It's just a game called Paintball. Ot is it? Following on the excellent batch of comments the last two days I want to sum up and continue this particular dialogue. (Though this post will only cover some selected comments so go read them all if you haven't already.) The Monday Poll (on Monday) began with the premise that not releasing each event layout would reduce practice costs, sometimes very dramatically, making tournament participation more viable for more teams and players. (If you haven't voted yet, go vote, you lazy slacker.) It has also been suggested that a move to (severely) limited paint usage would also achieve a cost savings across the board. When it comes to layout releases it's also been suggested there be a season long single layout that must, at some point, push teams to focus on getting better as opposed to simply learning the field. It's been suggested that some number of field layouts be released--greater than the number of events--at the beginning of the season with event layouts chosen at random from among the released layouts. (To my mind this would have precisely the opposite effect in pushing teams to learn all the possible competition layouts as early as possible just in case.) I have similar doubts about a seasonal field release being as effective as no release largely because I have doubts about some percentage of team owners/captains/leaders. (I look forward to your irate emails and Facebook comments.) With respect to the limited paint idea--I'm for it--in a limited way. I think it would be an excellent way to introduce new players to competition paintball as well as the youngest players. I think one could potentially develop a limited paint league, at least on a local level but at some point it would also stymie player development. Alternatively it might be possible to tier the amount of paint allowed by division, for example. Ultimately however the game as presently played requires the potential for high volumes of paint. (The reasons for this have been covered a number of times. A search of things like ROF, movement vs. ROF should get some results.)
There has also been a spirited defense of the status quo suggesting that there's a symbiotic relationship between MLP, the local tourney practice fields & other industry members and that breaking (or altering) the relationships may create something like a domino effect. My reply, in essence, is that it looks like everyone is circling the drain together and everybody is reliant on somebody else, who may or may not, have their best interests in mind when crunch time comes around. Besides, it creates other complications. For example, MLP agrees with the field manufacturer to modify the bunker set annually in order to help support the bunker maker and passes that cost on to the local fields. Layout release may help the local practice field but forcing them into annual upgrades doesn't.
Lastly, it was suggested competitive paintball might be organized by a standard league/Junior league division along with some number of tiered divisions of competition as is current practice. The idea being the standard league participant is protected with the goal of shifting the demographic because, in the example given, everyone 18 and younger played in the Juniors. The Juniors could be organized and operated with lower costs in mind while the Standard divisions would be populated with a larger number of self-sufficient players able to afford the competition. It makes for an interesting idea but it also highlights perhaps the core struggle going on; Is competitive paintball sport or customer service entertainment? It's struggling right now trying to be both. And why is it that the industry (and everyone else) have left the problem of resolving these growing pains issue in the hands of MLP alone? Or phrased another way: Why is MLP responsible for "fixing" everything that ails competitive paintball?
Tomorrow, crunching those WC numbers I gave you the other day--and a Mailbag over the weekend. (If you have a question or comment get them in now.)