Monday, May 11, 2009

MAO Heard 'Round the World!

So, I am a week removed from the PSP's Mid Atlantic Open, and I figure it's time I wrote about it. I'm still waiting for Lambertson to finish his post about the UWL a few weeks ago, so I can write my impression and tell everybody how much he's lying about everything. So, in the meantime, here's my report:

It was great!

Thanks! And I'll see you guys next week.

Ok, so maybe there's more I can write. First of all, I hope everybody that is reading this blog tuned in. We need the support of the entire sport. Everybody. Even you camo-nerds who play in the woods and have goatees and mullets and think speedball guys are just a bunch of cheaters. (Do any of them read this blog?) With big numbers we can make a stab at some good advertising, and some good advertising means we can do even more to make a good show.

As it stands right now, it already is a great show. And not just because of the money the PSP has spent on our gear. For this event, we rolled out our first step towards making paintball statistics a living, breathing thing. We unveiled a widget that keeps track of up-to-the-minute stats, who is playing each point, when they get eliminated, and even includes a link to a bio of each player. Of course, that's if everything is working properly and we are perfectly in tune with the stat-keepers and we have all of those bio pages built. But, we did take our first step with the widget by making it live, including the stats up through the day before, and by putting a green check mark in a box next to a player's name if we see them enter the game to start a point. And, with just using that small part of the widget, it seemed to help the viewer keep track of who was playing well so far, who you were likely to see on your screen, and was a mimic of the information Matty had to disseminate. With the delay of the video, and the immediacy of the widget, it seemed that starting lineups were getting cleared in the middle of a point, and that is something we need to work on, but all in all I think it was a great step forward.

Right here I'd like to take a detour to my soapbox for a minute. If any of you who are reading are on or are associated with a professional PSP team, please pass this along: FIX YOUR JERSEYS TO THE RULES, PLEASE. Do you know how difficult it is, right now, to see who is who with the fast pace of this format? It was difficult to see who was heading out for each point, impossible to see who was eliminated on each point, and some teams just have no stats taken for the simple fact that their jersey numbers are IMPOSSIBLE to see (I'm looking at you, Impact, but to be fair, every team had something about their jerseys that made it tough). The numbers are either too small, have no contrast with the background pattern, or both. I really don't care how you think it looks or how much you want to hide your identity from the refs when penalties are called, if you want stats kept for yourself or your team, you'll fix your jerseys. For players, it's a no-brainer: everybody is fighting for their spot on the team and for recognition from the paintball world in general. How are you going to accomplish that by playing in anonymity? Coaches/owners... don't you want to know who is performing on your squad? Heading in to Sunday, Yosh Rau had a 76% in the Points Won stat. That means, 76% of the time he is on the field, Dynasty wins the point. Kinda makes you think twice about sitting him, doesn't it? Guys like Zack Wake from Aftermath and Justin Schwartz from Dynasty had confirmed G's within a couple of digits of points played. For almost everybody else in the tournament, the G count was in the neighborhood of half the number of points played. That's information that's good to have about your squad, isn't it? That helps you put the best 5 guys on the field at any given time, right? It helps you win! If the pro teams show up to Chicago with Jerseys anything like what you had in Rock Hill, that tells me you have no desire to win and are just wasting your sponsor's money.

Just as a fer instance, do you know the rules governing jerseys in the other major sports? How large the lettering and numbers have to be, no (and I mean NO) logos, writing, designs are allowed, no matter how much your sponsors are spending. AZ Cardinals players were fined for writing Pat Tillman's number on their jerseys after he was killed in Afghanistan! Do you think it's simply so the league offices of those sports can be busybodies and have power? No. Because stat-keeping is an integral part of those sports and you have to give the stat-keepers every opportunity to get it right. Do we need more bodies at more locations around the field to keep better stats? Yes we do, but that costs money, and in the meantime make it easier on the few guys who are giving of their time for this.

OK, off the soapbox and back to the task at hand...

Oh... I guess that's it. I mean, the event was within a few teams of the Phoenix team count, but down just a little bit. The vendor area was a bit smaller, mostly because it was a small event and not within driving distance of SoCal, where most of the vendors seem to live these days. But Dye's big truck was there, Luxe had their manor set up, and there were a few others there showing their wares. If you want to know what the action was like, watch the webcast On Demand when it comes online in the next week or so. We are starting to get the coverage down to a science. There were a few very fast points where Patrick had to switch to a camera before checking to make sure the camera was on the right shot... and it was. Patrick is learning his job better, the camera guys are learning their jobs better, and they're more and more in synch now. Having all the best, whizz-bang toys is one thing... having a staff that anticipates each others' moves and works like a team is everything. And that's saying something when our 4 camera operators live all over the place and can only get work in at 4 events this year. And by all over the place, I mean only 2 live in California, and no where near each other. The other two are in Washington and Tennessee. None of them get paid for their work, and they work their butts off... standing in the sun, getting hit all day, then at night cleaning all the paint off the rental gear and offloading footage to computers to get ready for the next day. They're also the set-up and tear-down crew and have to clean and wind all of the cables and pack all of the gear for the trip home. None of us get any sleep at these events, the director and camera guys least of all. There: my homage to the crew of the webcast. These guys are the heart and soul of the coverage and Matty and Patrick get all of the credit. And, in case you're wondering: I don't do much of anything, so it's OK that I get none of the credit. But I always get first pick of the lunch!