Or not, in the case of the Super 6 Paintball series.
tl;dr - I spout some incomprehensible gibberish. Seems to be closer to stream of consciousness than coherent blog post.
The long version:
Today I found out about a six event scenario paintball series taking place in the UK in 2011, called the Super 6 (or possibly Super6, they have some inconsistent branding).
It's quite nice to see something new in paintball in the UK, rather than how I remember it being. Sites who wouldn't look twice at walk-ons, and didn't give a rats arse about turning customers into repeat customers, and a tourney scene which was, to be brutally honest, 99% populated by people who turned it into a big circle-jerk of a "we're a real sport" echo chamber.
Two things there, it's been quite a while since I was last on a paintball site, so I imagine that site owners are now all trying much harder to get the repeat business (hellooooo recession), and yes, I am well aware that I was one of those echo-chamber circle-jerkers at one point. Hell, I even had a part in one of the submissions to UKSport, trying to get paintball recognised as a real sport, and not just weekend pastime.
Anyway, I digress. Walk-ons are the obvious next step for the "been to a site as a punter three or four times now" paintballer, and that is an intermediary step to tournament play. No walk-ons, a lot less tournament ballers. Yes, plenty of people try a tournament, get annoyed with paying for six lots of thirty seconds of running then being shot to shit, and the amount of dickheads around and decide to stick with woodsball/scenario games, and that's fine by me, I'm no longer the tournament-balling snob that I used to be. And yes, plenty of people involved in the paintball industry would be very glad to get rid of the tourney tarts in their dayglo "uniforms", who demand sponsorship and support, and pay a hell of a lot less than the walk-ons and the punters. But like nature, a healthy ecosystem should have many different levels and plenty of variety.
Anyway, it seems in recent years, while I've been away, there has been something of a surge in popularity of the scenario game, in a nutshell, a day, or whole weekend event, taking over an entire paintball site, and themed on some grand story, often "close enough to have familiar elements, but not close enough to be sued" to things like Lord of the Rings, Stargate, and Dr Who, as well as the usual historic battle/war story, either historic, or futuristic and sci-fi. Mmmm, blasting alien life forms.
I've heard some good things about the various scenario games, and to see four very experienced names in UK paintball get together to sort out a quality series has got me wondering about the logistics of attending the events.
Things like free tech classes, free air safety training (five thousand PSI can be dangerous, who knew?), standardised rules across all six events, the promise of quality catering that isn't a rip off, a consistent team of head marshalls, and free tech support all sound fantastic, and are definitely steps in the right direction. Progress.
On the other hand, proving that plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose still applies today as much as it ever did (wait, what? ;-p ), there will be... *drumroll*....the Super6 girls
"At each leg of the Super6 series there will be two of our Super6 pit girls just to add some glamour to the events. They will help with the prize giving and be available all day to chat to and have your picture taken with."
Am I being at all harsh in saying "Oh, do grow up"? I mean, Formula 1 still has tarts in skimpy, tight clothes* on the grid, just to hold a board with a number on it, and they seem to be doing alright. Should we even care about the few and far between female paintballers? Why do we want to make things open and welcoming for them as well? And how about gay paintballers? Should there be some hunky men for the women and gays to ogle, and maybe even talk to?
*Skimpyness and tightness of clothing may vary depending on your proximity to the Middle East.
I'm guessing that the demographic for scenario paintballer is probably pretty weighted towards "single" and "male". I do wonder about the part of that which says "available all day to chat to" though. I'm guessing that if chatting to the luscious ladies was something that these fellas could manage, they'd be spending more time doing that, and less time done up in cammies, up to their knees in mud...
Trust me, I'm the expert on that; one night in the student's union, when a mate and I were in our paintball club tops, and I was asked "What's paintball all about then?" my response was "We run around in the woods all day shooting people."
Smooooooth. And most definitely sleeping alone that night ;-)