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Monday, October 26, 2009

UWL

Most people who know me know that I have a passion for paintball. It's pretty much the only sport I do, and I have been doing it for a long time. The weekend of April 25th I went on pretty much the best paintball trip I have ever been on!

It was the inaugural event for the new UWL(Ultimate Woodsball League) tournament series. Dumb name, awesome tournament! It was held at the world famous SC Village in southern California.We left Thursday afternoon and stayed overnight in Las Vegas. This was my first time going to Vegas in eight years. We were just passing through, so I didn't get to see any of the sights except in passing. I will have to go back sometime soon, there is a lot of energy in that city and I kind of like it.

Early Friday morning we made the rest of the drive to California. We were the first ones to arrive at SC Village, so we had a lot of time to walk the fields with just our team.
Walking the field is basically how you prepare to play a paintball tournament, and probably the most important preparation you can make. Tournaments are fast and aggressive, so if you don't know the ins and outs of the field you are playing on, you will probably lose. We learn the layout of the field, the locations of the flags and bases, good areas for cover, firing angles, running lanes, primary positions, secondary positions, and auxiliary positions. We practice running different routes to find the most efficient ways to reach our positions, we practice moving in our groups and getting each other into position. We basically spend as much time as possible going over the field and practicing as many game situations as we can. Often I am more exhausted from walking the field than I am from the actual tournament.

Usually when we go on these sorts of trips, the evening after we walk the fields we like to back to the hotel and relax in the pool. This typically leads to goofiness and all manner of hijinks. This trip was no different. To prevent future blackmail attempts I'm going to neglect posting the incriminating pictures of our pool party from this trip. Lets just say that it involved myself and some of my teammates in bikini briefs... Much fun was had by all, but that's all I'm going to say about it.

The next day the tournament began. We were the first game of the morning, and we played against the Psycho Clown Posse. We have played with the clowns many times over the years, and we always have a good experience with them. They are a group of unique, fun, honorable players. They play very well, and we can always count on them having flawless sportsmanship. These guys are awesome!

We had a bit of a wait before our next game so we got to just hang out and mingle with some of the other players. We just happened to be set up right next to Bob Long and his team! Bob Long is one of the biggest names in Paintball, but he is also a really relaxed, cool guy. We had a lot of fun talking with him.

We played a total of four games. We won the first Two, and lost the second two. We lost to Bob Long's team(they also won the whole event,) and we lost to a team called CA Ballers, which was made up of a bunch of pro players from various teams.
None of our games were blow-outs so we felt pretty good about that. It was a good feeling to be able to hold our own against these pro teams.

Both teams that beat us said that we played really well, were very aggressive, and gave them the most trouble of all the other teams they played against. It was very flattering to get such good compliments from actual pro players. It felt almost like we had hit the big time.
Personally I thought we played really well.

In between some of our games, we got to stand on the sidelines and watch the more experienced teams play. We learned a ton just by watching them! We also learned a lot of things from the games we lost. I am excited to start practicing all the new stuff we learned; I'm sure it will make us a much stronger team for the next tournament.

After all the games were over we got together with a few of the players from the other teams and played a couple of throw together rec games. It was a lot of fun to be playing rec ball with some of the world's best paintballers.

This was a great trip in all respects. Everyone played well, and we had a lot of fun, even when we lost. We met some pretty important people in the paintball world, and made some good team connections.
In addition to Bob Long, there was Matty Marshall, Todd Martinez, Nicky Cuba, Justin Schwartz, Roy Richards, Sonny Lopez, Kat Gong, and most the team LA Hitmen. If you don't follow professional paintball, you probably haven't heard of most of these people, but they are all pretty famous in the paintball community. It was really cool to be able to meet, hang out with, and play along side, such amazing players. We learned a lot just from watching these players in action. It was really a good experience, and probably the best event we have ever been to.

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