Monday, August 16, 2010

Speedball...a game developed during different times

For the longest time (actually for just about all of paintball’s history), paintball industry, competitive paintball, and even regular recreational players worked on increasing a player’s advantage by increasing dependable rate of fire. Competitive paintball evolved alongside this parallel evolution of equipment. The third parallel was the evolution of paintball production. Players shot more due to better, faster equipment, and paintball manufacturers were able to streamline production to meet the demands of those players with their new equipment. It really didn’t matter to them whether they produced 10 million cases or 50 million cases as long as their bottom line was bigger than their prior year’s bottom line. Heck, the paintball manufacturers even encouraged the high rates of fire. They sponsored and supplied teams with cheap and even free paint to encourage all the up and comers to shoot lots of paint just like the big boys. Shoot lots of paint and you too may stand on the podium at the Big Show one day and have your face and name in print.

So the competitive game evolved in that atmosphere. But that atmosphere is gone. The sponsorships from paintball manufacturers have been cut back drastically and even local fields and stores have re-evaluated their thoughts on their speedball portions of their businesses. Is it really worth it to give the big wig local team a free ride? What is the local field accomplishing by doing this? Free/cheap paint encourages lots of paint being shot during competition. But can the players/teams that need to pay for their paint keep up? Can they be competitive against the local big wig team getting their paint for free/cheap? Probably not. Not for a long term, sustainable period anyway. So what do the other teams do? Try for as long as they can and then eventually, when drained, drop out and find another, less costly interest.

I’m sure for those currently involved in competitive paintball, in the style similar to what the pros play, that they are having fun playing. But how long can it be sustained? And by how many? The writing is on the wall. And it has been for a long big bold writing. The current game evolved during different times. Times that are now part of history. It’s time to write the future...if you want a future. can continue doing what you are doing and become part of history.

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