Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"Why are you doing this?"

Got a call from a parent yesterday evening. This parent wanted to know more about paintball as she has never heard of it, never seen it and never tasted it. She wanted to know more about the game as her child is bugging her to give him consent to play paintball at RD. As I explained to her what paintball is all about, tuck in that little corner of her mind, she started to do "selective listening". Just before I can go into the teambuilding portion of paintball....she asked me one question "Why are you doing this? This is so dangerous".

Excusez-moi madamoiselle... paintball has been around in Singapore for more than 8 years if this activity is harmful, I am sure we will not be operating, so...maybe its not so dangerous afterall. So I tried to explain to her that paintball is not just about shooting one another and seeing bruises all over your body (though I cant deny, that this could be a possibility). She eventually gave in...

What I am trying to say here is that paintball has created so litte awareness. I feel for this sport to grow, for this game to become mainstream... we cannot rely on just 1 or 2 people. We need more people to step up and let more people know about the game. In order to do that, we need to understand a certain "flow"...I am sharing this because I dont think everyone thinks the same way and thus with the "flow" will be important when it comes to educating paintball.

1) Let them understand the need to play paintball. You can start of by telling them the good things about playing it, for example good communication, team building, etc.

2) To balance their expectation, dont just tell them the good things, also let them know about the risks involved. E.g. bruising, bleeding, etc. Let them know the safety aspects of the game. Show them the big picture on how this game has developed over the years.

3) Recreational play. This is self experiential learning...you cant teach this. Let them go into the field and play on their own. Through self discovery, you will learn more things.

4) Teach them how to play, e.g. shooting posture, how to shoot cross, communication. Correct them on simple things such as tunnel vision, doing head checks. This is the most critical part. Usually, people who are keen to improve their game will be attentive when you pass this information to them. If you see the glitter in their eyes when you are telling them what to do. The next thing you know, this guy will come back for more.

5) Next is to let them know about the cost of playing this game. 80% of the people I met (totally new to paintball), tell me that paintball is an expensive sport. I think I have said this many times on this blog but for the effort of "educating" more people, I thought perhaps, I will say this one more time. Paintball is can be an inexpensive sport but it all depends on how you play it (just ask me). Truely, paintball gears are expensive. This game is not soccer, basketball, netball....all you need is most probably a ball. A good comparison will be bowling (Thanks Tom). To bowl, you need to get your bowling ball, you need to get a good pair of shoes, you need to get a hand guard, you need a bowling bag, a piece of nice cloth. Once you get all the equipment to be a better bowler...you still need to pay for the lane fee, bear in mind that the lane fee is still the same price before you bought all your bowling equipment. I find similarity in this lane fee as compared to paintballs. So is paintball expensive? Yes and no.

6) Speedball - And the rest is history. Formation of teams, competitions, blar blar blar...

So why are we doing this? For the love of the game I guess. Be proud to let people know that you are playing paintball...often we are so embarrass about it... but you will be embarrassed if misconceptions are set upon this very people who ask you: "Do you play sports?" There it goes again...same old shit again...