Thursday, December 25, 2008
How many paintballers have gone down this path?
- No money so I am unable to play in this tournament
- No money so I am unable to commit for the whole season
- No money so I am unable to play regularly
- No money so I cannot buy paintball gear and sponsored gears no matter how good the offer is
- No money so I am retiring from paintball
You have survived...you still eat, you still sleep, you still play paintball once in a while...
But really, this is pretty sad for paintball. Yes, no doubt, you will need to have dough when it comes to playing paintball but surely with some planning, things will not be that tough. We have all gone down that path knowing that money doesnt grow on trees and you will need to save up for the game, in fact for everything that you do and love. I have gone down the path of not being able to draw money from the ATM simply because there was too little credit left, I have gone down the path where my teammates told me that they are sitting out and not playing in the next tournament. But seriously it is something that you will have to manage and overcome. For a start, playing paintball is not really cheap but surely not expensive to the point where you have to give up completely for something you love.
A professor once told me, it will be so sad to hear from a child that his family is unable to see him through school because they have no money for the child's education. Well, in some ways, I compare this to paintball. From my previous line in education, I have times and times told this to many graduates that if money is a problem for them to further their studies, then it is not a problem.
The solution is simple. Save up, work for it. Giving up is so so loser...
I was once very close to scolding a teammate of mine for his non-committment to paintball when he told me that he doesnt have enough money for paintball. Well, to some extend, I feel for him. But on another hand, I was angry at him for not saving up when he jolly well know that we are going for tournament next month. But what can I do? People have different priorities and paintball is not everything.
But if its a committment, then see it through...plan for it. Dont commit and disrupt the plan when everyone know that they are competing next month. Its like the Boston Celtics saying that they can no longer play in the NBA because they have no money. You just got to find the dough! Its not an excuse, its not a reason, its simply a calling that you know you have to fulfil.
If you are in my shoes and I remarked "I dont have money for tournament or gear" Honestly, what do you expect me to do? Feel sorry? pay for you? help you? lend you money?
Believe me, when I first started playing paintball, I have been through all these... paying people to play in tournament. No way am I going to do that anymore, yes it was tough on my pocket. But its not substainable...
In conclusion: Save up and fulfil your committment. Simple.
Friday, December 19, 2008
It is quite irony as I was chatting away with a friend from Penang about loyalty in paintball. I have seen people who displayed loyalty in paintball, I have seen loyalty being displayed over my short experience with paintball. But nothing beats me to think about loyalty so hard today.
Somebody once told me "Your loyalty will not last long..." Well, my reply was simple "I have come so far to be loyal to people in paintball... and I am doing fine, so let's stay that way" BULLSHIT! There is no loyalty in paintball! Why? People are always out to get the best deal, so SHOO emotions, SHOO loyalty. Its all bullshit!
I have heard stories...many stories. Stories that I dont like to hear, stories that make you look at someone from a different angle. Someone who doesn't care about loyalty. I was naive, very naive. Yes, the feeling of being betray is no good. But THINK THINK THINK! Dont just commit without thinking!
For all those out there who preaches loyalty like I do. Let's stay that way....for as long as we can. For those who are unloyal to people...or doesn't regard loyalty, just watch your steps. Words go around, so just be very careful. Paintball is a small world, its a small industry.
Treat everyone equally, treat everyone with respect, treat everyone with loyalty!
1) This can happen anywhere in paintball, from teams going against one another to paintball field operators fighting the shit out of one another to offer the best paintball rates. Reduction in prices and VIOLA a price war is created. Who will reap the benefits whenever there is a price war? Surely the end consumers... I am not a business student, I have never been taught any lessons on business but surely I do understand the meaning of using quantity to overcome the lower earnings (I am sure there is a term to this). In simple terms, it means selling things cheap but make higher sales. A good strategy. In return, you make more money by getting loads of customers and everyone is out there to get the best deals. Can this really work? Yes, if there is more demand than supply.
