by Baca Loco
Baca’s Rule of the Game #23: There are two kinds of cheaters in paintball, honest and dishonest. The majority of honest cheaters play out in the open where everyone can see and the bulk of the dishonest cheaters skulk around in the woods. There is a certain irony then in the fact it is the honest cheaters who are most often condemned. Usually and most vociferously by the “dishonest” cheaters. There is, however, a special corner of hell for the dishonest cheaters where Nine Inch Nails is the house band and they will be performing Broadway show tunes for eternity.
Either you’re nodding your head in agreement or else you’re resisting the urge to throw something (other than your computer) or else you’re itching to engage me involuntarily in an activity that is illegal in 37 states-–or maybe both. Of course a cheater is still a cheater whether done honestly or dishonestly. I’m not condoning one and condemning the other. Cheaters suck but it’s a fact of paintball life so you might as well get used to it. And the sooner you adjust your attitude the sooner you can get back to enjoying the game for what it is–-and not get crazy over what it isn’t.
This particular Monday morning a couple of things have conspired together to inspire this particular column. Yesterday we finished playing a national level paintball tournament (PSP’s MAO) and for the last couple of weeks I’ve read more antipathetic we’re-better-than-you comments online than I’ve seen in years. (Probably because I’ve been hanging out in the wrong kinds of places.) At the tournament the play was generally what it always is with different teams having different measures of satisfaction with the results. Serious teams tend to grade officiating over everything else while less serious teams are often more interested in the often hard to describe (but I know it when it happens) “experience.” Regardless of the level or the seriousness some players cheat. That is why there are referees.
Once upon a time, mostly when tourney ball was played in the woods, the great divide was between tourney and non-tourney paintball players with the tourney boys generally being the ones looking down their superior noses at their rec ball brethren. But all that faded a long time ago when the tourney kids left the woods. Apparently a different version has returned or else it was there all along and I just didn’t notice it, because, well, it was happening out in the woods. And who cared? Seems the rec world, the scenario superstars and honor-bound mil-sim warriors are the ones looking down their superior noses at the tourney kids these days. Okay, I’m not really that dumb. I wasn’t born yesterday so yes, I know, this anti-tourney attitude isn’t new but it seems different. Back in the day it was a self-defense mechanism in response to the arrogance of the tourney kids. Today it’s the rec kids arrogance for their supposed (presumed) (claimed) moral superiority. And the fact that it’s largely one-sided has let it go unchecked and unchallenged.
Back to Baca’s Rule #23. Honest and dishonest cheaters? Yep. The honest cheater acknowledges that they will (or do) cheat in some situations. And, yes, there are shades of gray even for most cheaters. The dishonest cheater denies all the day long to have ever even considered cheating. That makes the dishonest cheater a liar too. And when it comes to the holier-than-thou woods crew it puts them in the unenviable (and indefensible) position of demanding the next guy not do what they refuse to own up to. Now I’m not a big fan of cheaters but referees exist because cheating is impossible for plenty of players to resist whether they are between the nets of an Xball field or ducking behind the bole of a big oak tree.
Cheating will never disappear but a good first step might be for everyone to take a hard look in the mirror instead of pointing out the obvious failures of the next guy.