Regulars may recall that in posts past VFTD has had issues with player classification as defined and cataloged by the only real (functional & utilitarian) data base service of this sort in the paintball universe; APPA. Which isn't to say that APPA is bad. It isn't. Numerous changes made in recent years have improved it greatly. And in the grand scheme of things competitive in paintball it serves a useful purpose. (If you're a glutton for punishment follow this link.) But an important problem remains and it is to (once again) highlight that problem I'm writing this post. (That, and I was reminded of it yesterday when I spent a free--from TBD commitments--Sunday hanging out with some old paintball buddies and some new tourney players. For some additional background look here.)
In the Spring of 2010 a number of my former teammates decided to play a local event for fun--and to see if the game reignited old passions. Pretty much across the board it did--reignite old passions--and within weeks they had bought new gear, planned a practice schedule and decided to play as many of the rest of the season's events as possible.
Next week they'll be competing in the third event of their second CFPS season. Two former teams have been reconstructed and a brand new team of mostly young players has been formed as a result of ex-players rediscovering the tourney game they loved a decade or more ago.
The problem is APPA. (Sorta.) Some of the first posts on VFTD le blog in 2008 dealt with my concern that the classification rules in force then had the unintended consequence of pushing D1 ranked players out of tourney paintball. (If you're curious--and you know what curiosity did to the cat--start looking in the July 2008 archives.) And here we are again except the situation is happening on the local level. As it turns out my former teammates, the old guys, have had some success and it appears that by the end of the season they will be bumped up in classification by APPA and out of local competition. Theoretically the CFPS could offer D3X Race 2-4 but have had difficulty fielding a division in the past and if next year is like this one the old guys will be out of tourney paintball again. Okay, but they could play PSP. Or maybe a different regional series, right? Well, yes, at least by classification rule they could but they are all older with families and jobs and real responsibilities and never intended or wanted to travel around the country to events or rise through the ranks. They are regular guys who enjoy playing competitive paintball for fun--not to rejoin the grind--and once again the unintended consequence of well-intentioned and useful rules is gonna push players out of the game. And this time it will be exactly the kind of players the game needs at the grassroots level to provide leadership, resources and knowledge to help grow the next generation of tournament players.