Thursday, April 16, 2009

Feel the Loss

Hooray for crappy cell phone pics!

So, last weekend I headed down to Pacific Beach to hang out with my good friend, Marty Mashall (or something like that. Truth is, I don't like him very much) and had an emotional moment. You see, Matty lives in a house with other paintballers. As he gave me a tour, showing me all the cool stuff they have that would normally cause major bodily harm to amateurs, he took me by the fireplace. On the mantle, piled high and deep were trophies. The first ones that caught my eye were the old trophies with the paintball guy on top, wearing camo, shooting an automag. I love those. I've been half tempted to make up a tournament that I won and buy myself one just to have it. Then, as I started to take in the magnatude of the bigger trophies, I saw an NPPL Series Champion trophy. And another. And then more. It was then that Matty told me that Ryan Greenspan also lives there. There it was, right where I could reach out and touch them, the glory that every tournament paintball player aspires to. 1st place medals hanging from ribbons wrapped around giant cups that signified another triumphant campaign.

At the far right side of the mantle, sort of hidden in the back, was the 1st place trophy from Commander's Cup, 2008. That's when it dawned on me: that's it! That's the last one of those anybody will ever win. I was looking at the remnants of a bygone era. And not just mementos, like a T-shirt or media pass, but the real-deal championship trophies from the professional ranks. And it won't ever happen again. Sure, 7-man is still alive as a national tournament circuit, and Dynasty will no doubt be adding USPL championship trophies to their collection and of course they are always a threat (sometimes, favorite) to win in the PSP. But even if the USPL at some point changes their name back to NPPL (they own it), something tells me it just won't be the same.

In the center of this silver madness was a giant cup. It sort of looks like the pro hockey Stanley Cup. Matt directed me to look closer, and engraved in a row at the top was every Commander's Cup victory Dynasty had. They had planned on covering the thing. Now? I don't know what they're going to do. I'm sure they have a plan, but the idea that this thing which has been with the sport for so long is now just gone... Everything that Lambertson had been telling me about why he was so angry about losing the NPPL was starting to make sense. Yes, I admit it, so little of what Brandon says makes sense that I tend to just tune him out. He is pretty, though... I'll give him that.

Anyway, mere moments after that elation of being in the presence of true greatness (as if Matty wasn't enough), comes the crushing feeling of loss and remorse over what is gone. I mean, my first real introduction to the best in tournament paintball was the first time I watched Spohrer's PUSH, and watching the film now I do a double take everytime they mention that they are at the NPPL World Cup. World Cup being, for long enough now, so firmly PSP it's hard to remember that this sport used to be somewhat united at one point.

Anyway, I just wanted to share how sentinemental I am and maybe get some of you old guys to cry a little tear for the NPPL. Again.