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The Cost Of Progress. More rants and raves of an old school player.
July 26, 2002

The Cost Of Progress.
More rants and raves of an old school player.

There has been a good deal of discussion lately within the pump playing paintball community about attitude, outlook and technology. With the many and varying views on these topics thought it was time for a bit of perspective.

First a bit on true stock class:

As most of you know, the Very first paintball game was played in 1981 in Henniker, New Hampshire. Nine players plunked down $175 1981 dollars each which covered the cost of their nelspot 007's, and all the necessities, including food. The game was conceived several years earlier , as a way to recreate the thrill of hunting and the challenge of competition all in one package. The primary motivation was a test of ones skills, included in the original nine players were people from very different professions and lifestyles. Doctors, Veterans, journalists, contractors, farmers, foresters, were suddenly all on equal footing, using identical paintball guns, relying on their wits not their equipment. This is the true spirit of stock class. The thrill is not on how much you've spent on your gear, or who's got the coolest outfit, its a mental and physical challenge and a test of ones inner mettle. Bragging rights go to the victor, because he/she has out maneuvered, out smarted, and out played their opponents, a worthy accomplishment and a true test of ones inner self.

Today, stock class is much different. Its a team game, the equipment is higher technology and there are advantages as a result. A well executed game can be just as rewarding, as chances are, even if you've got the latest in stock class technology, your opponents have equivalent gear. it still takes skill and its still a test of ones inner self, albeit much different than the original game, but the spirit is the same, and that's the important part.

So if you want to bicker about strict rules and "true" stock class, go right ahead, but lest we forget, if the teams don't all have IDENTICAL equipment, the players equipped exactly the same, your playing a modified version of stock class. Those differences can make you an instant hypocrite, so think carefully before speaking..

Attitude and outlook:

Okay, so you play stock class, super stock, or even direct feed pump against 12 ball per second semi's all the time. This either makes you extremely competitive, or extremely dumb. After all you don't bring a knife to a gun fight (remember Indiana Jones?) and maybe you even do well. Does this give you the right to be a bit cocky and brag about it? ABSOLUTELY!!! You've just out maneuvered an opponent with a huge advantage, your dam straight you have a right to feel good about it!! BUT, BE A GOOD SPORT AS WELL!! If you forget that the sport is based upon Honor and sportsmanship, you will not be respected, your heroic deeds will be resented instead of appreciated, and you'll just annoy everyone. So talk all the smack you want, but when the games over , go over and congratulate your competition for putting up a brave fight, and thank them for a game well played! You have chosen to play a game where your at a distinct disadvantage, you'll get comments made about that, people wont understand it, and they might even put you down because of it. But in the end, you'll earn the respect you deserve by your actions, not by how much you spent on your gear. Rise above it, play the game, and leave the field with a smile on your face, the respect of your peers, no matter who wins.. You do not instantly get the right to be an idiot because of the type of game you play (although some may differ), treat your opponent with respect and you'll get the same back.

Technology:

Technology is a good thing, I say embrace it. But lets face it, if your a purist, technology isn't a factor, after all, your playing with a true stock class paintball gun (see paragraph 1 if your confused.) Your using your wits and skills, not your equipment for an advantage, no easy task. but if you play modified stock class or direct feed pump , then technology can be your best friend. You use it to improve your equipment, give you an edge by having a straighter shooting, more efficient marker. But guess what? You've just crossed the boundary between stock class and super stock, or modified pump class. Your now playing a different game, just as exciting and just as challenging, but very different. Since playing a true stock class game is almost impossible these days, the majority of pumpers fall into this category. So before you go bashing someone for spending $1500 on an electro, remember, you've updated your equipment as well. The results are different, but the goal can be the same. Your both trying to make yourselves better players by getting better equipment. It doesn't always work, the key ingredient is always the player over the gear, but it can help. Its the motive that differentiates us. IF you think you'll instantly be an awesome player because of how much you spent, your better off putting your gear away and going to the country club where image is everything. If you want an edge to help improve your playing skills, then get yourself the best tools you can, and go out and have a blast. Pump technology is lacking at best, but when new ideas and products come along, at least make a fair and reasonable assessment of them. Bashing these new products is destructive to our sport, we should be thanking them for offering such things is such a limited market. People are resistant to change, but with out change, our sport will wither and die an ugly death. If you don't like it, don't buy it, but still be a sportsman about it!

In the end, all these things are included in the cost of progress. We want our type of paintball to flourish and gain new popularity, but at the same time we cling to the past and resent forward thinking. This is one case where we cant have our case and eat it too. Pump playing is making great strides and attaining new popularity, but were holding ourselves back at the same time. We're in the mist of a "new" stock class, one that's a bit more flexible and attractive to technology addicted players. One where they can have their gadgets and still hold true to the spirit of the original game of paintball. Not every stock player may like this, and some even try and "correct" it to their views, that's human nature. At the same time, things will never be as they were in that first game in 1981. So lets fight in the spirit of our game and worry less about the logistics. Encourage honor, sportsmanship, and fun, and let the rest take its course. well all be better off in the end for it...



- Maverick


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