Monday, June 30, 2014

Enough With The Begging Already

I realize we've become a culture that has developed a free lunch expectation but enough is enough. Granted, the first time it was amusing and clever. On that basis alone it gets a pass. But just that once. And if there's a gimmick, well okay, we can let that version slide too. At least a few times. And by gimmick I mean a Kickstarter kinda deal where there's some quid pro quo--where the contributor gets something for their contribution--other than warm fuzzy feelings. Or even like the inevitable and obnoxious PBS fund drives where you can buy grotesquely over-price Bruce Springsteen CDs and pat yourself on the back for helping public television at the same time. But seriously this business of paintball teams soliciting cash on social media has got to stop. Sure it's easy. And cheap. And if it works, even a little bit, then all to the good, right? Well, maybe not.
Are you familiar with the expression 'familiarity breeds contempt'? Paintball teams soliciting handouts are well along that road. How many street corners in your town have down on their luck folks flashing cardboard signs looking for handouts? Some are legit and some maybe not so legit but how can you tell? And when it occurred once in a while you were far more likely to give something than when everywhere you turn there's somebody with a hand out. Getting the picture yet? When everybody is doing it (in this case, begging for money) it quickly becomes counterproductive.
While I'm at it I might as well confess I'm suspicious of teams pushing charity tie-ins too. Unless every nickel raised goes to the charity it strikes me as just another tactic regardless of the worthiness of the charity being "supported." You want to support a charity, that's great. You want a pat on the head while diverting some percentage of donated funds to your paintball team, that's not so great. (I am not, btw, calling anybody out. I'm just saying.)
Last time I checked playing tournament paintball was not on the short list of life essentials. (I know, you can't live without paintball. Give up breathing for a week and let me know how that works out for you.) If you want to compete there's more to it than getting your grind on. For no matter how often some player touts his dedication by extolling the trials of the grind the real struggle is more often doing whatever it takes to get back on that field every weekend. It used to be called work. And has absolutely nothing to do with begging somebody else to support your hobby.  


Anonymous said...

I think this is the dumbest thing I have yet to read on this site..why dont you attack the industry supported by millions of $ that begs, lies, and cheats their way through every paintball season.

Anonymous said...

If you enjoy watching a team play and said team is a bunch of college kids supporting themselves year round then why not help support them so they can continue? Rarely does anything useful come from this site all it seems to be is some old feather duster that talks crap about everything.

Robbie Goldsmith said...

Looks like I opened a can of worms...

Carl Bortol - Omaha Vicious said...

100% of everything Vicious has ever raised for charity has been donated. Karen and I have even matched the donations before. Please do not lump every team together based on the actions of a few. We know of a few divisional teams and players that have put on fundraisers that were 100 % legit. I also know about a few that were not. That is the sad part.

Baca Loco said...

442 Anon
Where have you been?

449 Anon
Feather duster? I like it even though I'm not sure what it means. Did I say anywhere that somebody shouldn't contribute if they want to? I didn't. I said it was demeaning and reflective of a growing entitlement mentality in this culture.

You still get a pass. The first time is new and creative. The 100th time is old, tired, derivative ... and endemic.

Where did I lump anybody? I simply offered a point of view of a characteristic within competitive paintball that is becoming more and more commonplace.

Anonymous said...

Paranoid narcissistic Vicious is paranoid narcissistic Vicious. NOWHERE did he bemoan charity efforts.

Carl Bortol - Omaha Vicious said...

Just making a comment that not all teams are like that. They are there but I don't think it is fair to group them all together. I also mentioned divisional teams and players that have done good and raised money for various causes not just Vicious. It takes time and effort to do that.

The suspicion of attaching charity events was my reference.

I agree with many points you are making. I just read them a little more general than you intended.

Nick Brockdorff said...

I think you missed the mark with this one Baca.

If the object of the post was to ridicule people that swindle charities - cool

But, it comes across like you lumped every team that does fundraising into that... and are calling them part of an entitled generation, which I really don't get.

I see nothing wrong with teams doing fundraising, as long as they are up front and honest about it.

