I’d like to touch on tournament representation (and lack thereof) in some locals. Since I am most familiar with my local scene, I’ll start there, and probably won’t venture much further than there.
We are located on an island, for those of you who don’t know. Vancouver Island specifically. Approximately half the population is located at the southern tip of the island (Victoria, BC), and the other half is located on the rest of the island. TNT Paintball is on the southern tip, close to Victoria.
Representation in competitive paintball has been low in the southern region of the island for as long as I can remember. There is constant talk from competitive players on the subject. Why are there so few competitive players coming from the area of the island with the highest population density?
Here’s my take. First of all, the majority of competitive paintball players didn’t start out playing competitive paintball. Just about all the competitive players I have met, played their first paintball game on a recreational (woodsball) facility. After a few outings of recreational play, they went on to discover competitive play. I believe this is common almost everywhere in the paintball world.
Of those who try competitive play, some like it and stick with it. Others try it, find out it’s not their thing, and either quit paintball altogether or go back to recreational play.
Does it sound like I’m getting off track? Just bear with me a moment. On the southern part of the island, around the Victoria Island, we’ve had several decent commercial recreational facilities for quite a number of years. We’ve had one commercial recreational field since very close to the beginning of paintball. There are ample places for the recreational player to play. On the rest of the island, there are fewer commercial recreational facilities and those that have been available were not at the same level as their south island counterparts.
Around Victoria, players have the ability to go to several commercial recreational fields and be relatively assured of being entertained and having fun. Many of those that have “graduated” to competitive play, have returned to recreational play after finding out that competitive play is not all that they thought it would be. The recreational fields are still available to them and they can return to them at any time, and continue having fun playing paintball at those fields. There are options for the paintball player that wants to continue playing paintball past his/her Newbie stage.
North of Victoria, there are less options. There are still options, but they aren’t quite as good (sorry if I’m hurting anyone’s feelings here). Once a player “graduates” to competitive play, returning back to sub-par recreational play just doesn’t seem that inviting. So players in that region are more likely to stick with competitive paintball and hence the makeup of the competitive scene is somewhat skewed. There are more competitive players from the less populated area than there are players from the more populated area, by quite a margin. The reason being, in my opinion, is the difference in paintball choices for the population.
That is why the lower part of the island probably has close to ten times as many people playing recreational paintball on any given day than the northern region, yet less than half of the competitive players hail from that same population base. The players choose to play recreational paintball rather than competitive paintball because, quite frankly, they get more bang for their entertainment dollar at the recreational fields.