THE HEAT IS ON…
On Friday July 23rd, some of the members of Black Karma assembled to perform our pre-game ritual. This may differ from some teams, but it works for us: we eat and reminisce on our many times of hilarity and general merriment. Of course this tends to be like a pen light that gets passed around pointing to each of us where we relive the catalogue of poor decisions and unbelievable moves each of us have performed. We also catch up on each other’s “non-paintball” lives. This is truly where we gel as a team.
As Saturday begins, we each prepare for UWL Tennessee at Bearclaw Paintball. This is where we go over the game plan for the field and start podding up. We quickly watch the breakout for the first 10 man match and prepare for our first game against an open team. Our review of the breakouts is not due to our lack of knowledge of the field (as this is our home field), but more to see how everyone else “reads” the field – its always cool to see how other folks read the field and how different teams can see different things.
Some history for you on our team – we tend to have nerve issues during our first game/point. This is not due a lack of preparation or practice, but more like an old car that needs to warm up before going to the races. We go over the game plan one more time, chrono for the ref, speak our motto “Don’t Suck!”, and prepare the best way each of us can. As the ref yells thirty seconds, we are on pins and needles. When the whistle blows, our scout runs his heart out toward one of the swing bases for a flag pull. Then the second whistle blows and we all execute the plan. We bunker in and prepare for the open team to wash over us like a wave, but our line holds. We protect the flag pulls we have and wait for a hard fight to the finish. There was a lot of back and forth action throughout the game, but in the end we had no idea who won. As we leave the field with our pods, we concentrate on our next match against another tactical team. During our preparations we find out we won by the smallest margin we have ever had in a UWL game – 6 points.
Our second game starts exactly like the first with whistles and running. This match was more about patience than raw energy. Each move had to be calculated with the utmost care with some back and forth flag pulls. In the end we were victorious in this game as well, but the heat had started to take its toll on some of the players of the event. If you haven’t been around it, the heat plus the humidity in the southeast is brutal on your body. With the heat index at 115 that day, we all knew to be watching for not only our own players, but everyone. Hydration is key.
As finals rolled around, we were struggling to keep coherent. After spending the morning outside, it was like a sauna just standing around. Much like the other games, patience wins UWL matches and sometimes a single mistake can make the game. After a hard match, we ending up getting 2nd place for 10 Man UWL Tennessee.
As Sunday began, we prepare both of our 5 man teams: one full of seasoned team members and another with some up and coming players that had never competed in a UWL event. Our goal for the second team revolved around our effort to grow the sport where we pulled in folks who had practiced with us from time to time but had never competed in a UWL tourney before. As luck would have it our two teams played each other for our first match. Our new team didn’t win the event, but they did get a taste of the UWL that we love and had a blast doing it. Our other team ended up in 2nd place for 5 Man UWL Tennessee.
We would like to thank Tom Cole and his staff for running the event, Scott and Layla from Bearclaw for everything you do for us as players, friends, and family, our own families who sacrifice time with us so we can go be crazy on “Pew Pew” weekends, and to Planet Eclipse for their continued support. Never once have we lost faith in the abilities of our paintball equipment to perform in any condition we throw at it (now we can add a heat index of 115). Also, special thanks to Marc Lancia from Planet Eclipse. He is like the team member you never get to see or hear about, but we appreciate all of the support throughout the years.