Paintball is an expensive sport, and if team owners want to alleviate some of the pressure on their own wallet, through soliciting public support, I fully understand and appreciate it.

Not least when you are competing against teams that are far better funded from the outset.

NewPro said...

If I choose to give Dynasty $5.00 of my hard earned money, so be it. Unless I'm blind tho, he was stating to the use of charity for non charitable purposes. Im still gun shy about the whole donation fiasco after the PB4A ordeal. Let teams call it like it is (CEP), "we`re broke, we need $$$ to compete, if you like watching us compete, fork over your moolah".

Now, if there were one consistent and stable PRO DIV and sponsors had to spread the wealth equally, in turn giving some degree of financial parity, maybe teams wouldn't be begging :)

What would a team like VCK do with Vicious's budget? Food for thought and no, not hating on the Omaha folks

Anonymous said...

This points at one of the biggest reasons I stopped playing: kids with no job playing paintball. I miss the days when most of those playing were older and paid their own way.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Are you serious?

You stopped playing paintball because kids play it? :D

- "kids with no jobs" no less!

I suspect you are a troll :D

Fullbore said...

Next thing they'll be standing out on the exit like at every Wallmart, holding up cardboard signs ;)

Baca Loco said...

Perhaps our definitions of "fundraising" differ. You say fundraising to me and I think of car washes and bake sales or for paintball purposes maybe personalized training, etc. Which I'm fine with by the way. :) I do not think soliciting money in exchange for nothing because I really want to play paintball.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Well, obviously it is a smarter way to do it, if you raise money through offering something in return - i.e. clinics, selling jerseys, caps or whatever.

But, if there are fans out there that want to contribute to a team without getting something in return, I am fine with that too.

People can do with their money what they want, and it is not like someone is getting cheated or lied to.

I definitely don't think it is a question of entitlement, if a teams says openly "we need money to run our team - please contribute if you wish to support us".

Fullbore said...

Bake sales, car washes, clinics etc. are all well and good. What grinds is those players from well funded teams, especially those that you personally know aren't struggling for funds, constantly pushing new or nearly new kit, as "Need to Sell".

I struggle to understand the level of sponsorship where teams/players have excess kit they can offload. Surely this damages both the manufacturer and dealer margins. Would it not make more sense for items such as jerseys and team edition guns to be sold through regular outlets with a kickback going to the team.

Anonymous said...

I totally get it Loco.
You didn't lump teams in together. If teams feel like this is an attack on them, then they should look to themselves. Any righteous charity-friendly team should fall well short of being offended by the post IMO.

I can also totally understand the connection between jobless kids flooding the event scene and older players quitting too. I've witnessed it and it's real attrition. We are replacing people who can pay with people who can't. The people who can't pay, want someone else to pay for them, be it the 'lying cheating industry' (lol), mommy, coach, or a bunch of people who think they're giving to charity.

Reiner Schafer said...

I would argue that many of the older players dropping out are dropping out because they can no longer afford to play due to other financial commitments. At least the younger players, assuming they have at least a part time job and are living at home, are often willing to commit a very large percentage of their income to paintball.

Having said that, I do think a lot of people, especially younger people, don't seem to be willing to work as hard to get what they want these days. Many expect things to come easy to them. That's a general culture change and has nothing to do with paintball specifically.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Back when I played on a US Pro team, we got a new gun per event, so it was absolutely accepted by that particular manufacturer, that sponsored players offloaded kit at bargain prices all the time.

I am guessing the reasoning was, that it was cheaper to give players equipment, than the corresponding cash value.... and then they lived with the effects it had on the marketplace.

Whether some teams are still funded that way today, I don't know... but yes, I agree it is a poor business model for a manufacturer.

I entirely fail to see why anyone would quit the sport, because there are kids playing it.... and especially who you would quit because those kids lack money.

I would appreciate it if those of you that bring that argument to the table, would elaborate a bit on the subject, because I fail to see a legitimate reasoning.

MissyQ said...

