Monday, May 30, 2011

Still a Total Slacker...

       We're a month into the summer holidays here in Kamloops and I'm already way behind where I wanted to be with the blog. I really figured I'd have enough free time once that last exam ended that I'd be able to have about eight posts up but I'm sitting at about two new ones if you include this one included in the tally. On the bright side, I'm gearing up for something pretty huge, so big it's probably going to add more than 25% more content to what I already have on here, not to mention it's going to hit over a very short period of time, which should keep current readers happy and hopefully generate enough activity to pull in some new readers so stay tuned for that, you'll definitely know it when you see it. In the interim period I have a review of some Oakley Factory Pilot gloves which I'm working on even as I'm writing this; that post I should have up this week.
       I'm planning on making a change to how I so addendum reviews of new products I have received and not put through any very serious trials by fire. I was initially thinking of doing follow ups for one or two products in a month or two's time, instead I'm going to do a rapid fire series of follow ups at the end of the season, and compare similar products I tested in each post.
       Last thing before I leave you for a day or two: Google was nice enough to send a 100$ credit for advertising the blog. I thought this was pretty cool since nothing quite like that has happened to me as recognition for extra curricular work so the blog will definitely keep on rocking with some better advertising soon, at least for a little while.
       Keep pwning speedballers and I'll bring more posts and reviews soon!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY: Cognitive Dissonance

      I should apologize for using the term 'cognitive dissonance' so loosely here; it's really more of a social psychology term but I'm sure I can manhandle the definition so that it fits into all our favourite sport. This post will do some throwing back to previous Haters Gonna Hate posts about paintball and airsoft, as well as speedball and milsim arguments. Every time you see, or find yourself involved in one of these fairly silly debates you're very probably tripping into a cognitive dissonance pitfall. So what exactly does the term mean? I'll commit academic sacrilege and use Wikipedia's definition for ease's sake: Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two or more conflicting ideas simultaneously.
      Paintball is a different kind of sport, so is airsoft. For the dedicated casual player, let alone the professional, it involves not only an awfully large time commitment to become a skilled player but also a sizable monetary commitment. Even in the hypothetical situation where a “pro” was renting all the time, the amount of money spent on paint, arguably our most expensive consumable, would add up very quickly. So what happens when a guy with a space gun shows up at a woodsball field and gets schooled by pump and mag-fed players? Cognitive Dissonance. Uncertainty that he's made a good choice in his play style. Buyer's remorse; maybe just maybe, this person is seriously thinking they've made a mistake in buying a 1500$ Ego. They haven't made a mistake, of course, they're just not adapting to the new play environment quickly enough. Milsim and speedball both have their pros and cons, it's when we start to acknowledge the pros of that style opposite our own, or when a player from a different kind of league makes an excellent case for their style that we begin to feel uncertainty over our own purchases. We can all recognize the pros and cons of both sides of the Milsim/speedball or airsoft/paintball debates but it is human to feel insecure at times and we will defend the camp we have chosen aggressively if we are provoked, hence all the flame wars below so many Youtube videos.
Just lay 'em out on the table and measure already
      Good news for all the grief CD causes for us paintballers though: it really is all in the mind. If you buy a lemon at an auto dealership, but you really did want that particular car to begin with, you'll suffer from a lot of buyer's remorse and cognitive dissonance when you start paying all the maintenance bills which constitute evidence to the contrary. People may begin to use “I told you so” if they'd warned you and you will likely believe them, but the issue remains that you still want that car more than others for some reason, creating two conflicting ideas in your head. On the one hand a lousy choice was made, on the other, one does feel compelled to save face. Unlike cars, you can seldom go wrong when choosing a paintball gun unless it's a phenomenally cheap Wal-Mart special, or a poorly maintained used one. People would be a lot less mentally torn between the two camps of speedball and milsim if they realized they needed to make adjustments to their play style and not their complete armament when facing a new game situation; it would greatly reduce the amount of bickering in the forums if we could all just stop trying to lay our guns down on the table and measure
      The phenomenon also applies to worshipping sports teams... hockey play-offs right now right? I can make this reference and get away with it? Say you live in the home town of Team A, they face off and repeatedly lose to Team B and you continue to cheer Team A on like a wild frat boy. There are several reasons for this such as geographical location and home town loyalty, maybe a bit of peer pressure, and it might just be plain 'ol fun. But these variables aside, when the Canucks- Oops, I mean Team A continue to lose repeatedly to Team B which is demonstrably superior, Team A's proponents will continue to deny Team B's superiority after expending so much energy being loyal to them for so long, can you see how these disputes can boil down to one or both stubborn parties having to be right? I'll admit, this last one was a pretty loose metaphor but I hope by now you've picked up the term and can try throwing it around in casual conversation with your team mates.
      In the event that this was a truly dreadful attempt and introducing a little insightful academia to the blog, I'll let you read the whole Wikipedia article on cognitive dissonance by clicking here. It's quite a fun read and I'm sure lots of paintball arguments you've had will spring to mind as Wikipedia guides you through the various examples.