But price war is never good. You can never win with a price war...nobody wins from a price war, not even consumers (well at least for paintball in Singapore). Why? Simple. Land cost in Singapore is hefty, land don't come cheap. Field owners need to earn some dough to pay for rental. There is only a handful of paintballers in town thus little demand. And soon, fields that are unable to last will throw in the towel and call it quits. Near to Singapore, we have the most classic example, how many paintball fields are there in JB? When I first started playing paintball, there was none. Now? We have so many fields, just JB alone. The pie is small, shared it with all and you might end up with peanuts. Can you make a living if you are only paid with peanuts? Well, yes...you can, surely for the first year...2nd year? 3rd year? make a living out of this? Hmmmm....let me consider again.
In my first Penang MPOC, there were only 2 paintball fields. One is ran by Mr. H and the other is by Mr. S. Only 2...now? Correct me if I am wrong...but I think there are 8! 6 more new fields in a short span of 1 year? So who can last longer? We'll see...
I was talking to Arthur Chang from Taiwan who frequents LA. He told me that more and more fields are folding in the states, simply because there are lesser players out there. Which leads me to my second point.
2) Look at yourself, look around you... after picking up paintball for quite a while, where are you now? It is like making a self assessment of yourself in the organization that you have worked for after spending 5 years there. What have I achieved? Where am I going? Have I improved? The same goes for playing paintball. Where are you now?
Okay, let's do a recap. You were introduced to paintball by so and so (most probably a friend who wanted to do some shooting over a weekend) and you were hooked to the game after playing once. You called yourself a noob and go onto the internet to find ways to improve your game, check out the new gears, come up with a wishlists of the things you want to buy. You go to your local field to find like minded people, people whom you called noob and start forming a noob team. You find time to practice, you find time to get yourself involved in the game, you play more and more. You get yourself into the politics of paintball (though you never meant to start it that way but you are somehow always trapped by oncoming news). So you took part in tournament and you started playing competitively. After you have done all that, you try to look back and look around you. And you realised something:
a) First, those who are already playing paintball are already playing paintball. If you have been playing long enough, those who were there when you first started playing are still playing paintball.
b) There are lesser people picking up paintball. I am saying this because you hardly see any new teams or newcomers playing or competing. Well, once in a while, you will see some...but the process of forming one is slow and thus you don't see many new start ups.
So what has this got to do with paintball politics? It does...especially in Singapore paintball. Why? Here's why... I was told by my teammates that I am an outright farmer. A farmer who farms seeds (setting the interest of paintball to newcomers) but never be able to harvest the fruits (teams that are ready for the bigger show). It truely makes sense. From not knowing how to play paintball, to playing paintball competitively... we are only involved in the building process. Its like a bird will always be with the mother bird until they learn how to fly...that is the situation of Singapore paintball. And it is with this...that we will need to find time to refine if tournament paintball is the way to go. A farmer that doesnt harvest fruits...hmmmm. Not a very good investment. Is this the reason why there are many paintball fields in JB? Maybe...maybe not. But I am sure...some will contribute to make the war stronger there. Politics...well yes.
So field owners from around the world...Is it important to focus on the harvesting and not on planting seeds? The answer is no. It is a cycle that never ends. You just have to get more people to play paintball. Don't stop because the minute you stop doing that...you will be out of business soon. Its a cycle so remember.
I have recently received an unknown letter from an unknown individual...Never write any name on the letter, even took his time and effort to type our address on the envelope before sending us the letter. Well, its not the first time that we have received letters from someone who dares to send but never dares to identify. Perhaps staying in the dark is better. The first letter was addressed to a higher authority to complain about my team. Seems funny...but the cat is always out of the bag. We know who you are... so take care bro. The second letter was aiming at our MARK policy. Seems funny that someone would want to address a complain on the MARK policy (surely not from the players), so who's left? Hmmm....food for thoughts. Politics? Surely its funny that instead of working together, someone wants to ruin other people's plan. Heard of the word consortium? Bundle of sticks are harder to break.
