PAINTBALL ISN'T MOCK WAR, NOR IS IT A METAPHOR FOR WAR
What kind of equipment should I get for my kid who is just beginning to learn about the sport of paintball?
We would suggest purchasing a package deal. Package deals come with a marker, mask, Co2 tank and the tools required to work that marker. A good paintball brand to start off with would be Tippmann. Tippmann is known for producing paintball markers that last a long time, are easy to maintain, and inexpensive.
Should I purchase a CO2 tank or Nitrogen tank? We would suggest starting off with CO2. CO2 works for most paintball markers, is easier to maintain, and inexpensive. However, we do suggest using an expansion chamber with CO2. Nitrogen is used for higher performance paintball markers and tends to be more expensive to fill.
What type of mask should I purchase? We suggest purchasing a full face mask with a thermal lens. Its always a plus to have more protection than needed. The thermal lens helps from the lens becoming fogged up and reduces the chance of paintball players taken there mask off and cleaning the lens when a game is in progress.
Do I need to get a chest protector or other body armor? Body armor is not necessary but helps take away the initial impact from a paintball hit. After you have played the sport awhile you get used to being hit and tends to be no big deal.
Keeping it simple
Paintball may seem to be a dangerous sport, but nothing is further than the truth. Paintball players wear protective gear that covers most of the body. The gear is not as elaborate as a set of football pads, yet it provides plenty of protection.
All paintball fields require the use of a mask which protects the eyes, ears, and, face. You can not participate unless you are wearing your mask. The choice of clothing is left up to your personal preference. Wear whatever is comfortable and the darker the better.
Parents may be worried about paintball's image. Their children may have expressed an interest in the game, but there are two things that work against the sport:
1: We carry "guns"; (Guns is the incorrect term for paintball guns. The correct grammar would be markers, the paintball community likes to keep the idea of war and guns out of the picture and the sport of paintball in the picture.
2: We "shoot" each other.
On the surface without further investigation, anyone would NATURALLY see paintball as teaching the wrong values to young people. However, as you will see paintball teaches kids some very important "life skills".
IMPORTANT LESSONS PAINTBALL TEACHES KIDS
First and foremost it teaches safety. Players MUST wear their goggles and they MUST use barrel plugs. They must treat the paint marker with respect. They learn that safety is important, not just to protect themselves, but to protect others. A lapse in safety can cause field staff to keep the offending player out of a few games. Habitual unsafe practices will get that player ejected from the field.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR ONE'S OWN ACTIONS
If you make a mistake you must realize that it was nobody's fault but your own. Accept the fact and move onto the next game. Players learn that what they do, or do NOT do has an effect on the outcome of the game. It is a simple example of cause and effect at work.
As a species, humans are reluctant to ask anyone for help, be it from pride, stubbornness or lack of knowing when to ask for help. No one is an island, and the sooner young adults learn that they just may have to rely on someone else's help, the better. They will also learn that their help may be much needed as well. Learning to work as part of a team and contributing to a single objective is an essential "life skill".
HOW TO WORK WITH OTHERS
This is not the same things as team work. I am referring to a one-on-one situation where the young adult and another player are working as a small team. You may not have an entire group to depend on, and being able to work with an individual, any individual, is essential. Everyone is different and they have their own way of doing things. How you work with each individual and contribute to the task at hand changes with each different individual you work with.
Often players through no fault of their own will wind up by themselves. It takes a lot of courage not to just hide behind a bush, where it's safe. (I've been tempted many times, in this situation.) No one really likes to be alone. Learning to apply yourself without the help of others is a good character builder. There won't always be people around to help you.
WORKING WITHIN LIMITATIONS
This was something I did not seem to have when I was a teenager. I could do anything and I knew everything. Being an adult I realize that I do have limitations. I can only run so fast, the fields are only so large, and I can only carry so much paint and air. Paintball sets up limitations (whether intentionally or incidentally) and forces players to work with reasonable and realistic limitations.
OBEYING RULES AND LAWS
There are safety rules, field rules, and game rules. In order to be permitted to play, you must abide by them. Cheaters are not well liked in this sport and they are quickly ostracized.
REWARDS SOMETIME COME WITH HARD WORK
Your hard work is sometimes rewarded by a victory. A successful flag capture thrills even the most seasoned paintball player. There are few feelings that match it.
