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Written up by Tyger and posted in SpecOPS Paintball forums.

Regardless of how you feel, and because nothing is black and white - this a charming and well written point of view.

Woodsball™ Manifesto
By: Tyger

We are Woodsball™ players. We are the core of paintball. Over 90% of the players play paintball in the woods, and yet 90% of all in-paintball media coverage ignores us. We play not for prizes or money or fame, but for the passion of the game. We play because the challenge is there; every weekend, all around the world. We just need to show up and accept it.

We are not the pretty-boys of speedball. We are the anti-heroes of the mainstream. You won't see us on posters or in videos sliding into bunkers with names like "cans" or "snakes", and that's fine by us. The real game isn't spit shined, groomed and polished or made for TV. It's down and dirty, in the literal trenches. Our fields are not well maintained lawns; it's terrain that both teams overcome. We don't complain about sand or dirt or uneven fields, its part of the world we play in. Scratches and dings in our equipment are displayed with pride, and we can tell you where they happened, and how deep in the crud we were when we got it.

We are the roots of the game that have been abandoned by much of the mainstream industry. We don't throw aside where we've come from to make the game more palatable for an audience. If nobody sees what we do, it does not make the effort or result worth less. We drive through back roads to fields that nobody knows about but ourselves. We know we're there when we lose our favorite radio station and the cell phones won't work anymore. We play under the media radar with no reward other than bragging rights because we want to play. There are no prizes, no million dollar checks, but that makes neither our tenacity to win no less fierce nor our games less meaningful for us.

Our chosen uniform is camouflage, not because we want to be militaristic but because it works. We use our clothing as a part of our game, something that escapes many of the "firefight specialists" that play only arena games. The paintgun is only one tool of a well rounded player, not the only tool. We know this; as we use all the skills and tools we have every weekend.

Based only on our clothing, our gear, and our chosen locations of play, we are looked at as inferior players. We are told we would never stand a chance in a "real game" of paintball. We understand your arena game; yet you refuse to understand our woods game? We are not throwbacks to a long dead game. Yes, we are living history, but we have evolved. We honor our roots, but we do not abandon them to follow the next "promise" in paintball. Long after the "flavor of the month" arena game has worn out, we will be playing in the woods. To know the past is to control our future, and we embrace both.

We are told that we should abandon the woods, for the better good of "the future of the game". Our presence threatens those who never have, and probably never will, understand what the origins of paintball are. They think we will scare away the media by looking like "militia members". Not that fist fights and blatant cheating will attract any better media attention in their games. Not that terms like "Bounce Engineered" or "Ramping Technology" mean anything to the true roots of what paintball started as; what paintball should be. Are the arena players scared of us or ashamed because we remind them what they should be?

We are woodsball™ players. Any given weekend we'll be playing our game with a grasp on the past and an eye on our future. Players that don't understand will come and go, we know this. They can play under the bright lights in front of audiences and pretend to be rock stars all they want. We'll be in the woods years after you retire, playing the game of paintball the way it always had been played; with honor, with integrity, and with friends. All 90% of us.

© 2005 Panther Free Press

Open permission to print / distribute / repost on other personal web pages as long as this disclaimer, my web site and my name remain attached to the text. "Share and Enjoy" Any use of this article in a paid media (Magazines, paid or sponsored e-zines / paintball field pieriodicals or newsletters, and so on) is permitted ONLY if permission is given first from the author.
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