I know I shouldn't be saying this....but paintball is all revolved around politics. NPPL vs PSP, MPOC vs NPL, ISSC vs World Cup, etc. See what I mean....? At the end of the day, there is only so much in the pie, not everyone gets a bite on the strawberry. But what about eating half of the strawberries than not eating one?
Met the nicest people from the Taiwan paintball scene with superb company, a superb tournament and superb hospitality. The photographs from the previous entry says it all, a wonderful weekend. Spent most of the time travelling from KL to Taipei, from Taipei to Taichung, from Taichung to Kao Hsiung, travel travel travel...but hey, I am not complaining simply because the travelling group was fun to be with. Khaine from Team Ku always got something up his sleeves...talking about girls, looking at girls, admiring about girls. Look at those roaming eyes!!! Team Ku is no stranger to the regional tournament scene, a regular of the PALS series, a regular of the World Cup events, we have seen them in action, we have greeted them during events but this is the closest we got to them since knowing them.
As Dye sponsored teams, Red Sevens and Ku is somewhat similar in some ways: 1) we have "ang mo" playing in our team, 2) we have a female player in the team (Elle and Michiko), 3) we are always short of people to play. But when it comes to paintball skills, we are no where near them. But that's besides the point, the point is....through this tournament, we have foster an excellent relationship with one another. It does help that we have very good friends in Taiwan who were able to bridge our language barrier.
Allow me to introduce our 3 "foreign imports" of the tournament:
1) Arthur Chang - Just 3 letters to describe this guy, "ABC". Looks chinese, speaks chinese...but when you hear him speaks English, you know he is an American, strong accent. Wonderful guy who hosted Ku and us at his place, cooked (well his maids actually...) us nice porkchops, bought us nice bubble tea and helped us to oversee lots of logistics and adminstrative issues both on and off the field. If there is one thing that we have learnt from this trip, it will be adopting Arthur's ability to plan for game strategies and game lineup. Can you imagine waking up at 5 am to type the team's lineup so that everyone is aware of when they are playing? For that...you get an "A" grade.
2) Fonjen - Pronounced as "Kite" in mandarin. Initially, I thought what a good nick... but it turns out that "Kite" is his real name. So lame... Anyway, this is the second time I have seen this guy. The first time was from the Ollie Lang clinic in Taiwan. If I can remember correctly, I did not speak to him back then...but hell I should! This is one of the most approachable guy... Talk to him about anything in the world and he will surely share his own personal views. But that is not the most amazing this about this guy... when I attended Gary Shows Hybrid Paintball Clinic 2 years ago, there is this famous saying from him "Always have 2 of everything when you are competing" The idea is to always have a spare equipment, just in case the primary one is faulty or having what we always call "a paintball period", one minute it is working and the next minute it goes faulty.
Fonjen not only has 2 of everything...he has TONS of everything. When I mean by that, this is just a list of things he brought to APIT: 10 squeeges, 5 markers, 7 HPA tanks, 2 harnesses, 70 pods. That's basically the equipment needed for a 5 man team! But that is just the beginning, he has in total more than 40 over markers and 80 over barrels...He is the army!
3) Pony - Dubbed as one of the best front player in Taiwan. Pony plays for Team Shocker in Taiwan. When I first heard that Pony will be playing with us, I was very excited because the last time I saw him snapshoot, it was thinking "Does he ever gets tired?". At the age of 37, Pony doesnt look anywhere near his age...fast he can be, versatile he is... I was playing his back during the tourney and in all the games that we played, I will surely asked him at the starting frame "Pony, where are you going?"...and he always reply..."It depends". Can you imagine backing someone who has no intended direction? That's how versatile he is...one minute, he is playing as a back player, and the next, you will see him in the dorito... it was a challenge for me to play his back as I am always on a lookout of where he is. Pony gave me his Shocker jersey at the end of the tourney...it was a good gesture and I certainly look forward to playing with him again.
So there you go, 3 of our "foreign imports"... Respect!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
From left to right: Arthur Chang, Fonjen, Elle, Calgar, Pony, Arthur Chan and King
Our arsenal which include DM7, M7, Mini Invert and Shocker.
