Note: This was originally written for the Facebook group "This Is Paintball International" so some statements contained within will be slightly out of context when relating it to the group rather than TechPB.
**This is a long one, longer than I'd intended, but that happens often. If you take this game seriously, if you want to continue on with it for a long while or if you head up a team or have strong roots with your team I'd suggest reading it to the end. It may be bullshit to you, it could be completely off base, but read it and decide, take what you like, leave what you don't but I think most will agree with much of what's said below, give it 5 minutes.**
(Maybe 10 for the slow derpy kids or if you're from Canada)
I'm just going to throw out a theory here, this may get people calling bullshit, or may "knock me down a peg" or may piss them off, but I'm not at all the type to pad opinions or kiss anyone's ass lol.
"Paintball is my life"
....No it isn't, not for me, I don't live for it, I don't eat, sleep and breathe it. I don't see it like many do where "it's a lifestyle" or those who try to put it on a pedestal as being something surreal and something to be coddled, fed, cared for and cuddled then tucked in at night and told you love it.
You see the slow motion videos talking about how it's a part of your spirit or some other shens along those lines. They just seem to make it something so grandiose and serene.
To me the way I see it is as follows.
It's my hobby, it's what I do to have fun, I don't NEED it, I don't need to escape my everyday life and rely on it to get me through the other aspects of life, I don't live for Sunday. It's simply something for me to do a few times a month to have fun with my friends, yes it is social but I also do take it seriously to the point that I want to do my very best at it, but that's just who I am. I have a strong work ethic at work and in everything I do, I'm an aircraft technician, if I'm working with a tolerance of 0.015 of an inch, I'm actually aiming for 0.005. I want to do the very best I can in everything I take on.
So, why don't I see it as all that and more? (This is the part that likely will get people harping on me, everything after this blurb really). It's not my life because in my life I have my daughter, my wife, my extended family, career, home, and the list goes on. Paintball is actually a very small part of my life, I admittedly right now only play our events (once or twice a month) and maybe a game of rec 2-3 times a year because I can't justify putting paintball ahead of killing off debt, once I get promoted and have more cash on hand I'll play more. For many it would be "woe as me" it'd be "I'm dying to get out on the field! This sucks!" but for me it isn't because again it's not a huge part of my life that I need. Some will say I'm not a "true baller" or I'm not "hardcore" because I don't drop everything I have to make it to the field but I don't care, do I have the problem or do they? Keep in mind this is coming from a guy coming up on his thirties with a family whose career oriented, priorities now in my life are different than they were 6 or 7 years ago.
I'm not saying anything at all against those who do play every weekend, hell the first 2 years I played I was playing 2-3 times per week, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. It's just a setup for what's to come in a few more paragraphs (Good thing I use them huh? Imagine all of this in one wall of text?!) lol.
What I'm ultimately addressing is this, for some "Paintball is my life" is taken far too literally and it is often the cause of a lot of the drama, bullshit, petty rivalries and often the shit that follows players into their everyday life in attempts to cause them hardship. There are a lot of people who take things too seriously, who practically obsess over their persona, image, their ego and people's perceptions of them. A love turns into an obsession and these people can cause a lot of problems for those who just want to enjoy the game. I won't lie, I have spoken out against what I perceived as legitimate bullshit, that's just who I am, I will often be "That guy" who calls bullshit when bullshit needs to be called because ultimately I don't care what the assholes who support the asshole will think, say or do. That and again this is strictly my hobby so there will be no bother for me, no stress or anguish based on the interwebs "backlash".
Many of these people belong to the e-celeb crowd, they push their love for themselves and their image as being a love for the game and try to use that to further their goals and gains. "If I make it look like I LOVE THIS GAME, like I LIVE FOR it, like I'm ALL FOR THE KIDS AND PUPPIES" people will think I'm badass as fuck! Then being badass as fuck fields will pay me to show up! Companies will give me free shit to say it's awesome! FUCK YEAH! *Pours hot candle wax all over nipples*. Many are team captains, heads of this, that or the other cornerstone or pedestal they're trying to put themselves at the head of.
-Organic Paintball FTW
-Loving Paintball and fuck those guys who don't agree with us who say they love paintball but who won't kiss my ass so fuck them.
