It’s over, for another year at least. The time leading up to West Coast Pump Weekend is always the most stressful time of the year for me, although it does seem to be getting a little easier every year (mostly because I just don’t care quite as much anymore about making everyone happy).
This year, the 4th, was the most successful event so far, not only as attendance goes, but also from the feedback I was getting from many of the players. Over the course of the two days we had over 70 pump players taking part, some just Saturday for the fun pump speedball event and some just Sunday for the recreational all pump games, but the vast majority playing both days.
I personally played most of Sunday in the recreational games and had a blast. I didn’t witness a single hostile moment from a single player. Everyone just had a great time.
I did not take part in Saturday’s fun tournament (other than organizing and overseeing that things went as smoothly as possible). The vast majority of the players had a great time on Saturday as well, but there were a few hiccups. What is it about adding the word competition or tournament to an event that makes people’s attitudes change? Saturday’s players were virtually the same players as Sunday’s players, yet on Saturday, during the “tournament”, some of the players just seem to feel the need to make the event much more serious than it needs to be. We don’t have prizes or even huge trophies. We don’t have a huge rule book, because we don’t feel we need it. It’s supposed to be a competition played for “fun”. It’s a bunch of pump players, playing the game we love and playing with honour.
Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t a disaster. As a matter of fact, I’d say that 95% of the participants had a great time and even the other 5% had a good time the majority of the time. The ones that seemed to have problems were those that have gone from being pump players to also being regular tournament speedball players. And on Sunday, during recreational play, these players were their regular good natured selves again. But when glass beer mugs were on the line, the need to complain and throw fits surfaced.
Every year after this event, I reaffirm the decision my business partner and myself made, shortly after we started TNT Paintball, to not enter the speedball/tournament paintball business. It’s not that I hate speedball and tournament. I’m actually a competitive person by nature. But it’s a whole lot easier to run a paintball field (and a business) without needing to deal with the attitudes that seem to surface when the words competition or tournament are present.
So we will most likely be hosting WCPW’11, even if it is a lot of work and we make more money on a regular weekend with just recreational play. And there will hopefully be even more pump players taking part, coming from even farther distances. And we’ll put up with the attitudes that come with competition. But only to a point. If it gets too much, we’ll pull the plug. If winning a “fun pump speedball tournament” becomes too important for too many players, we’ll let others deal with it and we’ll bow out.