Opening ceremony of APIT 2008
Tournament Field, 47 bunkers, right smack in the middle of highrise flats
Red Sevens with Team Ku during the training session
Head Referee for the Millenium, Ulrich giving his pointers to the Taiwanese referees
Main stage of Asian Paintball Invitational Tournament (APIT)
Monday, December 8, 2008
When Dean Apcar from UK Medway Halloween was in town last October, he introduced to us how a dorito player should behaved while playing the dorito bunker. Those who were at Red Dynasty definitely went home learning a trick or two. Dean's team was sitting on the Millenium Series 4th position in the Division 3 M5, so surely he knows what he is talking about.
This time, we managed to invite Matthew Nekvapil from Malaysia. Matthew started playing paintball in 2000 and has since represented McEffect, El Bandito and the Xtioneers. He is currently playing for Team Demonz who is also the current MPOC Division 1 Champion. Matthew is also part of the Asia contingent which represented Asia in the InterContinental Cup in Toulouse, France.
This 3 hour paintball clinic was attended by more than 20 participants from all playing levels. Areas that were covered includes shooting posture, sliding (yes...how can we missed out on the superman slide), shooting while running, etc. Surely, there was a lot to learn...information overloading some said. And to put all the techniques into good practices, participants were treated with some skirmish games. Surely can't ask for more for a free clinic... and to top off the good deal, some if not all participants were treated with complimentary paintballs!!!
Where do you find such good deals? One sentence to sum up his first meeting with the local community, Matthew said: "Lots of potential...."
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
So what does this mean? Good or bad? One of the biggest paintball league in US is seeing the crunch of the economic crisis. One thing for sure, those guys holding onto the NPPL video game, you got a piece of history there. It might not be that bad for paintball...as paintball as a whole in the US is either the PSP or the NPPL. With NPPL beating the retreating drums, this might create a whole outlook for paintball. A merger perhaps. Something that keeps people talking but never happen in reality. So a merger is possible. This means to say....its Xball style from now on. Hehhehe...exciting to watch, more people can be involved. One style across the world. That's good for paintball as a sport. And right...world domination....You can't have too many different rules running the same game right?
How does it affect us in Asia? Surely, to see the fall of one paintball giant cannot be good for anyone. Lesser paintball awareness maybe...more people wanting to play but lesser avenue for them to play competitively. Surely no more Huntington Beach...I have this weird feeling that something might be revived. Fingers crossed. To think that I was thinking of going to Huntington next year...sob.
With PSP and Millenium working so closely...and the Intercontinental Cup for the World. It all depends on how these people (paintball gaints) want to take paintball to the next level. As the saying goes "If the old one doesn't go, the new one will never come" So it might not be that bad afterall. One thing for sure...there will be no NPPL Paintball Championship 2010.
Let's wait and see...
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
First in the world...that's how I call it. Paintballers from across the world. Let me introduce to you the world first paintball course for any beginners, newbies, noobies (whatever you call people who just started playing paintball) "Basic Tournament Orientation (BTO)". So what is this BTO? What is so special about the BTO? How is the BTO important to paintball in Singapore? Okay...here's the full picture of the BTO.
I am writing this and sharing the BTO...so that people from across the world will have a feel of how difficult is it for us (Singaporeans) to play paintball in Singapore. So you should be glad that you are driving 3 hours to the nearest paintball field for your usual practice on a sunny weekend. Its tougher out here...
The BTO as the name imply is also an orientation course for beginners to know about the importance of paintball safety. There is a regulation that is set by the local authorities and that is for all paintball centres in Singapore to have center dividing barrier when conducting any paintball games. This regulation is to ensure safety so that players do not get into physical contact with one another while playing the game. For the 2 years that I have played paintball....I have never gotten into any form of physical contact with any of my opponent except to shake their hands after a game to compliment them on the win or as a display of good sportsmanship. So it is almost impossible for any player to get into contact with your opponent while playing paintball...not unless you are playing elimination by touch (we saw that recently...hmmm, 3 kills, amazing). Thus, the rule of having a center dividing barrier to prevent physical contact does not justify its stand (to some extend...).
