How many times are you people gonna jump at The Next Big Thing only to be disillusioned (again) before you decide to look before you leap? How many times are you gonna hop into the back seat of the nice man's car when he offers you a free ride and a bag of gummi bears? How many times are you gonna park your brain in neutral at the sound of a positive word? (Have you been giving money to televangelists again?)
This is a few final (very final) thoughts on the recent World Games hoopla blazing across Paintball's corner of the internet like a grass fire. But first I'm gonna say something nice(-ish). I think it's swell a German team won and that representative teams from a number of other countries showed up, were invited, whatever. I'm glad they went. Glad they had a good time and shared in the brotherhood of sport blah blah blah. I couldn't care less that there was no U.S. team present. And you can count on me to be front and center cheering paintball on. Just not with my brain turned off.
I'm gonna try and put this World Games business into perspective, give it some context. After that if you want to run around in the street hollering and waving flags be my guest. It won't do any real harm except you'll forget all about it in five minutes until the next time. And maybe that is a problem but it isn't one I'm gonna change with a post.
"At quadrennial intervals, in the years following the Games of the Olympiad" means there is a World Games every four years, not every year or every other year. Next one is 2013.
"The host may also endorse a limited number of additional sports, which are not governed by the IWGA Member Federations, to feature on the Invitational Sports Program." Paintball is not an IWGA member and paintball was not one of the additional sports featured on the Invitational Sports Program. Those were Beach Handball, Dragonboats, Softball, Tchaukball and Wushu. In fact, Paintball was not listed in the program of events. It wasn't listed on the Games' schedule. It wasn't listed among pre-events competitions. But I did eventually find it. Via a separate link for the Sports Activity Park where it was listed along with slow pitch softball, gateball, tai chi chuan, yuan ji dance and sepaktakraw. So, yes, paintball did receive some sort of recognition from the '09 World Games but what that really amounts to is hardly clear.
"Since its founding meeting in Seoul, Korea (in 1981), IWGA membership increased from 12 to 32 International Sports Federations. For an International Federation to become a Member of the IWGA, its recognition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and/or its membership with the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) are prerequisite." Even if Paintball achieved recognition as a demo sport in '09 further participation requires IWGA membership which requires a) an international sports federation and b) either recognition by the IOC or membership in the GAISF.
Was this a step forward? Maybe, but it wasn't Paintball came, saw and conquered. It wasn't all you have to do is show up. And even if it was a step forward it was a far cry from a World Games Paintball Champiohsip. If it is to amount to anything there's a lot of real work to be done to get from here to there and another round of being ignorantly happy for five minutes while patting ourselves on the back isn't going to get the job done. So sure, be happy, but realize this was a toe in the door, not mission accomplished.