoland for their second event of the season. At present 23 teams are signed up with only 12 teams paid. (The number paid hasn't changed in recent weeks but may simply mean the rest of those registered decided not to pay until closer to the actual event dates.) Even so, if everyone registered shows up we're still only looking at 23 teams across 6 or 7 divisions of competition and unlike the SoCal event at Camp Pendlteton there are no Dynastys or Heats registered for Chicago. On the plus side everyone podiums (or nearly everyone anyway.) Frankly it's hard to take the APL too seriously--okay, seriously at all--and if the Chicago event doesn't heat up quickly it's hard to see what justification they would have continuing with the series.

In less than a month the next CPS event will take place in Belgium and at last count there were nearly 50 teams signed up including half a dozen pro teams. There is some overlap of teams that also compete in the MS but the CPS also appears to be drawing teams that aren't part of the MS and this season they've chosen to schedule events behind MS events which may have served to lessen the sense of direct competition. The CPS is more laid back, less formal and more like a big party that just happens to have a paintball tournament going on at the same time. For some that's a good thing and for other's perhaps not so much. Regardless the CPS aims to keep the fun in paintball and that can't be a bad thing. The other thing the CPS does is bring PSP-style tournament play to Europe with a PSP field kit and layout offering the RaceTo 4 format--if I recall correctly

And before you know we'll be on to round three of the 2014 season and doing this all over again..


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