Monday, February 23, 2015

One Big Happy (Paintball) Family

Not. I saw the latest promotional piece from Houston Heat today--a photo (poster) of the 2015 squad--with the banner, One Team, One Family, One point at a time and the first thing that came to mind was an admittedly cynical question: Would anybody be on that team, other than the junior Smith, if they weren't getting paid? And the second question that came to mind was; What about the family members that got kicked to the curb a couple months ago? Where I come from family isn't about what you've done for me lately. So who is really the cynic here; Is it me or is it Heat? (And they aren't the only ones. There's a welcome to the family message on Facebook from GI to a local field in Ohio. Are they too family now or are they in a business relationship each side hopes will serve their independent interests?)
Look, maybe I'm making too big a deal outta nothing. I mean everybody understands the game being played right? So what's the harm? Beside the whole family schtick plays in Peoria. (It's a showbiz saying from a very long time ago.) Paintball at every level is about friends and family and having fun--except when it isn't. And every time an idea like family is co-opted it diminishes the real meaning of the word. Okay the truth is we all do it and when it's homegrown teams and teammates we even mostly mean it. (Though I have yet to see anyone bleed, die or give up a kidney for the kid whose been on the team 6 weeks.) But all that really means is when the business of paintball gets into the act it really is a cynical sham. It isn't about the business of paintball sharing values with players it's about them manipulating all those positive emotions and love of the game on behalf of their bottom line. I know, it isn't just paintball either but just because everybody does it doesn't mean I have to like it. And today it just rubbed me the wrong way.   

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't think compensation should be a determining factor in what makes or doesn't make a family. The fact of the matter is that on a professional level these players invest a huge amount of time and energy towards a mutual goal. Especially a team that dedicates itself to practice the way that Heat does. That time could otherwise be spent building careers and spending time with friends and family, but instead they spend it with each other in the trenches, at dinners, flying, playing games, working out and everything in between. It's during this time that strong bonds do form and I have no issue with players calling teammates family. After all, most spend more time with their teammates and have so many unique experiences with them that of course you feel tight knit. I don't feel like this is unique to paintball and would assume other professional athletes who get compensated much greater still feel this bond. With that said you don't have to get along with everyone in your family or like them evenly. Sometimes it may even be better for both parties to move on to better themselves. One thing I see in paintball is people maintaining friendships and bonds even after team changes. Being there for each other through thick and thin and choosing to stay tight even after adversity. That doesn't make them less of a family if anything it further validates groups natural predilection to term themselves as one. Perhaps you just don't like their verbiage and wouldn't have been bothered by a different term such as a tribe to describe themselves. But in the end, the way I see it, it's up to the people with the actual relationship to decide how they like to quantify it.

Baca Loco said...

Anon
In the rest of the sports world it's called "team" and that's usually sufficient.

Anonymous said...

I agree that successful teams don't need to call themselves a family, but to say it is a unique attribute to paintball teams is absurd. I follow most professional sports, some more than I should, and there are a ton of instances of players referring to their teammates and fans as family. It's even a common occurrence in business settings to create that family atmosphere amongst teams in order to effectively perform the tasks they are given. It's the idea of selflessness over selfishness to achieve your groups goal.

Anonymous said...

"something sumething sumething darkside"
Glad to see you took off your rose color glass's. The rabbit hole only goes deeper. Fix this game!

Baca Loco said...

119 Anon
Is that a good thing or a reflection of how little family means to too many people anymore?

Anonymous said...

I think the whole "family" mantra is a shitty marketing ploy that has had the collateral consequence of "wussifying" paintball. It is used to make parents happy, take the edge off of the aggression required to destroy someone IN THE FACE. It really started with Vicious (god those Eclipse videos were so sappy *gags*), Impact has done a little more mature example of the same thing, and now it has come full circle with a new pro team out of Dallas. I won't mention the Owner, who was a former coach, who essentially started devising this marketing concept pre-Vicious (oops did I give too much away?).

The biggest advantage of this marketing concept is to attract young players (high-school/early college) and manufacture the "playing with my best friends" vibe. Older players don't fall sucker to this and don't find it to be attractive marketing. Why? Because we have families of our own, we have realized life is going to create space between relationships, and we know time always moves forward.

I never see this much emphasis on "family" in any other sport. Whenever I hear a team talk about how big of a family they are, but in the same paragraph talk about the sacrifice they make from being away from friends and family I want to vomit.

End Rant.

Baca Loco said...

1200 Anon
I think elements may pre-date Vicious but otherwise you said what I wanted to better than I did.

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