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Old September 29th, 2015, 22:44   #117
Cliffradical
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Winnipeg
When I began playing paintball, I was 17. I had picked up a basic semi- auto, and had no idea what I was doing, I just really, really wanted to play.
I went to a couple of games at a local field (for profit business), and no one really helped me or instructed me at all. "Here you go, kid. NEXT!"
I kind of learned to ignore what was going on around me, and just play for myself, inventing my own narrative and structure of play within the rules (because rules are good, right?). Friends wanted to share the experience after I'd told my tall tales, but none of them were actually interested. I was alone, but I accepted that because all of the dirt and noise and 'pain for gain' was worth it.

Then I went to my first scenario game, a true shit show, and ended up in the same place at the same time as some other, older players. They were playing the game that I wanted to play, but I didn't know how. "Hey buddy" one whispered "Get down low and come over here, behind us". I was in awe, but motivated, so I scuttled all knees and elbows over there. "There's a group of them all bunched up about 30 feet through the bush and down the hill, me and Koop are gonna flank left and right. We're on pumps and you've got a semi, so give us 45 seconds and then just hammer the bush, K?".

I think I only waited about 20 of those 45 seconds, but I let my BT roar and they sorted the "Bad Guys" out. The rest of the day was spent hiding, flanking, and harassing the "enemy" team. Afterwards, I got an invitation to games hosted by guys a decade older than the ones I'd met. They allowed me to use what I had, but eventually I knew I needed to get serious and buy my own pump gun, which ended up being some kind of brass Sheridan Magnum. I got made fun of a little bit (the hardened vets were using stock - class CCI Magnums), but it was sold to me in trust by one of the guys who brought me in, and I had the sneaking suspicion it had been handed down the line.

These guys taught me honor, respect, knowing everyone you're shooting at as a human being, what to buy and what not to, and not only that there would be hell to pay for fucking up, but that you could atone for missteps. If you were willing to learn, there would always be a place for you.
These guys still play. Less than they'd like I'm sure, but they still play.

There's all kinds of major and minor variants of Paintball. There's a huge spectrum of players pegged between "Motocross outfits" and "Simulated Airsoft". Each generation has felt it's time wax and wane, but the guys who keep playing still get to play the game they like.
The only way to ensure that your preferred game type persists is by nourishing it;

-Send out feelers:
Find younger players caught in the middle of the shitshow and fucking help them
-Don't shit on other groups:
If they play a different style, play to their rules on their turf (protect yourself accordingly), and make sure they know your rules up front when they come to your house.
-Distance yourself from the general public, but know that they're your recruiting pool:
'Nuff said.
-Shit or get off the pot:
If people want to leave because no one will enforce the rules they like, they divest themselves of all responsibility, and can be mourned for their loss but ultimately ignored.
Hard fact to swallow, but really.
-Crossover is good:
Throwing yourself into a completely alien situation is great for the brain. When you make strong connections with differing groups/ play styles you grant each group mutual understanding, while breaking down barriers that might otherwise keep you from realizing that the "other guy" and his buddies are pretty much just like you. Your whole club doesn't have to do this, but the willing should be sacrificed for the Common Good.

As hard as we all might like to think we are as Jocknerds/ Nerdjocks (or actually hard in the case of Mil/ LEO), we're all just big, slobbering dorks in the end. I think acceptance of that fact will do us, as Airsofters, the best service in the end.
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