Does Airsoft have referees? Or does everybody just run around yelling "I shot you" "No, you didn't" "Did so" "Did not" all the time? In between calling in imaginary air strikes and calibrating their night vision goggles, of course.
Seriously, who do those people think they are? The NPPL? Come to think of it maybe that sheds some light on how Tom Cole botched the big calls at DC so thoroughly. I mean he's not in the paintball biz anymore, after all. To be fair though you woulda thought--or at least I woulda thought--he'd still remember how paintball works. (Maybe he was channeling Bill Cookston. Sorry kids, that gag was for the OGs.) What do you think the chances are we see a UWL event with Airsoft gear? It's a no-brainer, right? Unless of course Airsofters don't really compete. Mostly they just fantasize--and play with their radios. (And no that isn't a euphemism for something else. Unless you want it to be.)
I was thinking of calling this post When does a paintball field stop being a paintball field but there were two obvious answers--so I didn't. The two answers? When they go out of business or they turn into an Airsoft field, doh! Speaking of which I was reading about the upcoming field owners conference coinciding with WC to be held next week in Kissimmee. (Funny how that worked out. Come to central Florida for Cup and spend a day at the conference. Serendipity. Gotta love it.) Anyway, I was looking at the list of sponsors for the conference and it made for some interesting reading. Airsoft giant PALCO, PolarStar (another Airsoft company), Tippmann Paintball Laser Tag, Steradian Technologies (makers of outdoor laser tag equipment) plus a couple of actual paintball companies. (If you're looking for links you're outta luck. I ain't giving you any.)
I know what you're thinking; it's hard times and if paintball fields need to diversify in order to stay in business that's a good thing, not a bad thing. And if I were a field owner I would probably agree with you but as a paintball player I'm not so sure. The website for the conference promoters is fieldownersconference.com. Nary a paintball in sight. And once what were paintball fields start down that road where does it end? Look, if a field can't survive as a paintball field I understand--change or die. But shouldn't the answer be learn how to be a better paintball field instead of morphing into something else? And please don't tell me laser tag and Airsoft are gateways to playing paintball. They aren't. (Airsoft is for weekend commando wannabes and laser tag is for children, girls and Betas. Yes, I said it. Deal with it.) Is there some movement across those boundaries? Sure, but it isn't one way and there isn't an obvious natural progression from one to the other.
It's kinda funny really. If this is how the industry and its friends try to save Paintball I have a hard time imagining that its enemies could do much worse.