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dutchman 05-01-2018 08:05 AM

Active players in Maine???
Hi folks, I'm trying to figure out if we're done and I should close my field or if I've just lost contact with hundreds of players that are still out there going. I've run my field since 1987. The last 10 years or so it's been really slow. So I thought I'd boost our Facebook presents, no results. Last week I did a search on here for players in Maine. I got back about 40. I know there are more but they didn't post a location so the search didn't pick them up. Out of the 40 I went through and checked and found out only 13 had on the site in the last 2 years. I sent a short PM to the 13 and only one gentleman responded, he only plays one game a year. I'm sure in the paintball hot spots everything is going well. But I'm trying to find out if it's dead in Maine or if it can be brought back.

I've got a full schedule of events this season, but they won't work if all we have left is "paper tigers". Once a season doesn't build anything. Where are the guys that hit the field 6-8 times a season??

So if you're a Maine player that gets out to ANY field more then once or twice a season check in. I could use a moral boost at this point. I hate to think I wasted 33 years of my life to try to keep paintball going. :bang:

punkncat 05-01-2018 09:01 AM

Not that I am any help...I live in GA, but sure wish I could. I recall in the paintball heydays that there were quite a few fields around ME. I played at a place called Crossfire that was amazing, now long gone, and there was another field up by Rangely that I am sure has been gone too.

I feel your "pain" as it were. The local field that I like to play has been on life support for years. I reached out every way I know and Facebook was the only thing that had any effect at all on turnout and even at that was unreliable at best. A whole lot of "I'll be there" followed up by being at the field with two other people.

I don't know if I would go so far as to call all that time a waste. You were doing what you are passionate for. IDK what the future will hold for paintball as a you say, there have to be some hot spots for the sport, but even around here as populated as Atlanta is, finding a good place to play holds challenges, or drive time. Perhaps you cultivate your "2nd" job for a while, keep some feelers out and see what happens.

Best of luck to you.

dutchman 05-01-2018 09:30 AM

Thanks, Punkncat. I ran a poll on my facebook page. I asked if players would be willing to do a "paintball gangfight" That's an old term and nothing to be scared of. But what it would be is two fields working together. I would rally as many people as I could to go to the other field. My "team" would stay together and take on the home field players in a big format play style. Then in 4-5 weeks that field would bring their guys to my place to play. Basically an exchange program. But you get to play for the honor of the field etc. 20 years ago they were lots of fun. But you need guys that will commit to 2 games in a season. Over 400 people saw the poll, 15 said they would play. These are people on my fields facebook page, so they should be players or were? To make this work I'd like to travel with 50 players. That means I likely need 100 to say they would go. So if I extend the ratio I need to get this in front of 3000 people. The drive isn't in the players anymore. I'm afraid we older players that saw it born and struggle and knew it could die and go away. I think we were better at caring for the sport. The new players don't have the "personal investment" in the sport, because it was here when they arrived. I'll give it another year, but if I don't see an upturn in the numbers I can go get a minimum wage job and make more then the field brings in.

BigReRe 05-01-2018 12:03 PM

That's a sad state of affairs.
I wish I could help. Hell, I'd drive up there myself if I could. But I suppose saying so doesn't help much either.

Try to look at it this way: For 33 years you ran a paintball field and did what you could for the sport. That's a good thing.
Good job. Honestly.

dutchman 05-01-2018 08:11 PM

Yeah, I think it's the new generation that has changed. I noticed the kids aren't as involved as before. We get school groups where kids come and play. Both High School and College. When they are here they have a great time. But they don't comeback on their own dime. So the sport is still fun, but the kids aren't as motivated as they were 10-20 years ago. Now in their defense they may not have jobs anymore. I would hire High School kids every summer to help but for 10 years I have a lot of trouble getting help. 4-5 years ago I called the guidance office at a local high school and asked them to let any of the kids looking for work know that I had job openings. The secretary said in just a bit of a snotty tone. "Oh you're one of those that thinks children should work in the summer" Yeah, things have changed. I worked from 13 on to get my own spending money moved out of the house at 18 and owned my own place free and clear by 25. I guess working didn't hurt me too much.

dutchman 05-02-2018 08:26 PM

Other possiblities
I've got about 12 big customers that generate 1/2 of the fields sales. Several of them are away games where the field isn't even needed. If I could cultivate another 8-10 of these type customer, I could close the field to the public and just do the big customers. Most of my labor is on rec play where I have to provide refs for groups that promise 10 but show up with 5. The Birthday groups I could still do as they are somewhat dependable and the bachelor party groups as well. The tourneys and scenarios I could do away with. They both require lots of prep and lots of labor to pull off.
I may just need to adjust my business model. I think this might be workable. If the rec player doesn't want to play, I may have to find a way to make a living without them???
This coming week, I've got to take one of the portable fields to a college for 4 hours of play. 120 miles of driving but I can run it with just one ref. Then on the weekend I have a longer trip of 230 miles to do a 150 player where they supply the refs. That will be a 18 hour day, but it will take another 18-20 hours to clean the gear and get ready to go again. But I can do that game by myself, so no labor other then me. I don't know, it's something to consider. Let me know what you think, I'm just thinking out load here kind of.

DirtyLoincloth 05-03-2018 02:37 AM

My wife's family lives in Portland and I really want to get out to play when we come out next. We stay at a lake house in Western Mass every year, and I really want to play PB out that way as well. LMK.

dutchman 05-03-2018 07:55 AM

If you do want to make the drive, we would enjoy having you. Call ahead and if it's a day were not open, we'll open for you as long as you give us a heads up. But Maine is a pretty big state, Portland is 150 miles away from me. So I'll understand if it's too far. But keep playing, if not here any field near you. We need to keep the sport going!

punkncat 05-03-2018 08:29 AM

^ Why don't you cut your labor and ref the "mobile" game yourself?

The local I was discussing hasn't had a regular ref staff in years. Often times we have a couple of guys that play/ref there that get pulled IF things get busy enough to need them. That proves a bit difficult if you don't have people willing....

For the groups that I bring to field, we ref ourselves, so to speak. It's very rare that we have need of an extra ref. It is of note that 95% of the players I come with are all 'old school' and very experienced....still doesn't mean I don't yell at them for masks and bags a few times a day.

JonnyDread 05-03-2018 09:27 AM

Dutchman I used to work in Greenville and would visit your field at least once a summer. I live in southern RI now, so it’s hard to get up that way often, but I have tried to make the trip whenever possible. I think Maine was hit pretty hard in the paintball recession and long driving distances aren’t helping. Do you offer any small caliber options? Rentals and parties seem to be the life blood of the more successful fields.

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