Had a couple of interesting experiences on the field in the last month or so that got me thinking about why I'm always using players from the late 80s and 90s as my examples when trying to explain to others, whether it's consulting for a field/store or just a new team asking for help, why the classic paintball mindset and behavior needs to be kept alive. With very few ways to meet and interact act with the veterans of the game, newer players and promoters don't have the opportunity to learn from the very best that have every been a part of the sport.
UWL SC Village
I've played in a number of UWL events, and while I still forget what color our flag is from time to time and don't always remember to put batteries in my timer, I tell more UWL stories than just about any other tournament series I've played in. That's because with the UWL, Tom Cole created events that generates stories and gives players the time necessary to interact with each other, chat up squads from other cities/states, admire classic gear, and enjoy some woodsball.
Many of us have always said that the best tournaments are the ones where you can finish dead last and still speak fondly of the weekend, the organizers, the venue and the competition. An event where the entry fee isn't outrageous and you don't feel cheated by poor planning and organization. I've seen teams come in to the UWL and get absolutely hosed and walk off the field with a smile on their face because the woodsball experience sparks an excitement that just can't be replicated on an airball field.
The UWL is also a place where someone like me that grew up admiring teams like Ironmen and Aftershock could have an opportunity to play against some of the legends of the game. At this past UWL at SC Village I was fortunate to join up with Black Sunday, who I'll be playing with throughout 2016, and we were joined by Billy Ceranski, Renick Miller andTodd Adamson. Where else would something like that be possible? Walking fields with Renick, playing the tape with Todd and getting yelled at by Billy because I ran into his path by accident after we blew open a side and were going to backdoor the other end. Beats winning some random 5-man/7-man airball tournament any day of the week. I'll be talking about that weekend for years.
I wish more promoters had that same mindset as Tom, to be able to recognize that you don't need a webcast, 40 vendors and five fields to be able to produce a memorable event. As long as your customers can tell a good story afterwards, you've done the right thing.