"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust
A drama filled off-season left the major paintball league in the US, Paintball Sports Promotions (PSP), to fade into obscurity with the question of whether or not we would see tournament paintball at a national level this season. Joining the mix to take the helm as the premier professional league is the National Xball League, resurrected from the dead to provide the best tournament experience a player can get. Its inaugural event held in Victory Park Ohio at North Ridgeville saw teams traverse the globe to compete for bragging rights, money, but most of all: Pride. In talking to vendors, friends, and random players, we all expressed how impressed we were with what the NXL staff brought to the players. This wasn't just a normal paintball event, the NXL pulled out all the stops to welcome everyone to a new era of tournament paintball and to make a statement that it's here to stay.
Part of what made this weekend so awesome was the cooperating weather; early forecasts showed rain all three days of competition but mother nature decided to hold off, giving us 3 beautiful, sunny days. The NXL provided players (and media!) free water bags along with water stations throughout the event to help keep everyone hydrated as well as concession stands around the venue providing various refreshments. Just as a member of the media I was happy with the free water, something I would like to see in the future is a media tent but for the first event I didn't have any complaints with how the event was ran from my perspective.
Anyway, onto pictures:
One thing that was neat to see was little leaguers and their parents coming to check the event out. The fields were set up next to baseball fields but with enough netting and space there wasn't any threat of danger to anyone walking around or playing. On Sunday, I had the opportunity to chat a little with Grayson Goff from San Antonio X-Factor and thanked him for creating his video titled "Why you should let your kid play paintball" where he interviewed his mom, asking her questions why paintball is a great sport for kids to play. Just as a fan of paintball I think Grayson is a great ambassador of the sport. I was told by my friends after we left the event on Sunday that they saw Grayson asking the kids that were checking the event out for their autograph, saying that he was their fan. I think in any sport, not just paintball, if you're a professional athlete you have an obligation to do what you can to help grow the sport in your community. The Anaheim Ducks in the NHL are probably my favorite example of this, they've helped create and grow hockey leagues throughout Southern California. With paintball being as niche as it is, I think it's even more important that we have our pros doing what they can to not only prepare for tournaments to win but to also do what they can in the community to help the sport grow. I think clinics are a great step but I would love to see more activism to get people that have never played out to a field.
Here's Grayson's video where he interviewed his mom:
That's about it for me, thankfully my schedule is pretty tame now but I'm still going to try to find odds and ends to shoot. Still obviously working on my video projects, photos have taken a priority but I'm hoping to finish a lot of these up. Full set can be found on my Facebook page, so be sure to check that out. See you next time, get out and play!
Canon 1D Mark IV
Canon 1D Mark II
70-200 f/2.8 L
24-70 f/2.8 L