Better late than never, right?
This one's gonna be tricky so please read carefully before voting. Don't let the question fool you. How old were you when you joined your first team? That's only the beginning. The poll will give you 16 possible answers but I'm not trying to get your exact age. I'm trying to get an age range and (A BIG AND) a time frame. For example, one age group option is: Under 21. Now here comes the tricky part--the Under 21 option will be repeated 4 times because it also includes different time frames. Under 21, The 1980s means you joined your first competitive team when you were under 21 in the decade of the 1980s. And if you were under 21 but joined your first team in 2002 there's a different answer that will fit your specific situation. Got it? I'm curious to see if any demographic patterns will emerge related to when you (and all the other respondents) began competing.
Rock the vote. VFTD will fight for your right to par-tay!
Monday Poll in Review
Last week's turnout was way down but the voting criterion was also narrow; past MLP event players who haven't played an MLP event this year. I was looking for the reasons why and to see what the numbers suggest. (As always none of VFTD's polls are scientific and should not be considered statistically relevant but they're still interesting.) Three numbers stood out. 30% indicated events were too expensive. Of course "too expensive" is relative--what is too expensive today may not have been last year--particularly in the case of players who have shelled out in the past to compete at the major league level. It's no great surprise money is tighter or that "too expensive" was the top vote getter but 30% is a significant percentage. 34% quit playing competitive paintball (with a third quitting paintball altogether.) That also means two-thirds are choosing a different brand of paintball participation but in either case there is a degree of burnout involved when it comes to the competitive game. That suggests nearly two-thirds of all voters are either burned out or can't afford MLP competition. And given the other choices available the remaining vote casters find themselves in one sort of team limbo or another--and I think most of us know what that's like. Teams break up, players move on, it's hard to find like-minded teammates and the struggle ends up not being about competing but about organizing an opportunity to compete consistently.
While the numbers look bad keep in mind it was a tiny sample and the nature of the question pre-determined the negative turn the results would take because it was about why players aren't playing. I don't know that there were any surprises but I do think the burnout numbers merit looking into further. It's not a new phenomenon in paintball--I remember articles about it in the magazines back in the 90s when paintball was kinder & gentler--but if the nature of the game is turning players away who had previously chosen competitive paintball and made a commitment that's a problem. The next question might be: How much of a problem?