I did it myself yesterday. A call to action. On behalf of Central Florida Paintball--a place I've spent more weekends than I can count. And I'd do it again. Anytime. But being a cynic (and a lazy slacker) I'm not giddy with excitement awaiting the outpouring of happy (weekend) warriors ready & willing to combat the retrograde anti-paintball forces all around us. Don't get me wrong, it would be nice to see but my hopes are modest and my expectations more modest still. It would be nice to see but every day we are tugged and pulled this way and that by a thousand and one things demanding our attention. From a quick glance through the latest paintball news there are numerous calls to action--of one sort or another.
What merits our interest and attention? Why?
Before I go further I need to confess a thing or two. I'm not a joiner. A member in good standing of much of anything. Nor am I a team player by nature. (Though I can make it happen when needs be.) My default position is to push back against authority. I don't play well with others--and I frequently run with scissors. Consequently I tend to rebel against any and all calls to action regardless of their nature.
Besides the upcoming hearing involving CFP there is also the pending law hanging over the heads of Californians, the Facebook group gathering round the idea of 'Respecting Paintball' and a charity scenario game benefiting the wounded warriors organization. Each is promoting a cause and in one way or another issuing a call to action. It's a pretty diverse group considering they all fall under the banner of paintball. And they are just representative samples. (Hell, I was invited to join 3 other Facebook groups (that I remember) in the past few days and all of those mostly wanted easy access to try and promote stuff at me. Have I ever mentioned before how much I hate social networking? I have? Well, I do.)
Despite the lack of outrage from much of the VFTD universe--which legitimately spans the globe--if not the solar system--at least that I'm aware of (or the galaxy) (or universe) the pending legislation in Cali is a big deal for paintball--or it might be depending on how things turn out. It's of immediate concern to much of PBIndustry and many west coast players but after that it's hard to say. Even if you're concerned what can you do? Does the voice of one guy in Arkansas make a difference? Or a Facebook group called Friends of Cali Paintball? Maybe. What about a paintball team from Finland? Seems kinda unlikely. But what about the PSP or the NPPL or Millennium Series or PALS or paintball federations from around the world? Closer to home there's the Airsoft industry. Are they up to speed on this? How many stores and fields in Cali are working together to reach out to these politicians?
Then there's the Facebook group (plus available T-shirt) started by a sincere (and earnest) woman who is a long time player and nostalgic for the good old days when honor and respect ruled the playing field. As an ideal (if never quite the reality) it's a swell notion and God bless 'em. And as long as it's a voluntary association of like-minded peeps I say more power to them. But good intentions are also the paving stones on the road to hell. How long does it take before if you're not a member you're assumed to be without honor and disrespectful? That the litmus test of the "good" paintballer is the one willing to join in lockstep with the majority. Sound silly? Give it time. If it isn't this one it will be something else and then it'll seem prophetic. It won't happen on purpose. There will be no malice aforethought. But that won't matter and won't change the outcome. Anytime something like this reaches a critical mass it goes south and turns sour and becomes a vehicle for somebody's dreams of power--even if it's just another big fish in a little pond.
The final example of a call to action is a charitable scenario game honoring (I was sorely tempted to put that in quotes) real wounded warriors. I have issues with reenactment-type scenario games (yes, like D-Day) and I'm a cynic. 9 times out of 10 I see 'charity' attached to some routine commerce and I assume it's a gimmick. In this case it would be to pump up the turnout with a game while also delivering the personal satisfaction of contributing to a worthwhile cause whilst running around in the woods reliving the Battle of the Bulge--or whatever. What's better than entertaining altruism? Which is okay. What looks like a cynical move to me may in fact be completely innocent. But does nobody else sense the intellectual disconnect between legitimately honoring the sacrifice of real soldiers while trivializing everything about real combat running around with paintball guns pretending to be the Allies vs. the Axis. Reenactment scenarios intentionally attempt to frame their game with some vestige of "reality"--and they can't. All they end up doing is making a mockery of what they are supposedly honoring.
So what's the point? Don't have one really. It was just one of those how are these things like the others moment. And a tiny rant of sorts if I'm honest. I found it momentarily distracting--and kinda interesting. If you're reading this--so did you.
Oh. One last thing. There's no links to any of these calls to action because they were unnecessary and to include them would have been to promote them--and there's already plenty of that going around.