## Thursday, September 8, 2011

### Mathematical equation for the success and growth of Competitive Paintball

Rereading my previous post, I realized it was damn hard to follow and comprehend (I blame it on Captain Morgan; he can be a bad influence). Therefore I'm going to write it down as a very simple mathematical equation that anyone that passed grade 6 math should be able to understand. Please, if there is actually a real economics equation for this, I apologize for my simplicity. This is the way it looks in my head (which tends to be very simplistic).
For competitive paintball to be successful, the following equation must hold true for enough individuals to sustain the activity (by the way, this also is the case for recreational paintball):

E-P≥C+T

Where:

E=Enjoyment
The enjoyment of taking part in the activity. With competitive paintball that enjoyment often takes the form of satisfaction (i.e. satisfaction of winning or placing well or the satisfaction that comes with improvement), but it also includes anything that has a positive effect on the experience (i.e. camaraderie with teammates, adrenaline associated with hunting and being hunted among others)

P=Pain
The pain, discomfort or dissatisfaction of taking part in the activity. The pain in competitive paintball (actually all paintball) is an obvious physical discomfort. The more often one is hit, the more the discomfort accumulates. Dissatisfaction in competitive paintball is similar to dissatisfaction in almost all competitive team sports. It can be frustration with team members, frustration with tournament organization, officiating among many others. Basically anything that will have a negative effect on the experience (hence it follows a negative sign in the equation).

C=Cost
The financial cost to take part in the activity. This will include all finances to train for and take part in competitive paintball events. It also includes associated indirect costs such as travel, accommodations and food.

T=Time
The time that the activity takes. This is time that if the person were to not take part, they could use to do something else (i.e. time that could be spent taking part in another activity, time that could be spent with loved ones, family or friends). Time is a resource, much like money. Time is not limitless; everyone only has a certain amount of it. As our society and cultures advance, it seems that individuals have less and less free time, meaning that time becomes a more treasured or valuable resource.

1. I think you're very close, but the equation should be something more like:

( E(p)-P(p)-C(p) ) / T >= ( E(o)-P(o)-C(o) ) / T

Where (p) is paintball activity, and (o) is "any Other activity)

Time isn't really a cost, at least for small to moderate amounts of T. If you really like an activity, you'll spend as much time doing it as possible. The important part is that the value of the time spent doing paintball must exceed the value of alternative activities. Of course, if the amount of time you spend starts to interfere with your ability to earn a living, or impacts your relationships negatively, then it does become a cost, but that doesn't have to be the case for most people who compete in tournaments.

I'm not sure that's enough of a formula improvement to overwhelm the simplicity of your original however.

2. Yeah, see, now you have a bunch of brackets and stuff in there and you're going to need at least a grade 8 math credit to be able to figure that out. That's way beyond what the average paintball player is going to be able to comprehend.

Your formula is good for making a direct comparison of time taken to play paintball vs. time take to participate in another activity.

My formula, in it's simplicity can be used for basically any activity and amounts to the need for the sum total of the positive and negative aspects of the activity to be greater than the cost. And I will argue that time is a cost, for many people a more dear resource than money. I for one probably defer many activities, not because I do not have the money (I'm not wealthy by most people's standards), but because I cannot spare the time.

3. Time is an important factor. If I want to play once a month, that disqualifies me from competitive paintball. You need to play/practice more than that to hang in the tourney scene.

4. Yeah, saying that if you like an activity, you'll find the time is really no different than saying if you like an activity you'll find the money. There is a reason someone coined the phrase, "time is money".

If you like an activity, but don't have enough money, you may need to earn some extra money for that activity, Where is the time needed to earn the extra income going to come from? Time and money is totally intertwined.

5. If you like an activity, you can nearly always make the time/money available.

The thing is, very few people like any activity so much that they will devote their entire lives to it, to the expense of things like relationships, family, alternate career path, etc.

If you want to do nothing but play paintball for the rest of your life, you can, but it will involve significant other sacrifices, and very few people like any activity that much.