Ultimate Woodsball League - Day 1
by Chris "IQ" Iaquinta
As I sit in a hotel room in a state that is not my own, it dawns on me how long its been since I traveled to a paintball competition purely because I wanted to, not because I was obligated to cover it for any of the various media outlets I've worked with over the years, or under contract to help produce the event. My paintball life begun about 15 years ago and has taken me all around the country, out of the country, and put everything from local, regional and national championships on my resume, but I'll admit that a couple of years ago the thrill of puddle jumping from event to event, win or lose, was becoming a grind. I got the opportunity to take a larger role in the paintball industry, and basically I've never looked back.
Since then, my on-field experience has been a mish-mosh of random events, tournaments, and scenario games, but I could not find the motivation to go to anything more than two hours away unless it was for the sake of covering it for media purposes. Yet now here I am in Mesquite, Nevada, a good seven hour drive from the comfort of my California King Size bed (which, yes, is larger than a regular king size bed), having logged another day of play on what now is my second Ultimate Woodsball League event.
Needless to say Tom Cole (founder of the UWL) has made a believer out of me.
The Ultimate Woodsball League was formed a few years ago as a way to return tournament paintball back to its roots. 10-man teams were reintroduced, games were played on woodsball fields, and unique rosters comprised of everything from legends to newbies found their way onto the playing arena. The UWL has done an amazing job at helping many players, such as myself, find that something we've been looking for to help us jump start that paintball fire in our hearts and get us back out there on the road, sleeping on cots in a hotel room because your punk teammates (Tyler Harmon and Bear D'Egidio in my case) have completely taken over the bed.
The second UWL of the year is currently underway in Mesquite, NV, with Pirates Paradise Paintball acting as the host field. 14 teams, split between the Open (Pro) division and Tactical division made the trek out for the competition. After the honor of jumping on the Oakland Assassins roster (captained by paintball's top legend, Bob Long) at the first UWL of 2011 at SC Village (which we won, BAM!), I was lucky enough to be invited back for a second round of madness here in Mesquite.
On top of a stacked Oakland Assassins roster that includes big names like Dave Bains, Tyler Harmon and Shane Howe, two other squads showed up filled with some of the best former and current pro players in the game. The Henchmen, founded by former NPPL President Chuck Hendsch, are here with basically a full roster of former Dynasty members including Brian "BC" Cole, Rodney Squires, Glenn Forster, Richard "Opie' Loughran and Brad Maughn, along with Frank "The Tank" Connell from Avalanche. On top of that, Vicious, one of the top PSP teams in the world, is also in attendance, joined by the T-Money himself, Todd Martinez of Infamous. What once started as a division that was meant to get old friends back playing together again has turned into the most talent-stacked division outside of the NPPL/PSP.
Each Open division team played two prelim matches today, and here are how the standings look after those two games:
Henchmen - 240
Vicious - 185
Oakland Assassins - 160
Desert Edge - 151
Two more prelim matches for each team will be played tomorrow, with the top two moving on to play for 1st/2nd. With the way the scoring system works with the UWL, it's still possible for any team to go in as the top seed, as it is completely possible to post a monster score and jump ahead a few seed points if one or two of your opponents gets caught in a low-scoring match.
The final set of prelim scores were not completed for the Tactical division at the time of this posting, but I will get those up here tomorrow for everyone to see. We also have some great interviews lined up with Chuck Hendsch, Frank Connell and Bob Long tomorrow, so look forward to our Day 2 coverage of the Mesquite UWL event for that exclusive footage.