Planes, trains and automobiles

Throughout the years Helsinki Cyclone has travelled the paintball world using all transport modes possible. One of the meanest and also on of the most memorable would be the trip to Paris 7-man world cup with a car in one and a half days. That’s 2400km and it has a ferry on the way, do the math. That trip could be labeled with a Finnish paintball phrase “fastly and efficiently”… And yes, many of you know we hate that sort of trips.

Occasionally though they have their advantages and their own twisted sort of fun. This was one of those times.The Iceball arena cup was to be held in Moscow on the third weekend of December and our good friends theField Fighter boys asked if we were interested in a joint team effort for the tournament. This would not only mean that we’d get to participate in the tournament but also see Moscow with a someonewho speaks the language… Surprise surprise, we said yes.

The Team

There seems to be forming a distinct Helsinki Cyclone winter team. These are  the same guys who were participating in just about everything last winter and now they are the ones who keep signing up for just about everything again. Finnish paintballers usually tend to hibernate midwinter but not these guys. The crew composed of Alexandr Maryashov and Sergei Rjabov from Field Fighter with Aleksi Peltonen, Wilhe Knaapi, Tomi Lindholm, Markku Uotila and Olli Kemppi from Helsinki Cyclone

The trip

As I mentioned this was to be a fast and efficient trip by train. The Tolstoy train left Helsinki Central railway station at 5:23pm on Friday 14.12.2012 and would take 15 hours. This would mean that the guys would arrive in Moscow at 8:25am local time a mere 1,5 hours before the tournament started. The organizers had been kind enough to fix the schedules a bit so our guys could make it in time. After the day’s games the train back would leave at 22:45pm local time leaving almost zero time for anything else but paintball and if the tournament would be delayed for some reason we would probably have to leave in the middle of everything.

The train trip there was pretty normal as expected. Some food in the restaurant/weird Russian disco carriage (if you can call the microwave stuff food), some beer (well… one case to be exact, we are still Finns), some planning (two hours of solid arguing) and off to bed early(ish) to be in prime condition for the tournament. The only thing worth mentioning from the outbound trip was the Taxi driver who drove 120km/h in the center of Moscow. We now have a new meaning for the word fear.

The site

The site was very nice indeed. The teams all had changing rooms with showers and plenty of space and there were security guards to keep an eye on the gear during the day. An interesting feature was an extra Plexiglas separating the field and the grandstands. This meant that no splatter that breached the netting could get on to the viewers. Also, you couldn’t shout to the players on the field which eliminated counter coaching  and giving the players and coaches more peace to communicate. The field was turf and very slippery which meant cool slides and funny Wile E Coyote moments during the games. The food was good and there was plenty of it and beer and Vodka was also available. Everything was done just correctly so that the only thing the guys thought to nag about was that the beer was too cold and it ran out for a while. It seems that the Russians hadn’t properly prepared for a Finnish team to arrive.

The Games

I’m ashamed to say, I really don’t have too much to say about the games. I interviewed the guys for this report when they came back but the biggest thing I got out of them was that the Kazakhstanian Cognac was very good… There were three really tight games which we all eventually lost: Cyclone vs. Zaibatsu 2-3, Cyclone vs. Sherif 1-3 and Cyclone vs. WL Kidz 2-3. There were two big problems with our game this time. Firstly, our mixed team didn’t have a common language. We put great emphasis on communication on the field within Cyclone and without a common language our guys lost the sharpest edge. The second thing was that the planning stage hadn’t worked. The team didn’t really have a common goal on the field and everyone just kind of freestyled. This resulted in players going to the same bunker during points and other similar mix-ups… All of these could have been honed out with a bit of training, so that’s not really an excuse. As a summary the tournament was just what was planned since our players got once again experience on different playing styles and tournament playing. All good for the season to come.

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Visiting Moscow

The games had ended prematurely for us and we had some extra time on our hands. Aleksi had been given a bottle of Kazakhstanian Cognac for delivering some bird seed for a friend (apparently there lives a rather picky bird in Moscow which has a thing for Finnish bird seeds). If you put these two together you get what?… You guessed it. Sightseeing with a Kazakhstanian twist. For the next 1,5 hours the guys drove around Moscow visiting all the best sights and enjoying themselves. Some purist might now be rolling their eyes and saying that for a Cognac of that sort you would need coffee and a fine cigar instead of a backseat of a taxi. To all of you I say: Sir, you are very wrong on this matter. All alcoholic beverages are meant to be enjoyed with your best mates while doing something fun. At least the Red Square, the Cosmos rocket, the statue Stalin near a university was visited before going back to the train station. So now we can say that Moscow has completely been seen.

The way home

There was a small problem with the tickets bought from Helsinki. You couldn’t buy seated tickets for the way home in advance, which meant that we didn’t have a cabin just for us but had to share with different passengers. One of the shared cabins was with two Finnish ladies. They were not pleased about the arrangement since they had been promised an all girl cabin. Even more displeasement followed after the Kazakhstanian Cognac was offered to them. It’s weird how some people don’t understand fine liqueur. In the end all was well since some other passengers agreed to change places and all the Cyclone boys were placed in two cabins all to them selves. After this episode followed the usual, some food, some beers and some paintball talk at the restaurant/weird Russian disco carriage. Off to bed a bit later than on the way there… The way to bed presented itself with a small issue: the guys really didn’t write down the number of the cabin they were staying in and since the cabins had been switched the tickets didn’t help either. So now with this writing Cyclone want’ to extend the sincerest apologies to all the passengers we woke up while searching for our cabin… The rest of the way home was peaceful except the constant waking up because of first the Russian and then the Finnish customs personnel checking passports and bags.

All and all, this trip should be written down as a success. Everything was perfectly organized and it is always cool to see new cities. Our greets go out to all the Russian brothers and sisters in paint. We definitely want to visit you again next year and hope to see you sooner than that in the European fields.

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