-Keeping Paintball gainfully Employed and on a 401k
Just random names thrown together obviously but you guys have all seen them.
I started this group, I've appointed the Admins in here based on their merits, personalities and approach to the game. They are guys who can shoot the living shit out of you, stomp you into the ground or have it done to them and still high five you at the end of the day.
Many groups out their have some sort of mandate, some sort of position or agenda that they push and use their "Contacts" and "Sources" to try to push even further and often at the expense of someone who disagrees. I've heard of sponsors being called, fields contacted to blackball teams, teams organized together to blackball this team or that team. While sometimes yes there are dogshit teams with a horrible attitude who are a detriment to the game, but some folks take it way too far. Some other things I've heard of? Photos of people's homes being sent to them, being told they'd kill their dog, rape their kids/wife, a whole lot of bullshit over a goddamn game.
In my mind "Living for paintball" can be a real detriment to the game in general, those around you and you yourself if you truly live by that mantra. If you've made a career of it, if it pays your bills, yeah that totally makes sense. But if you're just a regular joe blow player "Living for paintball" can mean a lot of travel away from home which is hard on the family, financial hardship because you put the game over your own financial stability, and of course getting far too involved in the politics of the game that can really make for a lot of bullshit for a lot of other people.
I've been caught up in it, it's unavoidable to a degree especially as a team captain or a staffer on a large paintball forum (TechPB). However I always did my best to keep it in perspective. When it comes to teams and fields I don't start shit, I have no interest in the drama, I don't want my recreation turning into a stressor, however I won't hesitate to swing back and call bullshit and put someone on the spot when they start it with me or my team. It's the approach of "Don't start none there won't be none." but often it's happened, I ensure it's in full public view, those who start something, I was willing to write them into a corner and let the onlookers decide whose in the right or wrong. I believe in accountability and I stand behind my actions and statements and if I am wrong or I have fucked up I'm man enough to admit it.
Ultimately why I'm writing this is for the simple reason that maybe some people just getting into the game, or maybe even those who have been in for a long while may want to take a step back and re-evaluate their approach and perspective to the game. I myself did this early this season as did a few of the core guys on the team, call it an epiphany if you will, and maybe that experience can spark it for others and bring back some more of the good times you had before the bullshit. The block feature on Facebook is delicious btw.
So, just a few things I've learned and a few questions you can ask yourself as a player or a captain.
What I've learned
-Facebook drama lasts a week, max. ANY drama or trend lasts a week, unless you're Rob Ford. Remember Joseph Kony? Yeah that shit spread like wildfire and a week later nobody gave a shit, lots of people jump on trends, very few give a shit enough to actually get off the couch and do something, they'll click Like maybe, but for most that's the extent of it.
-"Sponsors" aren't as important as some may think, they are not the end all be all, they shouldn't be your primary goal in forming a team, how your team plays or acts. In the end your enjoyment is a lot more important and if you're chasing that golden sponsorship down the bunny hole, you're doing things and spinning your wheels for the wrong reason. "Free" doesn't really exist anymore, and for scenario it's a catch 22.
A large team of skilled players helps you win games and win awards, but that large number makes it more expensive for a sponsor to support the whole team. A small team of skilled players will have more trouble getting recognized and seen, it has less reach and hence may make it harder to get those opportunities. Again, keep it in perspective, if your primary goal of playing as a team is "To get kickass sponsorships" your team is going to burn out when they realize there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Unless it's a double rainbow, then there is gold, diamonds, stock options in Google, bacon, Mountain Dew and that hot chick you never managed to bang.
-"Rivals" fuck rivals, not "fuck those guys" but fuck having them in the first place. My focus for my team has always been that, a focus on MY team. I don't give a flying what the Flying Military Speedball Alliance of Magfed Supremacy is doing. I don't give a shit what they're saying about my team, if your team is legit look at it's accomplishments, if that's enough for you be happy, cool, if it's not put MORE focus and work into and get to where you want.
-Politics, ignore it as best you can, crush bullshit when and if you can and better yet 99 times out of 100 refer back to the first bullet point of it won't last more than a week anyway and if it does odds are most people don't give a shit anyway.
