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Dr. Isotope

Member Since 03 Feb 2009
Offline Last Active Aug 09 2009 07:29 PM
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Topics I've Started

Tournament paintball: not dead or dying...

28 July 2009 - 01:22 AM

Random rant of the evening... begin.

I've been at this game a long while, and I've watched (and been a part of) the ups and downs of tournament paintball. The conclusion I've come to, after these many years, is that "professional" paintball was doomed from the very beginning. Let's break it down, shall we?

Tournament paintball is crap to televise/watch. And therefore, will never be even near the mainstream. If will never be on the same level as the major ballsports (baseball, basketball, football, etc) or even the formerly fringe "extreme" sports, because they all succeed on broadcast TV. People can tell what's going on when they watch mainstream sports. Tournament paintball is a bunch of guys shooting a whole lot, and yelling. The players are all too hard to tell apart, and the worst hit of all: covered faces. People want to see the players. So forget about the X-games, or anything like that. Paintball will never get that kind of profile. Which in turn means,

No support from outside the industry. How many paintball players are sponsored by companies that don't make paintball gear? Where are the Oakley Factory Team players? Where are the guys on Wheaties boxes and Gatorade bottles? Oh, those don't exist. Because the sport is fringe, and the participants... well,

The players themselves fall into a strange, limbo-like category
. They may be professionals by virtue of getting a paycheck (in some cases), but in the end, they are just regular guys who have conditioned themselves to play a particular game; anyone can do it. You can put on gear, and go play the game. Conversely, if Average Joe steps up to the plate against Tim Lincecum, there's a 99.5% chance he's going to strike out. Odds are, he also can't pull of a kickflip to varial, or qualify for the Tour de France, either. And that throws back to point one, where people would rather do something (for lake of a better word) do-able, then watch some other random dude do it. Which segues into the next,

There is no technological showcase. Like tournament paintball, professional motorsports are a giant, swirling money drain. No professional racing or any kind makes it's sponsors any money (at least not directly). An F1 team will cost between $100M and $400M a year to operate-- hell, even major ballsports have to rely on corporate sponsorships to cover operating costs, as annual payrolls will exceed $100-300M per team. So what's the point of it? Well, motorsports is the home of technological innovation. The stuff in performance cars and streetbikes all grew out of F1 and MotoGP programs, etc, etc. Paintball doesn't have that. Average Joe wants a Williams-McLaren F1 car, he has a nice dream. Average Joe wants a tricked out EGO that he saw in his fave paintball magazine? He just orders it off of the internet. Which leads into...

It's always been a hobby. Someone with no experience or ability can buy whatever they need to play, and play. That's a fair definition of a hobby. Taking that hobby and trying to legitimize it by making it flashier and more expensive is putting the cart so far ahead of the horse, the horse just wanders off into a field and wastes the day. Tournament paintball adds nothing to paintball as a whole. You can't successfully distill something purely competitive out of something that's just quintessentially fun and of single-vision: shooting other people (not to death) is entertaining. It's a diversion. But televised, it would be more interesting to watch robots play poker.

Lastly, "recballers" outnumber "tournament players" 500 to 1-- of not considerably more. The manufacturers have consistently marketed to the rec crowd, by trying to convince them that the equipment of the "pros" is the must have gear-- until the Braver Newer Economy stepped in and crushed that. Accuracy by volume and hoppers that cost more than the guns they're mounted on have succeeded only in pushing the game even further toward the fringe. The emphasis on technology for technology's sake (hey, the new '09 version of supergun A is 0.5oz lighter, with new milling and a new secret firing mode!) is always a sure sign of decline, and I think the last gasps tournament paintball are now taking are more than indicative of that.

Python Kit question

09 July 2009 - 11:26 PM

With the Python kit, it makes almost no difference what barrel you put on the front of it. A $5 Proto bargain-bin barrel will perform the same as a $100 SLY. I personally prefer a .689 for the front of mine, but that's just me. Other sizes work just as well.

I want to play where I want, when I want

29 May 2009 - 03:01 PM

So what to do? Well instead of spending more money on more guns (that I certainly don't need) to add to my ever-growing collection, why not put the back 1/3 of my yard to work? All I usually do is field-mow it once a year when the City sends me a threatening letter about weed abatement. Well, not any more. Here's what about $600 and a lot of sweat equity will earn:

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The playing area is roughly 135' x 60', and the fence-to-fence-to-fence dimension is 150' x 110'-- I just can't use it all, as there are ancient welded-frame horse corrals on the west end that I have no desire to take down-- the two trees in the righthand corner of the first pic are actually growing through the rails.

Total cost for the bunkers ran roughly $300, including all lumber, fasteners, weatherseal, and ground stakes. Half the cost of the field was the netting setup, so thankfully I only needed to net one side. It's 9' tall (10' x 100' netting), with carabiners every 18", hanging on 3/16" steel cable (3 posts, in case the photos don't show them all.)

There are six 48"W x 48"H bunkers (three per side), six 32"W x 48"H (three per side), four 32"W x 80"H (two per side), a 144"W x 66"H (center), and two 72"W x 80"H (opposite ends of the centerline).

And when I finished the bunkers, I dug through my seemingly endless piles of leftover construction materials, and built this:

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Space for 8 guns, 8 masks, 8 vests/packs, paint, tools, etc. And it's in the shade! Which is almost a miracle.

Now if I can just get the red harvester ants under control, if will pretty much be paintball nirvana. And the whole deal is about 120 feet from my backdoor. The stuff dreams are made of, I tell ya.

Mike, I implore you...

06 May 2009 - 06:22 PM

...before each video, to either write your salient points down on cue cards, or at least do a dry run-through. Speech and linguistics are part of my background, so one of the things that kills me more than any other is "uhs" and "umms." Within 2 minutes of a video, I can't even hear the words in between... I'm mentally preoccupied, tallying the most buggering of all speech disfluencies. The umms and uhs are followed closely by the frequent inclusion of the word "like", which you thankfully do not do.

Might be no big deal-- could be just me.

The Old Skool Ballers Club

20 April 2009 - 02:41 AM

If there's one thing age affords, it's carte blanche to be ageist and elitist, so we should take advantage of it. It's pretty simple. If you played when the first Bush was president, you're in for sure. If you played when Reagan was in office, that's boss status. So...


Who are you, where you at, how long you been in?


Dr. Isotope, sunny SoCal, 20 years (playing since 1989)