The Catshack Reports in the company of Fern of Kobra Line rolled into Joliet, Illinois on Friday, May 20 at 5:30am. After catching a couple of hours of needed sleep we geared up for a much anticipated weekend of paintball excitement. First and foremost it was something of a disappointment to learn, running into both Thomas Taylor and Junior Brown of Sacramento XSV, that we would not have the pleasure of seeing them compete having been eliminated the day before by just one player.
What is important to note with this write up is that the Catshack was split trying to gather photos and video from both the NPPL and Living Legends IV events making it very difficult. Thankfully KobraLine Fern assisted by running cameras on the Living Legends side while I assigned the NPPL precedence never having had opportunity to cover a professional caliber event that is the NPPL. The following would be some of my personal observations being on the field with cameras rolling.
In one of their first rounds of the day, the Catshack observed Team Dynasty in action, Dynasty seemed a little loose in the first round I observed and suffered a few eliminations yet still managed to clinch the win. Following that game Dynasty came together as more of a well oiled machine to dominate thereafter.
The Catshack went on to observe powerhouse Oakland Blast and young Tyler Harmon put on a strong showing. Tyler took back right off the break and sent streams of paint down lanes covering his team mates as they jockeyed for position on the field, Oaklandâ€™s strategy proved useful as the team progressed through the day, by mid day the team was 5-1 and preparing to face off against Arsenal, but fell short in their race to the finish line and placement in the top four. Speaking with Tyler after the fact he was pleased with the event overall and mentioned â€œ“Chicago was a beautiful event by the NPPL! Thank you to everyone that made the competitive paintball experience possible for all of us. All love for paintball!”
More entertaining paintball came along courtesy of JRab, David Bains and the rest of Arsenal. JRab proved himself deserving of all the hype surrounding him as he drove his way up to the fifty with very real aggression. Time and time again right off the break JRab dashed and slid into his bunker and then expertly scrambled up the field bunker by bunker eliminating others as he moved forward.
Next came another of the Catshack favourites with Canadian team â€œEdmonton Impactâ€. The Catshack cannot help but note that Impact has a very impressive roster this year with Justin Cornell, Ryan Moorhead, Tim Montressor and Josh Davey all putting on an impressive showing making their way to fourth place before falling short of the goal.
Worthy of note, Tommy Tucker and Portland Uprising, young Tucker and the boys showed real talent on the field and need to be watched a little closer. There was some amount of surprise seeing them move up to take third in the finals.
On to the most difficult part of this article, it was as if the Gods of Paintball opted to put Tomcat into one if not THE most controversial NPPL events of the year and quite possibly ever. Yes… letâ€™s just see how The Catshack Reports, a publication all about the 100% positive promotion of paintball, might put a positive twist to this one. After a couple of days of reflection it occurred to me â€¦ why? Nothing happened at NPPL Chicago that doesnâ€™t fall in line with any other sport out there today.
The very first match of the final best two out of three saw Dynasty pitted against Avalanche for the overall tournament win, Tensions were high and the adrenaline off the charts as the match wore on. From my vantage point in the players pits, Billy B jumped up from his bunker to try and take out Ollie Lang in the snake, Paint flew and Billy B quickly threw up his hand eliminated taking a few rounds of paint â€¦ hot on his heels came Frank â€œThe Tankâ€ Connell who likewise made the attempt on Ollie. I recall at least two referees present as onlookers to my left began to cry foulâ€¦ â€œWhat?â€ I statedâ€¦. â€œthose referees are right there, surely they would have seen Ollie take a hit and called him outâ€ (something that could not clearly be seen from our point of observation) Frank and Ollie almost immediately thereafter were nose to nose as the match wrapped up relatively quickly with Dynasty seizing the flag for the win. Players hurriedly streamed off the field and not long thereafter Frank stormed into the pits clearly unhappy with the referees call on the play.
Another aspect was the apparent violation on the part of Lang making bodily contact with Connell. Not moments later the pits erupted into pandemonium as players rushed to stop Connell from mixing it up with Lang. Referees and game officials quickly rushed into the player pits to restore order and sort the ensuing mess before it went any further. Both Ollie and Frank were quickly handed game suspensions. Both players were privately interviewed by President Tom Cole alongside Chuck Hendsch and Mike Peverill and referees privy to the play were also debriefed. Tom also took a moment to review video footage and returned to report the footage showed nothing definitive so the suspensions and the referees call stood. It was my understanding that Avalanche lacked another player to replace Connell on the field. As a result Avalanche had to enter the second round a man down and as the match wore on it proved devastating to Avalanche with Dynasty clinching the victory and the title for NPPL Chicago 2011.
On numerous occasions pro baseball has seen a good bench clearing with players tearing into mid field to mix it up with the opposing team, for that matter, how many times have angry players kicked dirt on an umpire. What is professional hockey without a good brawl now and then? If anything the pro players in attendance did manage to put on an excellent and entertaining show for spectators even with the mix of all the drama.
In summary â€¦ props to the referees, a job you could not pay me enough to do (as a rule referees see little compensation for what they do and a whole lot of punishment being pelted with paint). They made their call and stood by it, something that has to happen as it pertains to any sport whether it was right or wrong. Props to the game officials, Tom Cole, Chuck Hendsch and Mike Peverill all exhibited what it takes to run a tournament series by examining the evidence and making the final ruling however controversial it may be to all in attendance. Speaking with Chuck Hendsch he mentioned â€œThe NPPL / Living Legends IV event was a home run. I want to thank all the staff, sponsors, players and CPX for making this event a huge successâ€. Now were off to Washington DC and Pev’s paintball. See you all soonâ€
Props to San Diego Dynasty on their win â€¦ again however controversial, the penalty stands with Lang suspended for the next while. Will Dynasty continue to rule as they have with their 4 win streak with Ollie Lang sitting on the sidelines?
Last but not least â€¦ I understand via Facebook that Frank Connell, unhappy with the suspension and has opted to retire. I urge you to please reconsider Frank, why not step up and serve the suspension and then come out swinging and help take Avalanche to #1 next timeâ€¦ Avalanche was so close to the top spot in Chicago, they still need you man!
Overall NPPL Chicago at CPX was an event that will forever remain an unforgettable and super experience; I highly recommend it to anyone that shares a love and passion for paintball as I do.
The NPPL Chicago 2011 results are as follows:
1st â€“ San Diego Dynasty
2nd â€“ St. Louis Avalanche
3rd â€“ Portland Uprising
4th â€“ Edmonton Impact
1st â€“ Dynasty 2
2nd â€“ Texas Storm
3rd â€“ Impact Echo
4th â€“ Critical Wrecking Crew
1st â€“ 3CT
2nd â€“ LSD Savage
3rd â€“ Marine Team one
4th â€“ Top Gun Evolution
1st â€“ DBS Kidz 2
2nd â€“ TKO â€“ Blackout
3rd â€“ Boom II
4th â€“ Raiders
1st â€“ Centermass Hawaii
2nd â€“ Asylum Ballers
3rd â€“ Toxic
4th â€“ University of Michigan
Stay tuned as photos from the NPPL Chicago event is all set to follow shortlyâ€¦ we’re still sorting through gigabytes!