Sunday, May 3, 2009

Evicting Players

I hate being the Heavy! I hate being the guy that ruins the fun of others. However, as co-manager of a paintball field, it’s my job to make sure people follow rules and our customers are safe. This past weekend we had a higher than normal number of players that we ended the day for sooner than those players had anticipated their day of paintball would end.

On Saturday we had three players that decided they were going to shoot paintballs at our field that were not purchased from our field (we are Field Paint Only). Now this happens every once in a while. Usually the player plead ignorance and we tell them to put the paintballs away and as long as they purchase our paintballs and shoot only our paintballs from that point forward, we give them a second chance. The three players yesterday were different though. They started giving the ref that was dealing with the situation a hard time. They made a scene and explained how it was not fair that we made them use our paintballs and that our paintballs were way over-priced. Most of you that read this blog regularly know our philosophy on paintball pricing. Those that don’t can take a few minutes and read some of the previous writings (the Economics of a Recreational Paintball Field 3-pat series written in January would be most helpful). Anyway, they really gave us little choice but to ask them to leave, which they did without making too much of a fuss at that point.

We also told someone that they couldn’t play anymore after removing his mask on the field for the 4th time. That was definitely more than enough warning.

Today we had to tell two more players that their day was done early after removing their masks. We had a few mask incidents today and our refs had lectured the group as a whole a couple of times as well as giving stern warning to the individuals who lifted their masks. Some days there just seem to be more incidents than other. I don’t know why.

The refs had just finished giving the one group another lecture about masks, telling them that the next person that lifted their mask was going home. Less than five minutes later, on the way to the staging area, a player took off his mask well before he got to the door. It was right in front of the whole group, so the ref had no choice but to send the young man packing. He wasn’t happy, but he handed in his gear without complaining. Not three minutes later, another player did exactly the same thing. He happened to be a friend of the first player that was told he was done.

Again, this player wasn’t happy, but he handed in his gear to me. As he was handing in his gear, he told me that he was almost at the Staging Area Door when he lifted his mask, but that he understood that a rule was a rule and he broke the rule. He also told me that it was his first time playing and although he wasn’t happy that he had to quit, he was going to come back. I felt sorry for him, but I really couldn’t do anything about the situation. I certainly wasn’t going to reverse my ref’s decision.

What amazed me though was the attitude of this young gentleman. Although he said he was having the time of his life and we cut it short, he wasn’t totally p’d off at us. He had to hang around for about 2 more hours before the people he came with were finished and he intently watched the action from behind the netting. He came up to the window where I was working a couple of times during that time. The first time he came to ask for information about equipment. He basically wanted to know where and what to buy. I gave him the usual information and off he went. The second time he came back to buy some snacks. He had a $10 bill and bought $3 worth of snacks. He then proceeded to put the remaining $7 in the ref’s tip jar and said, “I love this place. Your staff does a great job. I’m coming back real soon.”

All I could think was that this young man was brought up right. I hope that my kids go through life with attitudes similar to his.


  1. If you were evil, you could undo years of good parenting in a month or two by teaching him to play speedball. ;)

  2. It seems like you (and your refs) handled the situations pretty well!

    Most players who take their masks off genuinely forgot the rule. I've seen refs get right into their face and start screaming at them and calling them stupid. I'm willing to bet those players will never, ever go back to the field.

    Wow, that young man helps me to believe that we as a human race have a chance.

    To Raehl: Speedball is the nectar of the gods =)

  3. I know mask removal is almost always an event where the player wasn't consciously thinking about doing so. We hand out our fair share of stern warnings before starting to have people pack up or hand in their gear. But in the end, you have to draw the line somewhere. If you don't start making examples of people, it doesn't end. We had no more mask violations on Sunday after we cut short the day for those two players.

  4. I handily applaud that and it shows that you care about your players. That young man might have been raised well, but his reaction also shows that you and your refs handled it in the best possible manner. Kudos!