The sky is falling. Woe be unto us. Everything is doom & gloom. Paintball is dying. It isn't what it once was. Paintball had its chance and blew it.
So said Chicken Little. (Okay, just the part about the sky falling but I'm working on a metaphor here.) So say more than a few paintball types these days as well. And yes, a case could be made to claim that VFTD has been as negative as anybody else. But there is a difference. One I'll get to later.
If you've been playing less than 5 years--shut up. If you're not even 20 years old yet--shut up. If you are some angst-ridden emo dork who can't see thru his bangs and is tired of cutting himself--shut up. If all you do is reflexively regurgitate what ten other people tell you to think--shut up.
Did I say I was fed-up with the whiners, naysayers & crybabies?
Yeah, things are different and (seemingly) not for the better if all your doing is counting numbers. They are also different from how they were twenty-five years ago yet I'd be willing to bet most of you would prefer today's game over the antique game. Hell, many of you don't have a clue what the game was like twenty-five years ago. So we're on the farside of competitive paintball's heyday--paintball's first heyday. But I'm reasonably certain there is no cosmic law of the universe that says paintball gets one chance and one chance only to go mainstream. And even if that were true, so what? Most everyone playing the game plays the game because they enjoy it. They aren't looking for the big score, the mega-million dollar mainstream or dreaming of being on Sportscenter. National level tournament play has declined but the biggest World Cups happened before the xball era. The move from 10-man to xball reduced participation but I don't recall anyway proclaiming then that the end was near. And the xball team turnout this year is the third largest ever. Fewer teams played WC in 1999 than will play Cup next week. Was national level tourney play supposed to grow and grow and grow? Forever getting bigger and bigger? The tourney format never could sustain unlimited growth. Things are different. Some high profile teams are gone. As are chunks of the PBIndustry. If you look at the history of the game the aberration was the huge growth in the early part of the last decade.
The sky isn't falling. The world of competitive paintball is changing. Has changed. Some of the changes were intentional and others weren't. What comes next is opportunity. Yes, it remains difficult in many portions of the industry and there are no guarantees things will improve for everyone or that everyone still in the game in whatever capacity will still be in it day after tomorrow. That's life. For those who wanted a change in the Old Guard there's a better chance of that happening tomorrow than there ever was yesterday. For those who want greater diversity within the game that was never going to happen when the status quo was such an all-encompassing success. Today's turmoil is the breeding ground for tomorrow's solutions. It isn't the end of the (paintball) world. It's still just the beginning.
VFTD has, over the years, attempted to look at paintball and the competitive game in particular without the hardcore fan's rose-tinted glasses. Without buying into the industry hype. Without blindly following the crowd or getting hung up on the status quo. So, yes, I've been critical of lots of things. Mostly 'cus they were wrong or being done poorly. (In my estimation anyway.) The point has never been to be needlessly contrarian or negative. It's always been about the game and making it better and in a game where the movers & shakers want to act in secret there's nothing wrong with an open, honest discussion.