Following my trip to Toronto, I headed out early in the morning around 7am to head to London to Flagswipe Paintball's outdoor field for a busy weekend of practice and field setup with Canadian Express on Saturday, followed by reffing the ESPL tournament on Sunday.
Saturday was definitely a packed day, as we had our NPPL 7-man field delivered after a shipping fiasco where our players had to pick it up in Woodstock and bring it to the field ourselves, it was a large setback that some quick thinking and action came together to overcome. After the field came in around 10am, the team quickly got to work measuring and gridding out the field layout so we could place bunkers as close as possible to the official layout that we’ll be playing in Chicago this month. After gridding the field, we got to word inflating the bunkers and staking them into place, with the entire process taking a couple of hours.
Once our field was setup, we got into the grind of practice. Running laps and tons of drills for the first half of the day, then running scrims for the last couple of hours to work on our game. It was a great day of practice with excellent weather, not a cloud in the sky and the winds were calm. Definitely feeling the confidence levels rise and the team bonding is coming together more and more with every practice.
After our practice was done for the day, we got to work setting up staging for the next day’s tournament. This included setting up picnic tables, staging tents, chronograph booths, registration booths and tables, and the work flew by pretty quickly with us all working together. The team followed this up by heading out for dinner in town, then retreated back to the hotel to rest up for Sunday’s busy schedule.
Sunday started off early with us getting to the field just after 7am to re-inflate the bunkers and get everything prepped for the day’s games. The paintball kicked off around 9am with us on the field reffing the Young Guns 3man division with 9 teams with players of varying skill and gear levels, with some kids playing in jeans and rented gear, while others had full paintball gear and high-end markers. All the teams played great and the division ran smoothly, ending around noon.
We broke for a quick lunch break while the Young Guns winners collected their prizes, and the Rookie 5man division players arrived, registered, geared up and walked the field to prepare for their games. The rookie division had 15 teams registered from all across Ontario, with players coming from as far as Kingston to compete. The action in this division was much more fast-paced and ran smoothly for the most part, although a few penalties were given early on for markers that were shooting over the 15.4bps semi-auto cap, there were no problems after the first few examples were set. The competition was intense throughout the day, with the top 4 teams moving onto the finals, and with the final game ending just after 7pm. Ending off the division, DMZ HoneyBadgers took home first place, Beast Mode took second, followed by Dirt Army in third and London Vanquish in fourth, it was a great show from all players in both divisions.
Once the games were finished for the day, the team got back to work cleaning the bunkers, raking up extra paint, and tearing down all of the extra tents we setup the day before. It was an exhausting day but a great experience, with the last of us leaving the field around 9pm. Although it was a lot of work, it felt great to give back to the paintball community and give the players of Ontario a tournament series to play for this season. The next event is coming up June 3rd and we’re hoping the series keeps strong with more teams coming out to play the rest of the season.
As for Express, we’ve got another practice coming up this Saturday running 7man scrimmages with a couple other teams to get prepped for NPPL Chicago the following week. It’s a great season so far, and it’s only going to get better!