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Bad Boyz Toyz / DYE Precision
Nashville NPPL 2000

AVALANCHE - 1ST PRO
JACKSONVILLE WARRIORS - 1ST AM A
TEAM STRANGE - 1ST AM B

"The redheaded stepchild of the league" is how Aftershock's Renick Miller once described the 4th stop in the NPPL's 5 tournament season.  Three years ago it was held in Atlanta, two years ago in Oregon, last year - Boston, this year the location is Nashville.  The event does not have 5 player divisions, only 10 man, and typically has a rather small turn out.  This year, 52 pro, and amateur teams competed, as compared to 38 in 1999.   The often neglected child may be coming of age.

The event was jointly produced by Bad Boyz Toyz and DYE at Robin Adcock's field, Nashville Paintball Sports in Lebanon, TN, which had been the site of the Zap Masters the two previous years.  The wooded fields, known for rocks, roots and pits were set aside in favor of three concept fields, which were enough to accommodate the teams.  While all three were concept - they were each different in structure - there was a Hyperball field, Ultimate Airball field, and the field's previously existing log cabin field. 

Friday saw the launch of the preliminary games which went along at a smooth pace.  Jacksonville Warriors started strong, a surprise to many, as they have a much better reputation in 5 man than 10 man.  Team Captain "PGP" credited much of the team's success to enthusiasm that surrounded their first tournament use of the new AGD E-Mag, and the personal tech support they were receiving from AGD President Tom Kaye.  Two of the team's players were using the Warp Feed system, while the rest opted for the more familiar Revolution on the 'gun's powerfeed.  A number of players from various teams were using Brass Eagle's new eVLution loader which began shipping to dealers the week before the tournament.  Naughty Dogs, Avalanche, Rage, and Lockout all got off to strong starts in the prelims as well.  Sadly missing from the event was Bad Company.  While they've not been a strong team for some time, they were a founding team of the League, and definitely a tradition in tournament paintball.

AGD was not alone in providing techs - while the event did not have a trade show associated with it (aside from a decent spread of Smart Parts and Diablo Direct goods), WDP (Courtesy of Cobra Paintball), Smart Parts, ViewLoader and AGD all had tech support staff set up to support the teams which used their products.  National Paintball Supply, PMI, Diablo and TC Paintballs all had semi trailers on site to provide fresh, refrigerated paintballs to the players.

Friday afternoon, after the first day's games were completed, the rules committee met and agreed upon a new league safety related rule.  Under penalty of a 3 game suspension, players may not throw their equipment (pods excepted).  The reason for this ruling is that it is not uncommon, at least once per tournament for a frustrated player to throw down their paintgun in anger.  Sportsmanship issues aside, the potential damage to compressed air tanks and regulators is a serious safety issue.  At a tournament two years ago players reported a bottle rupturing on field, and fortunately not striking any players as it shot off of the paintgun.  At another event, a player had cracked a gauge on his air system, and the fine stream of gas inflated his hand - fortunately he recovered without serious complications, but had the air reached his bloodstream the results could have been deadly - these types of accidents - though rare - are the result of physical damage that comes with hard impacts to the equipment.

As the rules committee agreed the new rule was of great importance for player safety it was decided it would be enacted immediately, mid-tournament rather than waiting until World Cup.  The first infraction came from a member of team Method who threw down his paintgun, upset with what he thought was an unfair call.  It was then discovered that the two teams on field had not been notified of the rule change, prior to the game, so the only penalty issued was a one-for-one for unsportsmanlike conduct, with instructions going to all field refs that teams walking onto the field would be notified of the rule change, and the rule would be enforced from that point forward.

The prelims definitely held a few surprises.  For the first time since they had gone pro, Fury made it into the semifinals, and they did it in a big way - in the number one ranking position.  Of the 8 teams that went into the semifinals, 4 were eliminated sending 4 on to the finals.  Of the 4 teams in the pro finals - every one of them had lost a game to an Amateur B team in the preliminaries.  The Family beat the All Americans ("Disco Pete" took out 5 of them), Landslide beat Avalanche, Exile beat Rage, and 2Xtreme beat the SC Ironmen.

"At 4:00 in the morning I woke up and I couldn't figure out why - it was an hour before my alarm was supposed to go off.  Then I heard the thunder." -Robin Adcock

Sunday was the day for the semifinal and final games.  In the early morning hours, long before the sunrise, thunderstorms moved in, letting loose a deluge from the skies.  The rain varied through the morning from heavy downpours to light sprinkles.  Several of the semifinal games were delayed waiting for heavy rains and lightning to pass.  By early afternoon, the skies cleared to a warm sun, with high humidity from the damp earth, but the fields remained muddy.
 


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