Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Learning Experience: CFOA Pro-Am Xball

Many teams, especially those in the lower divisions, don’t put much weight on pit environment or even a good pit crew for that matter. Little things like having your pods filled back up markers chronoed and ready to go, the appropriate tools available and those who know the game and flow are vitally important to the success of a team. Nowhere does this become more apparent than at a critical juncture of a match or in the finals.

In Texas, the team had steamrolled through the prelims and quarter finals, but was finally met by a tough opponent. We had the coaching and we had the pit crew, but we didn’t have the stress of getting into battles and being put on our heels prior to the event.

Pr1me felt we needed to test ourselves again before another national event. Chicago has always been one of the largest events in the series and has always drawn some of the best competition. We recognize that and felt the best way to test ourselves and work on our pit control was to put ourselves in a stressful situation. What creates stress better than actual competition against some of the best?

Evan Manners looking for bad guys, making sure they know his rotor and Proflex match.

An opportunity appeared in the form of the CFOA’s first ever Pro-Am Xball event in Rock Hill, SC. Rob Staudinger’s ever-evolving Division 1 team, Mayhem, had been split into 3 teams and slots filled with a whole spectrum of North and South Carolina D2 talent (saving PBC’s freshest batch of genetically engineered young ballers in Demolition), along with Matt Sossoman and a crew of Dark Carnival players. With no D2/D1 teams available within 7hrs of our home field, this was an opportunity Pr1me couldn’t pass up.

Mike McGowan and Matt Sossoman give each other some face paint at the X.

The difference between a good D3 team and a good D2 team (or D1, or Pro for that matter) is pretty simple. It boils down to less mistakes, less mental errors. We lost 2 matches handedly, won the third in a fistfight (our coach Matt Sossoman guaranteed any errors were punished with extreme prejudice), and narrowly lost our last match in a simul-out 1 on 1 in the waning seconds 3-2. The opposing teams had their game changers: Hamen Chapmen, Kyle Flores, Rob Staudinger, Chris Schehr, Mark Henley (welcome back man), and Matt Sossoman. Some hit people 3 steps off the box on the break, some were ruthless in seizing openings up the field, others were crafty, and I’m sure at least one of them handed off to their players a more cerebral approach to the game.

We knew going into this event, we weren’t suppose to win. That wasn’t going to keep us from trying to put a hurting on someone. Our main purpose was to put ourselves in an uncomfortable situation and see how we, without a Mike Paxson or a Matt Sossoman, and the pit crew handled it. Lessons were learned, newer team members further meshed into the team framework, and game speed was increased. In a way it was the perfect environment, somewhere between a scrimmage and a tournament. There was tough, higher level competition, an official ref and scoring staff, yet there wasn’t the need to abandon learning important team lessons just to win a few extra points. Our opponents had the same mindset.

Left to Right: Cam, Seth, Griff, Bianca, Mikey

This was a good learning experience for the team. Not just for the core members but for the pit crew and a new addition to the team, as well. We would like to welcome to the Pr1me ranks, Mr. Seth Wooten.

Seth Wooten: Don't you dare dirty up his cargos.

Seth brings a motivational aspect to the team as well as a well-thought-out and meticulous approach. As always, thank you to Stacy and Darrell McDonald and a big thank you to videographer Amanda Mauldin, too.

Now that we have an idea of where we stand, the team is 100% focused on Chicago. See you there!

Pictures are courtesy of the talented Michael Day. Mr. Day has only recently taken a crack at this paintball photography thing, but already he has put out numerous professional grade sets in all sorts of weather. If you want to know more about the ins and outs of paintball photography, check us out real soon after we speak with him and bring it right here! Check out his work @ www.michael-day.net

Also, check out this sweet vid from TufShot Media. Hunter is rocking his ProGo cam and even let Matt Sossoman borrow it to show folks how to shoot people off the break! Catch Pr1me gettin grimey in the opening segment (:22-:38), breakin out 2:29, and shakin some hands 5:05.


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