On a regular basis I have people say to me, “You must love the sound of that?” when they hear an extraordinary amount of paintballs being blasted during a game.
I always answer with, “No, actually I don’t. I cringe a bit when I hear that.” Then they look at me oddly, as if I didn’t understand what they meant.
I have to admit, the first couple of years that we were in business, I did get excited when I heard lots of paintballs being shot. With our paintballs costing anywhere between 6 and 10 cents per ball, the thought of all those paintballs being shot was quite exhilarating. It took me a while to figure out that although I might be taking more money to the bank that day, it was costing our business in other ways.
After a while we came to the realization that those customers are not shooting money, as some have suggested in the past. Those people are shooting paintballs and they are shooting them at other people. Now shooting paintballs at other people while playing paintball is more of less the objective, but being the one shot at with huge volumes of paintball can be quite intimidating, especially if you are not used to it, and many of our customers are not used to it.
We really didn’t come to that conclusion until some time after we had built our second field. You see, our first field was a fairly large forested field with lots of natural cover and bunkers and buildings built by us where we thought more cover was needed. For the most part, those that didn’t want “in you face” action, could hang back and hide if they wanted to. When we built our second field, Urban Assault, it was a much smaller field. Once the game started, players could shoot at each other almost immediately. The play was condensed into a much smaller space and those that were a little more timid found it much more difficult to find a spot with less action. On the other hand, some of our customers loved it; much more than our original woodsball field. Right away we noticed, there was much more paint being blasted as soon as the games started.
I literally remember smiling and thinking to myself, “Yeah, now we are going to make some real money.” But it didn’t take long to realize that some players didn’t like the field as much as the larger woodsball field. They didn’t tell us that they thought the field was too intense or that they didn’t like the fact that there was more paint shot on the field. You see, most people don’t like to admit that they don’t like the intense action. I guess they think they might be thought of as chicken or cowards. So they just say things like, “Yeah, I don’t really like that field as much.”
“Do you mind if I ask why not?”
“I don’t know. I just like the woodsball field better.”
Over the years we have built our field with diversity in mind. We know some people like intense, in your face action (most of our regular gear owners do). But we also know some people don’t. We rotate all of our groups so they can experience all the fields. Hopefully every one of our customers will find some of our fields to their liking. But I am very much aware that some of our customers are not really all that comfortable on our smaller fields where they cannot hide from the intense action. So when I hear a lot of heavy marker fire and I know there are a fair number of newer (and chances are, timid) players, I cringe instead of smile. I think I’m an odd field owner.