Looking back at last weeks event just seems so strange to me. Like it just came and went in such a manner that I’m not even sure how to explain it. This maybe due to the fact that last years first event was strange due to the weather eliminating the pro bracket until it could be completed at the second PSP event.
In any case I have to say I really enjoyed the event. The weather was great, I mean it was wonderful. It felt so nice to just sit and soak up the sun. This is mostly because I knew what was in-store for me as soon as I came back to Chicago. The venue at Cousin’s was very nicely laid out, it was wide open, and the vendors were there in force.
Things got off to a good start for the team, Houston Heat, as we walked the field and gathered our new gear from G.I. Sportz, DLX, and Raza. We registered with the PSP/APPA/Paintballaccess in such a smooth manner I don’t even remember it. Camille and the gang had everything arranged in such a way that they moved the teams in and out with out a hitch, at least without any that I know of.
That is one thing I think that needs to be pointed out right now, the PSP’s ability to work with and be a part of multiple entities, some of which are you could say close to being the same thing. The set-up crew that services the fields, Paintball Central for the air, the whole Paintballaccess crew, and the check-in crews. They are all continually working together to evolve a better way for things to run smoother then the previous event, in a sense easier for the end user, the player. I do not feel that these people get enough credit for the work they do in the weeks leading up to the events and during the event to keep things moving. Thanks guys!
Ok and now we are back with the team and us getting our new gear. Guys I know I am sponsored by G.I. but you have to check out our new knee and elbow pads! They are so nice! Light and amazingly comfortable. I am so happy. Any way we took our guns to DLX to get some special Darryl and Kieth love, then some of the guys headed over to Raza to get some nice apparel to wear in the warmer weather.
That night like most we had a team dinner and after, back at the hotel, a team meeting to go over the next days games. We had the second game of the day against CEP and this went pretty well. There was 1 point, that I took part in, that got a little crazy. It had come down to a 2 on 1, 2 CEP players verse myself, when I made a move to the snake to eliminate their player. We ended up, as I saw it, shooting each other and we’re both signaled out by the refs and we each held up our arms, indicating that we had in fact been eliminated.
Now as I walked back towards my pit, the opposing CEP player, Velardi went and grabbed the flag and huge it. As I continued to walk off the field I asked the ref if he was dead because both a ref and he, himself had signaled so. At this point the refs got together and a long discussing took part in what had actually happened. I personally did not get all of the details but they ended up saying it was a dirty hang and CEP did not get the point. The match ended with a 7-2 victory over CEP.
Our next match that day would be against Dynasty, the eventual winners of the event. This game we really wanted to go out there and prove that we were prepared for this year and to defend our previous years accomplishments. Dynasty was the only team to hand us a loss at World Cup and they beat us the last time we played them before that in Chicago. Our guys were focused and it showed during the game. We went down the first 2 points but fought back and pulled out the 1 point victory 6-5. This game Fedorov played out of his mind. It was an absolute pleasure to watch. It seemed like where ever he pointed his gun, opposing players just died.
We stayed for a little while and watched games. I have always enjoyed watching games and it is always interesting to see how teams do the first time they step on the field at the beginning of a new year. There was also a feeling of just simple relaxation. Having played the morning bracket and winning both games, especially the game against Dynasty, made things just simple and nice for the rest of the afternoon. The weather as I said before couldn’t of been any better and with the wins and the rest of the day off we couldn’t of asked for a better day.
The next day had us playing the very last games of the day against XSV and X-Factor. We knew going into those games that both teams had struggled. XSV had lost all of their games and had nothing to lose against us. We knew that they would come with all out attacking breakouts and not let up. X-Factor need a win to keep them from not automatically going into the Challengers division.
One note to write about here was that the main difference I noticed between our games on Thursday, yes we started this event earlier because of the new Champions and Challengers situation, was the amount of penalties thrown on Friday and now Saturday. It was a night and day day difference. There were penalties being thrown like crazy. Some of them appeared to be deserved and others very questionable. Regardless it was something we all noted and prepared for…needless to say our last 2 matches of the prelims were filled with them.
So now back to our XSV match. I believe we dropped the first point, with XSV attacking pretty hard and the second point we pulled out with some good laning and the fact that the first penalty was thrown on XSV. The next point had more chaos as Chad “Yaya” Bouchez made a great move to eliminate a dorito player and then as he slid into the next bunker he lost his goggles with the impact of his slide. At this point play was stopped and players were told to stay in their bunkers until the game could be resumed.
At this point it has always been that the player who lost their mask was eliminated and that was it. Now the refs are telling us not only is the player eliminated but it carries a minor penalty along with it. I would like this to be noted as many thought Yaya had played on when in fact he had not. Now in the rules it says that a penalty will be added if the player “intentionally” takes there mask off. This clearly was not the case for Yaya and I felt that there is no way Ryan should of been eliminated.
Regardless of those shenanigans, Sam played a 2 on 1 and shot the XSV player as he tried to bunker him. The XSV player then decided to go grab the flag and hang it…thus giving them a no point a a major for playing on…oh and they gave us the point. So far we are only 2 points in to the game. To make things short we ended up winning all of the points after that and taking the game 7-1.
Our last match of the day and the last match of pro games was against X-Factor. As much as I want to give X-Factor credit for playing a great game and they did play a great game, we simply played very bad paintball. Guys didn’t move effectively down the field, we lost some key guys on the break, and penalties effected both teams almost as soon as the match began. To our teams credit, we were down 6-3 and fought back to tie it up, only to lose the final point.
The loss was very disappointing and pretty much ruined our chances at getting the bye into the top 4 on Sunday. We talked about what happened and the main focus was getting the bad play out of our system now and moving forward and learning from this games mistakes. We had the next day, Saturday, off from play, which was weird, and were geared to watch games and prepare for the real event that began Sunday.
Now I said having Saturday off was weird because up to this point we had played 2 days in a row and it felt like it should be Sunday. As almost all the events have been in the past, games were played on Friday and Saturday, finishing up Sunday. This year is the exception with the addition of the Champions and Challengers division to the PSP Pro ranks. So with that being said, Saturday was a relaxing yet strange day to sit back and watch teams play. It was also very important to scout teams that we knew would be making it to Sunday and that we would eventually play.
As it turns out we got matched up with our pre Dallas sparing partner, Edmonton Impact. This was in fact one of if not the worst performance we have had in our teams history. We just could not seem to get things going even when Impact had multiple penalties. To put it simply things just were not firing on all cylinders. It was painful. It is without a doubt one of the worst feelings to have on a Sunday morning in paintball, you play that first game and are just done. Just like that, your event is over.
Well with the event over I got an early flight home to see my family for the first time in around 22 days…that was nice. For now it is some chill time, a little practice, and then off to France for the first Millennium event of the year!
Talk to you in France!