The notion that competitive paintball is an extreme sport is, of course, utter nonsense. It first gained currency during the Second Great Push--after the league(s) split and both were hard charging after the almighty TV dollar. X-Games & paintball is a perfect match. 'Cus, you know, paintball is an extreme sport. Gravity Games and paintball is a perfect match. Etc. (The First Great Push dates to the mid-90s--if you build it TV will show up--when the mythic pallet field was built near the orange grove and ESPN came and filmed a goofy hybrid game--designed just for TV--that promised to launch the future of competitive paintball. Until Jerry Braun decided he could push around a TV network with threats of litigation--and we continue to enjoy the occasional webcast to this day. The only extreme back then was shortsightedness.) What might have been the start of the Third Great Push--the NPPL's webcast on ESPN3--seems to have flared with the hype and fizzled in reality.
But forget about all that. It has nothing to do with real extreme paintball. Of course the paintball part of real extreme paintball is also something of an afterthought. Not that the paintball is unimportant, it isn't. But it isn't the paintball that makes it extreme--it's the conditions under which the game will be played. Rather like the Germans' extreme ironing. Ironing itself isn't particularly extreme but when it's done on a mountain top with minimal climbing gear or while plummeting towards terra firma after having leaped out of an airplane it becomes considerably more extreme than the norm. And it's nothing like French extreme disdain which can be practiced and mastered most anywhere. More along the lines of an extreme Bridge foursome wearing hats made of raw meat playing cards inside the great cat enclosure at Busch Gardens.
About now you're beginning to think I've slipped over into extreme hyperbole--and I don't blame you--but you are mistaken. Consider the following sentence pulled without modification or omission from a recent press release: "In the event of a death on the island, we'll pause the game." Jolly decent of them I say. IN THE EVENT OF A DEATH ... It doesn't get much more extreme than that, does it? And as if contemplating one's demise while preparing to play a game wasn't bad enough here is how that paragraph closes: "Please ensure that your medical insurance is up to date to cover these costs in the event of your death." It proceeds to ramble on about the procedures to be followed should a severe injury require evacuation from the game zone by air.
The game in question--as you may have guessed--is the latest exploit from the producers at Shoreline. (Press release is here and a general interest link is here.) VFTD has mentioned these crazy gents before because when they offer a scenario it just may be a unique, one-of-a-kind, pull out all the stops extreme paintball game. This latest will take place on an isolated island along the Dalmatian coast featuring WWII era submarine pens and a full weekend's game that promises to be unlike any other paintball experience ever.
As most of you know VFTD is no fan of reenactment style milsim scenario games but what Shoreline does with its extreme games is echo a siren call to adventure as it simultaneously issues a challenge to all men to cast off modern comforts and ease and embrace the raw and visceral demands of a more primitive time. There is no denying it has a certain appeal--just as there is no denying it comes with a potentially high price tag. (Not to mention the actual price tag that only begins with a trip to Croatia to rendezvous with a ferry.) If real extreme paintball is what you want, look no further--and don't look back. If mastering the game of paintball is what you seek you need look no further than competitive paintball.