Its like any hobby Nick.

if I'm a crazy snowboard fan (I'm not) and I get to hang around with my snowboard buddies, training, sharing some laughs, enjoying some friendship from like-minded similar-aged individuals, and having a few beers afterwards, that experience becomes a part of snowboarding for me. Its the social aspect of the experience, it's more than just the activity, if you can understand that.

Same with paintball.
I don't think it has much to do with the fact that kids don't often pay their own way, as true as that may be, just that a drastic change in playing demographic is going to affect peoples enjoyment of the overall paintball experience in more ways than one. The people that liked playing events for fun, and enjoyed the parties and VIP's, socializing with the Pro teams etc, probably get a lot less value than they used to from the game. When people fail to see the value they are looking for in order to allocate their limited time and funds, they quit. Just like they would any other hobby.

Anonymous said...


Yes, children playing tournament paintball is partly what drove me away from the sport (the cost would be the biggest one). Sorry if I would rather spend my weekends working together with people a little bit more mature than the 15 year olds with moms van/credit card that frequented our fields.

They didn't take anything seriously - drills that didn't include them shooting paint, showing up late, begging for rides everywhere, never having enough money to cover their bills, etc. etc. etc.

It used to be a weekend where I would hang out with peers (ie, people with jobs and families and responsibilities outside of school and paintball). That slowly faded as the sport changed/evolved. Spending time tweaking gear and talking shop was a fond memory lost to the modern game.

Anonymous said...

And also, the beer thing: it's important to be able to socialize after it is all done.

Believe me, the few kids that showed maturity and good work ethic were great - they just were a small percentage unfortunately (and still had the issues of age/etc.).

UKballer said...

It depends what you want. if you want to build new freindships through an active hobby, then yeah, who wants to 'make friends' with a bunch of little kids. More likely youl get locked up or thought of as a weirdo.

it used to be that we would go to the pub after the games. Then only 2 of us are old enough. The 2 that were left had to do all the heavy lifting too. Kids don't do anything. They just show up and expect everything to be set. They also don't spend their own money, just parents money. They save their own cash for the video games there parents won't buy for them because they pay for paintball..

Nick Brockdorff said...

Still, nobody is forcing you to be in a team with kids?

If you don't like playing with kids, then join a mature team.... paintball is one of the few sports most ages and both genders can play on an even playing field.

If you say you quit because of finances, or you got tired of getting beat, or all your friends quit.... I understand.... but listing the age of opponents as a major reason sounds odd to me..... especially since, if you dislike them so much, what is better than getting to shoot them? :)

But hey, if it is really a legitimate reason for you, cool - I just don't understand the rationale.

Anonymous said...

Not all of us enjoy the social aspect of being around teenagers? There just aren't enough adults in the area anymore that play the game.

The whole area is dead as far as adults playing competitively. I'm not going to waste my money on a hobby that is filled with people that I don't enjoy socializing with.

The concept isn't really that hard to understand; it appears you are just being obtuse.

Anonymous said...

In order to understand, one would first have to be receptive to other peoples points of view.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Sure, if you live in an area with few players, it makes sense.

Anonymous said...

North Carolina used to have a very healthy tournament scene as well as professional team.

We lost both the CFOA and Trauma/Gridlock/Raiden in the past several years.

Bill Badalucca said...

This topic hits home for me.
As many know, I was a member of New England PB4A last year as one of the Team Captains. After that fiasco surfaced, we couldnt disband that team fast enough to get away from that mess, but also made it a point to clear the innocent's names while doing so.
We formed a new team, and were one of the lucky ones who got help from Vicious' generosity.
I've been reluctant to seek out so-called "Sponsors" and hold fund raising efforts just because of the PB4A fiasco and the bad taste it left in my mouth.
We want to play Cup, and thought about what we can do to raise money to afford the trip, but we shy away from any attempts to ask for donations for fear of people's reactions to it.
On the flip side, I see some teams holding raffles to raise money.
So it's a touchy risk to take. But one I've considered, and continue to look at as future possibilities. It just needs to be handled carefully and legitimately.... and requires some creative thinking to make it successful.

Baca Loco said...

Thanks, Bill. I appreciate the thoughtful response. Good luck making Cup.