So in order to convince the authority that paintball is a safe sport (in fact, according to statistics, playing paintball is safer than playing golf or tennis, blar blar...I know some people will dispute this fact on the number of people playing paintball versus the number of golfers in the world....so based on distribution, this statistic is inaccurate...blar blar blar...I have heard this before, so lets move on), we will need to devise a way to determine who are the better players and who are the "not so good" players. Now, see this...(are you with me....?) most of the people have not heard of the word speedball...they have played paintball before...yes, but when it comes to playing speedball, it is usually their first time. So how then can we differentiate players who have gone through 5 sessions of paintball versus the guy who have just picked up a paintball marker because his neighbour introduced him to the game this morning. No way!!...are we able to differentiate that...but we can identify a player who understand more about paintball safety as compared to a total noobie...For example, putting on the barrel socks after the game and not removing the mask before he moves out and into the safety zone. Thus, the BTO is in fact an orientation to allow players to understand about paintball safety. TRUE?
And if a player understand safety...he is thus a better player (well in terms of safety), so he will be more aware of not coming into physical contact with his opponents (although this doesnt really happen during games). So a group of us...with the assistance from the people in Paintball Association (Singapore), PBAS, came up with the BTO! Viola! A test to determine if a player is "educated" in the game of speedball, well at least the rules of speedball and paintball safety...
The BTO is a test to determine if a player is competent to play without the center divider. And if he passed the test, he is then registered with PBAS as a registered player and thus to be allow to play without the center divider and play in paintball tournament in Singapore, in this case, Singapore's only paintball tournament, the Singapore Paintball Novice Series (SPNS). The BTO is comprised of 2 parts: 1) Theory 2) Practical. The theory part of the BTO is actually an hour lecture informing participants about the rules and regulation of speedball, the do's and don't's. E.g. What do you do when you are hit? Self check, hands on the head, walk out off the field through the shortest path to the deadbox. No talking behind the deadbox...and the list goes on. The practical part of the BTO (which is the more exciting part) is two game time experience in which we will test on situation awareness of the players, their ability to comprehend competition rules and their awareness on paintball safety. For this part of the BTO, there is a 20 points demerit system. If a player accumulates up to 20 demerit points, he fails the test and thus is not allow to play without the center line. An example of an immediate failure is when a player removes his masks after the call for "GAME OVER"...its game over for him too. For the records, we have failed one participant of the BTO so far...
We have recently made a revision to the BTO. To make it more challenging and for us to single out people who are totally unfamilar with the rules, we have changed the 1 hour lecture to a 50 multiple choice question written test. The test is set with 3 objectives in mind: Safety, Rules and Regulations and Situational Awareness. This has proven to be effective as we are able to identify participants who have zero knowledge about the game but is keen to take up paintball thus the ability to segregate players' competency.
Once you have passed the BTO, you are a registered tournament player in Singapore. Tough yeah?
You must be thinking....this is stupid...yes, I totally agree with you. I do...no doubt. But this is the closest we can get to playing paintball without a centre divider. Is this BTO effective? Oh yeah...field owners who are reading this...how many times have you shouted "PUT on the barrel socks!!!" or " Put that #$%^& mask ON!!!!" until you read about the BTO on this blog? And if you are keen to start this at your field for noobies who are keen to take up tournament paintball, trust me this is the way to go...to ensure safety. Can we do without the BTO? Perhaps....when paintball is an Olympic event and enough public awareness of the game. Yes. we can be like the rest of the other countries....But why not get your field, or country or association to follow what we are doing? Sounds stupid yes....but at least safety is ensure to some extend.
So to play speedball in Singapore....you need to get yourself BTO-ed. We have so far more than 150 BTO-ed players in Singapore...and counting...so its not that bad afterall.