Tired of all the sturm und drang going on in paintball? Me too. So how 'bout a story instead?
Shortly after the USPL announced its original schedule, complete with conference only events, I got an email from the editor of FaceFull inquiring as to my interest and availability in producing an event report for them for the DC Challenge. Since I always liked doing event reports I replied that I'd be happy to undertake the assignment. In this market environment such opportunities are rapidly dwindling. We didn't discuss things like payment or word count as they would sort themselves out later on. Paintball media tends (or tended) to be a bit more informal, shall we say, than many other forms of publication. Although not quite down to the level of neighborhood newsletters writing for paintball mags was often a bit less glamorous and lucrative than I suspect many people often think. Anyway, it sounded like fun to me. (Just wait, my ideas about fun get worse.)
Welp, in the meantime the DC Challenge was rescheduled and the whole notion of regional conference events got rolled back into national events and pretty soon a number of months had gone by without any contact between me and the magazine. The week before the event I dropped the editor a brief note looking for confirmation of the assignment--not really expecting to get it. Which I didn't.
For those of you who don't only look at the pictures (a minority I'd guess, present company excluded) you're well aware that Rich (Telford) handles all those sorts of duties for FaceFull. (He also, as it happens, does a terrific job of it, dammit.) So of course once the DC event became a national event that Rich would naturally attend FaceFull promptly forgot about poor old Baca. Which is just what I expected to happen. (And, alas, I'm almost always right.)
Before I go any further just to show there's no hard feelings here's a freebie. Good as Rich is in print he's better live. If FaceFull wants to enter the 21st century they ought to start doing sponsored Rich-hosted podcasts. (Or Rich could throw off the shackles of Old Media and do them himself--I suggest subversively.) Besides, (I'm starting the rumor) the wife ghosts all his written material anyway.
If you are now disillusioned by the notion that writing for a paintball mag isn't all champagne brunches and bikini-clad beach bunnies I'm gonna take another moment to drag your feet closer to the ground. The reason the FaceFull brush off didn't bother me in the least is because I knew it wasn't personal. And I knew it wasn't personal based on the criterion used to contact me in the first place. If you're thinking brilliant writing, think again. If you're thinking experience you're not even close. If you're thinking involved in the pro scene I scoff at your naivete. In some measure those things do matter (kinda, sorta, sometimes) but the priority is no out of pocket cost to the magazine. In essence if you are a warm body and you are present you are in the running. As it turned out it was likely for the best. If I'd been doing the piece I'd have felt obligated to hang around on Sunday--though I know of an event or three where the writer wasn't actually present--and I had a great time at the National Gallery of Art in DC instead. (See? I warned you about what I find fun.) Most of the team had never been to DC so they were up for the trip though nobody joined me mostly wandering off to the Air & Space or Natural History museums.
Here is where I confess to an ulterior motive. Thing is I've been cogitatin' on paintball media lately and its roll (and importance) in the development and popularity of the game and starting soon I'll be doing a series of related posts and this was my way of introducing the idea. It's an overlooked (or at least under-discussed) aspect of paintball's recipe for future success. And seriously, would most of the stars of pro paintball be half as popular as they are (or were) without a paintball media?
Btw, seen a Paintball Sports recently?