Saturday, July 5, 2008
Yelling for 10 mins...
It is interesting that in the June issue of Facefull that the two regular pro columnist Ollie Lang and rich Telford writing about Xball. They both basically said that Xball is the future of paintball. I agree with them – in fact I agreed with them way back in May when I got to follow the MAO finals between the Ironmen and the Americans. And in MPOC3 in Penang I got to crew and coach in a couple of X-Ball lite games and it was the most intense 10 mins in my life. I had already crewed for the Pros at the World Cup last Nov and picked up a lot of tip from the pros on how to play and crew an X-Ball team.
After being involved in X-Ball games I was hooked. X-Ball takes the game to a higher level- its more exciting to watch and it gives the fans something to follow. Fans can cheer and yell for their teams. You have to watch the points and the clock.
Teams have to really ante up and bring better guns and bring more paint. The D2 guys in MPOC shoot up to 50 PODS A GAME. Those who can afford it bring two complete sets of markers and masks and harnesses to play X-Ball. This is because you only have 2 mins between games to reload-gas up-get ready to play.
There is no time to reload pods during the 10 mins of an X-Ball game- the team and crew have to prepare the 50 pods prior to the game and carry them all into the field. If you have the luxury of having spare tanks and markers you can swap them in-between games. Otherwise the crew will be running in and out of the field to get them gassed up.
The 2 min break between games in the most intense moment of the game for me. Its chaos when players come in with problems and the crew has to calmly sort them out. Tanks are out of air - marker not switching on - loaders acting up - ball breaks in the barrels or breaks in the loaders. You got to sort all this out between 5 guys and at the same time to make things more intense- all 5 or more markers will be hot and most of the time they will forget to put their socks on. AND you have to avoid shooting the marker off while the sock is on.
As a coach you also have to calm them down especially if they lost the last point - the team has to make a change in the game play. The crew has to top them up and clean them and get the 5 guys ready all in 120 seconds.
After the 'game on' there is a bit of relief-a moment when both teams get settled into their primary bunkers. The crew has a moment to sort things out and prepare for the next break. Hopefully no one got shot out on the break. During the game the 2 crews will either be running out for air or helping the coach spot for the team. The coach is allowed to call out the bunkers and tell them where to shoot and where to move. If you have 3 sets of eyes on the field you have more control of the game and most importantly you have to have an eye on the clock.
If you're a point or two up- all you need to do is to control the game- and that takes a different set of mentality and skill to play as a team to lock it down. If there is 2 minutes to go - your team is 1 point up - the team has to not make unnecessary moves that will get them shot out. While the other side has to make their move to try and get the point back.
This is where X-Ball is exciting to watch. The first two games in an X-Ball match will determine how exciting the match will be. If its 1-1 with 2 mins to go. Then it'll be an all out game FTW. If its 2-1 then one team has to go for it and the other team has to defend their one point advantage. We do get the draws where two teams will grind it down to a drawn match- then we go to one on one sudden death. Then we get have a pressure cooker with two guys in and the whole stadium watching. If this ends in a draw (and I have gone through two of these) - it goes down to a simple coin toss. I still reckon they should make it a best of 3 coin toss.
While I won’t be playing X-Ball for a while yet but I'd be happy to crew, coach watch and commentate on X-Ball games. X-Ball is the way to get fans in to watch paintball and X-Ball is the way to get Paintball on TV. There is an extra dimension to the game, which will make it more watchable.
Viva La seX-Ball