Name That Cheater

bacalogoby 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.

16 thoughts on “Name That Cheater

  1. Team Gat cheated like crazy and made pumps look bad with their obvious walkie talkies and earpieces at the WTL and UWL recently. Ask anyone who was standing next to their “people” on the sidelines.. It was so sad they were proud of themselves and everyone knew what they did. The promoters should have been on top of that. Hopefully the leagues will outlaw radios cause these guys didnt care who saw their dead guys talk on the microphones and talk from sidelines.

  2. Good thing us pumpers just dont cheat… makes it very simple.

    …btw, Baca, be quiet… I wasnt playing pump back then :P

  3. While the formats do differ, the players themselves aren’t always as different as you think. The mil-sim team who plays the occasional speedball to help develop teamwork skills. The speedball tournament team that unwinds after a successful tournament by playing at the local scenario game. The woodsball players who enjoy entering a tournament or two a year. Any experienced player who’s willing to grab a rental when their younger cousin wants to have a rental birthday party. This should always be encouraged. It can someone a more capable player, and definitely a better person.

  4. Maybe we are defining “treating” differently and maybe I shouldn’t have used the word at all. All players should be treated with respect. Yes. As a field owner, I would be foolish to think differently. However, I would never subject players that play only ocassionally to the same types of conditions that tournament players would expect to take part in. I would “treat” renters for instance much more gently and carefully than I would hardened tourney players. Fields that cater to all types of players and treat everyone alike are hurting the industry, in my opinion.

    Hardcore milsim players don’t want to be treated like ocassional woodsball players. Renters and the players wanting to blow off a little steam twice a year with their buddies don’t want the same thing that four-times-a-month speedball players want. It’s a necessity to “treat” them differently. Everything about them is different except for the fact that they are all holding a marker tha shoots .68 caliber goo filled gelatin spheres.

    You can focus on the similarities if you want, but I’ll continue to notice the differences and cater to each genre as needed (actually I’ll continue to cater to mainly just the one genre). I’m not going to lump them all together and treat them all the same just because there are SOME similarities.

  5. Ah, that’s the thing, everyone should be “treated” alike. A player should never receive preferential treatment just because he showed up dressed in a certain way, or carried a certain type of gun. I’ve seen such treatment at a few local fields (one of which is out of business now).

  6. What you say makes sense Fubar, although I don’t totally agree with promoting elitism. Elitism arises from individual thinking, I believe. I take part in one type of paintball and therefore it is my favourite, but i don’t think of it as being elite. It’s just my favourite. But I do understand that many individuals do consider their genre better than others. There are always going to be those that think they are better than everyone else and by extension, thier favourite genre is better than the others.

    I guess I look at it from a different viewpoint because I’m a fieldowner that believes in specialization at paintball fields. I focus on one main genre of paintball so that I can provide that genre the best possible product. I understand that the genre I focus on is different from the othe genres and adapt my business to suit those differences. I think part of the problems the industry is having, is created by trying to lump all genres together and trying to convince everyone that they are the same. They are not ,and from the viewpoint of a fieldowner, I think we are doing ourselves a disservice by lumping everyone together and trying to treat everyone alike.

    Sorry to keep things off topic. Back on topic, we should treat all cheaters the same and shun them all. ; )

  7. When you focus only on the differences, and ignore the commonalities, you end up promoting elitism. You get one group thinking they’re “better”, or that players in another group aren’t “real paintballers”. The game has way too much of this. You also cause people to think they have to choose one style over another. That’s just silly. Play any style you want, don’t play any style you don’t want. Just always remember that “all of the above” is a valid choice. Luckily the “all of the above” attitude seems to be growing, at least around me if the last scenario game was any indication.

  8. Maybe I want to appear more important than I am, but there are lots of differences between various genres of paintballers. Sure, they are all playing paintball, but so what? Are there similarities? Of course. Are most of the players in all genres nice guys? Sure.

    However, in general, renters are nothing like tourney players. There are big differences between twice a year local woodsballers and hardcore milsim paintballers. Why do we have to think all paintball genres are the same? What is the advantage of that? Why say it or think it, when it’s obviously not the case?

  9. What can I say. Recballers, tournyballers, woodsballers, speedballers, mil-sim’ers, or renters. I’ve played against all of them. I’ve played along side all of them, I’ve played as all of them. All the same. All paintballers. All equal. Anyone claiming otherwise is just trying to make themselves appear more important than they are.

  10. You ain’t getting any controversy with the tired old “whine, whine, THEY are saying something bad about US”.

    Especially since there is no “they” or “us”. Tournament paintballers don’t exist. Recreational paintballers don’t exist. There are just paintballers. All equal, all surprisingly the same.

  11. Well, yes, Reiner, there is a list of those rules. Sort of. It’s just that the number of rules doesn’t correspond to the numbers attached to the specific rules. All the rules can be searched at

    What lengths do I have to go to in order to generate some controversy? :)

  12. Gosh darn Baca. I wish I could disagree a bunch with you and start a heated debate about who cheats more, but I happen to not disagree with you a whole lot. I do feel when there is more at stake (hundreds or thousands of dollars for instance), the urge to win at all costs (and if that means cheating then so beit) becomes greater. But as far as cheating in paintball, it happens everywhere (well except pump players – we never cheat). ; )

    By the way, have you got a list of those rules (other than #23)? Or do you just make up the numbers as you go along?

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