Although I couldn’t get on to the pro field with the access that I had, I still had the opportunity to interview a few of the pro players at NXL Philadelphia. I’ve watched this man coach the New England Infamous team at Boston Paintball.
Brett Messer of Los Angeles Infamous in the Pro Division.
Jake: So we are in Philly for the National X-Ball Event, what are your thoughts on the field layout?
B: I really like it, I think it plays well for players that have individual strengths. At the same time it really shows off team play. You can play really fast out there. You can get held up. There’s a lot of dimensions to this field. That’s something I’ve really been enjoying so far.
J: A lot of players in the lower divisions are talking about how it’s easy to cross up the snake side from the D-side.
B: It is, there definitely is some spots that you can lock stuff off. What happens is if a team breaks that cross, then they are in a spot where your in a really tight spot in that cross, kind of stuck in the pocket. Once you get out to those wide dorito and snake bunkers, the little W and big wedge, you can really make life hell. The cross is all about stopping people from getting to those bunkers. Once they are in those bunkers then you have to adjust to play based on the fact that those guys are in those spots.
J: What are the advantages and disadvantages of moving this event from Atlantic City, New Jersey to here in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania?
B: I’m a big fan of the change. Atlantic City in my opinion is kind of a dump. There’s not a lot of good stuff going on there. There’s not too many nice areas anymore. I hope it comes back but for right now, Atlantic City is not a good place. Also there are no airports close to there. If you’re a team that has to deal with travel itinerary, it’s just not easy to go to Atlantic City. You’re over an hour from the Philly airport which is the closest. I’m glad they moved it here, it’s a really nice venue. Hopefully they are welcome back next year. This place is pretty destroyed. NXL did a really awesome job trying to contain the damage with all the mud and rain. They laid down a wood walkway. They’ve done well, it’s drying out. So hopefully they get welcomed back next year.
J: If there’s one thing you could change about this weekend not including play or weather, what would you change?
B: I got a hip injury during practice on Thursday, I had a really sore hip flexor. I would have preferred that didn’t happen. I’m really good at taking care of my body. I know what I need to do to stay on the field. That’s my primary concern right now. Otherwise, another really good event by the NXL. It’s really cool that we have a Infamous booth, a Team USA booth, which are two programs I’m involved with.
J: A lot of the lower division guys are complaining about the lack of food and the lack of beer.
B: Yeah, the beer tent is pretty small and the food vendors pretty small. This seems like a really big, busy event. I don’t really know the numbers on it, I’m sure the Dave Painters’ and the Tom Coles’ could tell you more about that. It seems really poppin, we have a ton of people walking by. Maybe next time a couple food vendors and a couple beer vendors to grow it a little bit.
J: From what I can see it went well for the first time in Philadelphia.
B: Yeah, it’s a little unique being at a college campus but its really cool. Everything’s really nice here. The grass is maybe the best grass I’ve ever played on. I didn’t play in Europe this year but some of the guys that did said that the Barcelona grass was the best grass they have ever played on. Everyone else is saying that this is one of the nicest playing ground that they’ve had since they formed the NXL.
J: So you hurt your hip in practice on Thursday, how did that effect you throughout the preliminaries?
B: It was actually a little more sore today than it was yesterday. I did the ice, Advil, heat, and Epsom salt bath. All the different things you try to do to loosen up a ligament and a tendon. It played really well. Today I had it running for a buzzer at the last second against NYX which kind of just irritated it a little bit. It’s a little tighter today but still able to play. That’s what it’s all about, just keeping myself available for the coach as an option on the field. I’ll work on a more long term rehab after the tournament.
J: You coach New England Infamous, a D3 X-Ball team, what did you learn playing on field that you could teach them almost immediately right after.
B: A lot of stuff like breakouts, bounce shots, and who can shoot who. Those are the biggest things. The divisions play a little bit different. There’s openings that happen in D3 where a pro player would immediately take advantage of that. The D3 guys take longer to see it that the field plays at a mediocre pace. On the pro field when certain things open up pros fly into those positions and get kills. That’s the biggest difference, speed. A lot of the bunkers that people go to are the same because the divisional guys are scouting the pro guys. A lot of divisional teams have good coaching. You see a lot of things translate over there. The reffing is a little less consistent. Those are kind of the biggest things.
J: Who was your toughest opponent so far this weekend?
B: AC:Dallas. They are consistently a top 4 team. They always give us a good match. We practice with those guys a lot because they are a good team. We knew kind of what they were going to do. We went out and played our game and they beat us pretty handily. We just got beat by a good team. So definitely our biggest competitor this weekend.
J: As the standing’s stand now, will we be seeing you play tomorrow?
B: As of right now, Yes.
After going 2-2 in prelims, LA Infamous played did indeed play in the playoffs. They entered Sunday as a wild card and lost the first and only match of the day to the Baltimore Revo 3-4. The second loss of the tournament to Revo by the same score. Infamous currently sits in 8th in the season standings with 312 points. This puts them 235 points out of first place.
Picture Source: Vick Photography
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