Well, paintball evolved from play that was very similar to what we do now, back in it's "sketchy" days. The evolution has taken it to the speedball arena with no resemblance whatsoever to what we do. That is what the media shows, that is what the general public sees on sports channels. The fashions that are sold in paintball stores overwhelmingly support that. There are no paintbal guns, they are markers, or the word "gun" is applied in the same level of danger or feeling as "water gun" for the soccer-mom crowd.
While not all paintball is played like kiddie speedball, what I see out at the paintball fields I play is 90% that way, no bush play, no tactics, just dump the paint as best you can.
For those out in society who don't play these sorts of games, the association with guns is very frightening. They have little to know idea what it's all about, and the idea of people running around with guns, any guns real or not, means that they must be subversives, quasi-militia, terrorists, whatever. Because they don't play our game means that it has no positive value (otherwise they would be doing it), and as such it must be harmful and negative. And you wouldn't believe the arguments they will come up with to justify that position.
There is a great fear of guns looming in this country, mainly centered in urban areas, where access to and use of guns is primarily by the criminal element, with innocent citizens becoming casualties. When you factor that in to the thought processes of a generally ignorant public, it becomes frightening that people would wear camo, run around with guns, and use co-ordinated tactics and teamwork to simulate combat and death. They must be training for something, right, because how can war and death be fun?
I'm not saying that making the sport of airsoft mainstream is impossible, but it would have to become a sport. It is actually now a hobby, with no standardized rules, no means of scoring, no defined team structure, no play venues or parameters for them. To make it a sport, you would have to eliminate the way we play currently, and turn it into something like speedball, or someone will have to invent a standardized game set, and make tournaments available for them. That would be a terrible turn-off for most players out there.
So, which way should it go?
Any way you do it would mean drastic changes, to both the hobby itself, and everything that it involves. People don't like change, and just because you believe it's inevitable does not make it welcome or palatable. And change is only inevitable if you let it happen. Many players will not.
OK, now I'm drunk.
Age verifier Northern Alberta
Democracy is two wolves and a sheep discussing what's for dinner.
Freedom is the wolves limping away while the sheep reloads.
Never confuse freedom with democracy.