Ok, now on with the review. I will also post this on the SPPL forum at http://www.playsppl.com/
This was my first SPPL event, BlackLight Company however has played the last few years but I've never been able to make it. However, from my limited perspective I think there was still plenty of room for improvement. I will probably post pictures along with this tomorrow.
1) Upon arrival on Friday after searching for the field on roads that either weren't marked or poorly marked we finally found it. We documented our adventure in the Kia. Food for thought; when a switchback has a name, don't try and take it in a Kia.
2) Once we got close, access to the site was horrible. Even if it hadn't rained, by the end of the event, the stream crossing would have eaten all 2 wheel drive vehicles as well as a few idiots in trucks. I would have paid good money to see that grey truck do whatever it did to get where it was. Some additional prep/investment by creek at the bottom, as well as the mud pit near the top would have made a huge difference. I recommend a few tons of gravel, and some old school aluminum-corrugated pipe. It is much cheaper than you think.
3) It's probably fair to say that BlackLight Company as a whole was very disappointed in the field conditions. It was disheartening to see that on Friday night field 3 was only taped, and completely lacked man-made cover as well as anything resembling a base, while the chain saws were still busily working on field 2. Additionally, there was very little natural cover as the trees were mostly 2"-8" thick, and the weeds were knee to waist deep. Most of us adapted by belly crawling through the deep weeds, but concealment, no matter how thick, does not equal cover. In my opinion, if the SPPL wants to be recognized as a professional-level event, the fields need to be prepared in the days or weeks prior. Not the night before. Quick fix, play at established fields with infrastructure and most of these issues go away. These fields did have potential, but require more than a day or two of work. And remember, ambiance goes a long way as well. There were some nice structures out there. Maybe try and get those incorporated onto a field, as well as those rocket containers, camo netting, and even some sandbags. Something BLC does at our field is we'll have a build/play day where we build for a few hours in the morning, then play it out after lunch. Made substantial progress doing that.
4) No Porta-Potties until mid-day Saturday. I almost "stepped in it" twice in the woods, both times on my way to the field to play. This is completely unsat. Again, if the SPPL wants to be recognized as a professional-level event, these issues need to be rectified. People shouldn't be paying this much and traveling this far(North Dakota for me) to be deucing in the woods.
5) Fills were only to 3,000 psi but this was a minor detail.
6) Getting registration and paint could have definatly been made more efficient. More lines, maybe prepay for paint.
Now, we’ll move on to the good.
1) The paint was excellent. It was round and broke easily. I never broke a round I didn't intend too. Without question, the best paint I've ever used at a large event.
2) Reffing for the most part was exceptional. There were of course some mistakes but those happen.
3) Camaraderie between teams was excellent, on and off the field. Acid Rain made a brilliant decision to bring a "grill master" along with them. Not only was the food delicious, but they all turned out to be a great group of guys as well. We'll have a competitive offer for the "Grill Master's services next year.
4) Sportsmanship was also high. It seemed like 99.99% of the players went well above and beyond what is expected. It was fantastic.
5) SPPL Staff was delightful and helpful.
6) Vendors were also very helpful and nice. They could have held me over ther coals when I needed to fix some equipment, but they replaced the part, fixed it the spot, and only for a few dolars.
7) Love the stance on wiping. For thos eof you who weren't there, an announcement was made that if a player was caught wiping, the entire team would be disqualified from the event.
8) Entertainment. The live rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody was glorious!!!
I do think that some steps can be taken in the future to help prevent or prepare for future illnesses, injuries, etc. I do want to stress that none of these would have prevented what happened, it was just a freak accident. However, for future events it is a good idea to be prepared.
1) Have EMTs on hand. We were awfully lucky those individuals were there playing. You can probably get a couple of off duty EMTs with their kits for a $300 dollars a day or so.
2) If the game will be played in a remote area, maybe purchase a satellite phone. In other words, make sure there is a communication link. I heard someone used Onstar. Great thinking!
3) Coordinate with Law Enforcement and Emergency Services prior to the event in regards to location, travel routes, etc., so in the event of a disaster, they already know where to go.
1) I like that registration and player cards can be taken care of online. Awesome!!!
2) Registration and paint should also be available the night before at the event (if it was I was unaware). This may relieve congestion the day of.
3) Everything seemed last minute. I know that is a symptom of paintball in general, but eliminating that would go a long way.
Overall, I'll be back!!! I think improvements can & will be made, but I was disappointed in the event due to what seemed to be a lack of preparedness. I'd love to hear other's thoughts of the event as well.
Again, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family, team Feel the Paint, and all who were there. It's something that will never leave me. The best advice I got when I lost a family member came from my old highschool youthpastor. He said, "It's ok to be angry with God because you don't understand, He can take it." I found that comforting. Again, God bless, and take care.
This post has been edited by BlackLight Z: 02 July 2009 - 03:03 AM