Friday, December 19, 2008

Politics in paintball... so who's the winner eventually?

Politics...its everywhere. Go to work's there. Go to school today... it's there too. Go play sports... it's there waiting for you to be involved. One thing is clear, we can never eradicate politics. It is in our culture to have politics lurking around our lives. In paintball... there are MILLION if not ZILLION issue with politics...just to list some that you might have already experienced:

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, 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 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 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? 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?

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