-On the note of people not giving a shit, this extends to everyday life as well, work, social circles, school, etc. Most people worry far too much about what others think of them, what their actions may lead to, etc. I call it "center of the universe syndrome". Don't take yourself too seriously, while you may worry and stress about something you've said, done or what others think "Oh we didn't get this award." or "If I do this, this person will be pissed off and tell this person and they'll tell their sponsors so that sponsor won't want to deal with us and they supply this field so we can't get good pricing there and if we don't get good pricing and free guns we won't be able to be the baddest motherfuckers on the planet and get women, a job and if we encounter a dragon we won't have the mana necessary to shield ourselves from the flames! FUCK!"
It's not all about you, most people just do not give a single shit. Guess what, odds are they're worrying about the same kinds of things you are, they're worried about themselves and their gains to ever give more than 5 seconds worth of shit about you. Again, real life, fucked up at work? Your boss will shake his head, tell you that you fucked up and do it this way next time. You may stress about that all day and night, and the next 3 times you see him. Well guess what he's now turned around and is thinking about his account with his suppliers or the even bigger fuck up in another shop or office, people are more worried about their own shit to worry about yours.
-When the bullshit hits and paintball stops being fun either step back and take some time off or take a different approach and avoid the bullshit. Nothing will burn you out of the game faster than forcing yourself to play because you're committed to this that or the other when you really don't want to play. If you play competitively in a league you may not have that option, but again that's one of the reasons why there is such a high player turn over in tournament.
The questions you can ask yourself?
Will this matter after I leave the field?
Will this matter when I log off of Facebook?
Should I maybe take a step back and think about this before I type up a storm of rage and look like an asshole?
Is it really fun and recreation when I let all this bullshit into it?
Why am I playing, why have I formed a team, what is my/our goals and are they realistic?
Is what I/we're doing going to allow us to continue on having fun and thriving if we continue this approach for the next 2 years straight?
Focus on yourself and those affiliated with you, make sure YOU have fun, make sure YOU and YOUR friends enjoy what they're doing. Don't be a dick, don't fuck with people, mind your own business and focus on what's right for you. If you see something far out of line and you're the type who has some sort of swing or say and want to say something about it, do so but think it out well in advance. Don't take any grief and if you see something wrong try to correct it.
Major issues? They may not be if it's dealt with in private. Problem with a field? Don't bitch about it to everyone who will listen, talk to the ref, the manager or the owner in private. Don't complain and bitch, offer advice, maybe a solution, get it done with quickly and target it to the person who CAN do something about it and you'll get the best results.
If you have a problem take care of it diplomatically, reasonably and with a cool head. You can often convince someone they're a fuck up and to change their ways if you take the right approach and are reasonable with it rather than flying off the handle and making it worse. Finally if you have a problem take it on head on, don't be the bitch that spreads rumours, creates drama and starts a massive cycle of backstabbing. Man up and speak to someone directly and get it resolved or keep it to yourself.
I don't see paintball as "the game" I don't see it as a living and breathing thing that needs to be nurtured and helped along. It doesn't have a health bar or required maintenance. If your focus is to "help it along" what you're doing is based on YOUR perspective and YOUR opinion and guess what, that WILL clash with others and if those others have formed their own groups pushing their agenda welcome to clash, politics, drama and a "power struggle". You may have the best of intentions but others may use their agenda and "pull" ultimately only to further their own perceived fame and power. Fuck the agenda, have a good time and enjoy.
That's why This is Paintball International doesn't have an agenda, that's why I think this group has really taken off and will continue to thrive and why we've attracted a lot of the most legit and respected players and industry folks in the game.
-ORaNGe-Member Since 26 Jan 2009
Offline Last Active Jul 20 2014 09:47 PM
Well, I'm back from Basic training though I may have a few lapses in my time on here what with being back and forth from home and CFB Borden and all. I've got a newborn baby girl at home, a new truck and I'm good to go for the next paintball season (as soon as I pick up another marker and tank). So yeah, if you need any help with anything pertaining to the forums feel free to hit me up with a PM.
Until then enjoy the crickets.
(Tiffer owns them, they're really quite vicious)
Until then enjoy the crickets.
(Tiffer owns them, they're really quite vicious)
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CFB Trenton, Canada
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