Monday, August 1, 2011

Growing Pains

It's the day after West Coat Pump Weekend. Time for rest and a recap. There were 77 players over the course of the two day event with 66 players (22 teams) participating in the 3-man fun pump speedball tournament portion on Saturday and about the same number taking part in the recreational pump games on Sunday. Some players couldn't make it this year, but more new faces took their place. We had less players travelling long distances (I'm going to guess the economy might have something to do with that) but a higher number travelling from the lower mainland by ferry to Victoria. Thank you to all the mainlanders who made the effort and those who did make it from Alberta. I do not believe we had any Americans attend this year. Hopefully things will improve south of the border and we will once again enjoy the company of our southern brethren.

One of the reasons we are growing is due to our great staff. Therefore I would like to formally thank all our staff and guest refs for the tournament portion of WCPW. Without you, none of this would be possible.

I was thanked countless times over the course of the two days for putting on the event. I was told by at least two new players that we have the best facility in BC and can't remember how many people expressed how much fun they were having and will be back again for sure. Thank you for all the kind words. I can only assume that next year's event will be even bigger. It is great that WCPW is so popular, but with growth also comes change. To be honest, I have never envisioned West Coast Pump Weekend to become a huge pump event. I would prefer it to stay a relatively small, quaint gathering of like minded, fair playing paintball players, coming together to enjoy a good time. Hopefully that is exactly what WCPW will continue to remain.

One of the things I am constantly telling paintball players on forums is that if you have a beef with a field, you need to tell the management of the field what you are dissatisfied with. Paintball field owners can't read minds. I walked into a conversation between a group of players yesterday after the event was over but they stopped talking when they saw me approach. I had heard the words "the only complaint" uttered, so I stopped and asked what they were talking about. Apparently some of the players felt there weren't enough games in the fun tournament on Saturday. Honestly, that doesn't surprise me. I myself said to my business partner on Saturday that I wouldn't enjoy playing speedball on a regular basis if you had to hang around all day to play a few games, most of which last less than a minute.

One of the problems we face is that we are limited to having one speedball field (we have to partially dismantle one of our rec fields for the day as it is to fit the one in). With 22 teams this year and running late into the day the previous year with 20 teams playing 7 games each, I felt we had to cut it down to 6 games each so we could finish on time. The guys that set up the field this year made the field play much faster, so we actually finished a little early this year (with 7 games each we would have run late again). So what to do? We only have room for one field and it is relatively small. We are growing and every year there seems to be a few more players wanting to take part than the year before.

The only possible solution I can see is to change the format to a 4-man competition from a 3-man version. This way we could cut the number of teams down slightly but still accommodate more payers. The field would need to be made slightly larger than it was this year (this is possible) but would still need to be designed to be play quite quickly.

So, not engraved in stone yet, but what I see happening is changing to a 4-man format, limiting the teams to a maximum of 18 (which will accommodate 72 players) and playing 8 games each. For this to happen, we would need to run a very tight ship to get 72 games in during the prelims and then another 6 games for a round robin finals (top 4 teams). The first 72 players that sign up for the tournament are in, so it would be a first come, first served kind of thing. This would take away a little bit of the relaxed drop-in atmosphere of the event, but may need to be a necessity for the sake of efficiency.

For the Sunday rec portion of WCPW, we may need to split the group up into two games of 35 to 40 each. This year we had over 60 on the fields many times and that is definitely stretching the capacity of the fields. It was fun and I heard no complaints, but if we continue to grow, eventually it would just be too many players for the fields to handle. Most of us pump players like to move and standing in one spot having gun fights is not what most of us signed up for.

Then there are the camping issues. I offer up my personal property which is next to the paintball field for attendees to camp at and socialize at, but some campers tend to lose some common sense (probably has to do with the consumption of certain beverages and other substances). It seems some feel it's OK to walk around the neighborhood with open alcohol beverages and brandishing paintball markers that some less educated folk might mistake as handguns (Oh to be young, carefree and stupid again - OK, maybe I don't want to go back there again). Luckily I'm on good terms with the neighbours that witnessed these acts, but maybe next time we won't be so lucky and other, less tolerant neighbours may get wind of stuff and then the whole house of cards will come tumbling down.

Anyway, some things to ponder over for the next few months. I sincerely hope all who attended WCPW '11 had a good time and hopefully all will work out well for continued good times at WCPW'12.


  1. This was my first time at WCPW and I was impressed. I agree that having more games would have made a difference on Saturday. Overall on the two days, there were too many high points to recount. On Saturday however, the draw we ended up with had us facing mostly top teams ... great for experience ... but a little demoralizing in terms of results. Having more games with less teams would mean a better chance at a balanced draw.

    I didn't mind waiting around though, the competition was fierce and enjoyable to watch as well as participate in. When combined with meeting old friends and making new ones, kept my day pretty full.

    Alex D

  2. Thank Alex. All I can say is the draw that each team had was totally 100% random. I made the schedule using numbers rather than team names and then had my son (who hasn't even played paintball in several years), randomly assign the numbers to each team before he even looked at the schedule.

  3. Reiner,

    Had a great day out there. Nothing but the best to say about the on-field staff. Your main man who gave the "have a safety meeting in the parking lot and I'll kick you out" speech is a credit to your operation. Sorry, I don't know his name, but I will correct that next time I'm out. It was awesome to have Jordan C. and Dave C. and their collective tourney experience out there making calls. Sorry to hear the "camping" devolved into something it was never intended to be.

    VPA jay.

  4. Hi Jay. Nice to have you drop by, both at the field and in here. Glad you had a good time at the tourney. Next time you'll have to stick around for Part 2 of the weekend. 60-some players, all playing pump, and some of them quite skilled on our rec fields is a blast.

    Matt King was the head ref for the event.