This is an interesting issue that is not solely in Paintball.. but seems to be so much more malicious in our sport. An interesting post about this on the RIOT brought the issue to the forefront of my mind and I can’t help but voice my opinion on the matter.
To give a brief synopsis of the situation I am referencing; on pbRIOT HeDidIt made a post about a young kid, 13 years or so that went out to the field with a brand spanking new Ego 11. He had it, he didn’t brag about it or try to show off and make a fool of himself. He kept to his own (not the most talented paintball player) but he was not once immature, or arrogant about his gear.
Regardless of him handling himself like an adult at 13, many people at the field filled with angst, or envy, or whatever it was that drove them. Took it upon themselves to decimate this kid every chance that they got. I don’t mean just focusing all of their attention on getting him out, but doing things like bonus balling and just making sure that his time at the field was about as miserable as they could possibly make it. Luckily, HeDidIt ended up getting the refs involved (like a true sentinel of paintball, protect the future!) and got these jerks off of his field so everyone could enjoy the rest of their day.
All this, because they felt like this kid did not deserve what he was shooting his paint with.
The thing is, not only is the entire premise of that mentality so absurd that it makes me wonder what some people go to even play paintball for, but he in fact did deserve and earn his marker.
This kid was told at the beginning of the school year that if he made Honors for the entire year, he could have whatever he wanted (this turned out to be an Ego 11). At the end of the school year when he made honors, he was successfully upgraded from a 98C to an Ego 11.
So, I look to you, the community. What are your thoughts? What would you do if you saw a situation like this? Have you been a part of something similar? Have you been the bully before and why?
I know that just over 2 years ago I was the guy who came to the field for the first time with all brand new gear and a Geo+ in hand. I was the tool who couldn’t really play but had extremely expensive gear in hand. I was respectful, willing to learn, and went out to have a good time. Luckily no one at Blitz Paintball gave me a hard time, but it bothers me that anyone would do this. Our sport is still growing and we should be helping it grow rather than tearing down those that keep us all balling. We are all in this together, and we should represent ourselves and our sport with the highest respect.
If we don’t take ourselves seriously, who will?
If you are interested, head on over to the discussion on pbRIOT.com and give us all your two cents!