Sometimes hard work will result in attaining no rewards. In paintball you can do everything right and still not win. Paintball teaches the "there's-always-another-game" mentality. If you lost the last game, you'll have a chance to win in the next one. You won't always be successful, but you will learn to treat a loss as a learning experience not as failure.
WINNING IS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING
Players outside of the tournament level, rarely see winning as the ultimate goal. Playing for the enjoyment of the game seems to eventually override a person's desire to win. It seems to be the general atmosphere on the recreational level. Players soon realize that winning is not the real challenge. The real challenge comes from bettering yourself as a player.
HOW TO BEST ATTAIN YOUR GOALS
A little planning and forethought go a long way in this game. They also go a long way in life.
PROBLEM SOLVING AND DECISION MAKING
Every time the horn blows and the game starts there will be a completely new set of circumstances to deal with. Paintball teaches you how to rectify situations that may not start in your favor. You think and act in such a way as to be successful (hopefully). Brash, thoughtless actions are met with a brightly colored mark on your person. Sometimes, taking a chance is worth the risk, but you usually can weigh the pros and cons before you take that chance.
Paintball is the perfect arena to teach people when it is time for pensiveness and when to take a calculated risk. If you make the wrong decision, the only thing that gets hurt is your pride.
Learning to shoot a paint marker requires the development of good hand-eye co-ordination. Yes, video games teach this too but at least in paintball the young people are interacting with real people.
EVERYONE IS EQUAL
Paintball's are non-discriminatory, they break on anybody, regardless of race, creed or culture. Tells you something about life, doesn't it?
RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY
Field staff have to enforce safety and playing rules. Argue with them and you won't get to play. You have to listen to what they tell you. Field staff are there to ensure that everyone has a good, safe day. It's nice to hear kids saying things like "yes sir" and "Mr. Referee".
As parents we want our kids to learn the lessons of life, without getting hurt in the process. What parent doesn't? However, it's not very realistic, is it? Well, I think it is, and paintball is the medium for it. Is there anything I've covered that you DON'T want your children to learn? These are all the qualities everyone should have. Paintball teaches ADULTS these things too.
Paintball is also a good motivator. Kids who have played paintball have routinely earned better grades and have stayed out of trouble. Why? They love the sport and if they start getting low grades or refuse to clean their rooms, they don't get to play paintball, do they?
In playing paintball they will learn all the important lessons they need to carry with them for the rest of their lives, without getting physically or emotionally scarred for life. The best part is, they don't even know they're learning it! So when they ask if they can play paintball, please say they can.
Don't you just love getting one past the kids, every now and then?
Play hard! Play fast! Play safe!
What Paintball Isn't,
by Durty Dan,
Mar. 24, 2000
Paintball, like everything else, has its detractors. There are those who see paintball as a violent and politically incorrect past time. They couldn't be farther from the truth.
Many writers will tell you about what paintball is. I'm going to tell you what paintball is not.
PAINTBALL ISN'T VIOLENT
To the casual observer: we carry "guns" and "shoot" people, but are those two things really violent? Violence in today's society destroys lives. The very foundational rules of paintball seeks to limit personal injury:
1. Paintball markers are restricted to low velocities.
2. Players must wear protective eye wear. The use of eye wear SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED FOR PAINTBALL, is strictly enforced.
3. Close range shooting of an opponent is discouraged and players find this type of behavior "bad form".
4. No physical contact between player is allowed. (Other than celebratory "high fives" after the successful completion of a game.) These four things show that Paintballers's are not out to hurt each other.
PAINTBALL ISN'T MOCK WAR, NOR IS IT A METAPHOR FOR WAR
At first glance it may not seem this way because scenario games, revolving around historic battles and campaigns, are popular. This is not the industry's or players' way of glorifying war. It is simply playing "make believe". Many of the organizers of these events use the scenario to proclaim the gallantry shown by our fighting men and women. No one who plays paintball would relish going to war. Other than the combat veteran, the Paintballers knows how quickly your luck will run out when projectiles start flying. If anything, paintball gives you a sense of your own venerability and mortality.
Durty Dan Sez:
Having witnessed the sheer, abject destruction on the modern battlefield, I know that paintball is as close to war as board gaming is.
PAINTBALL IS NOT DANGEROUS
The safety equipment is designed to withstand multiple impacts from paintball's that are traveling far above the industry safe standard. (In other words they hold up over and about the "worst case scenario" like all safety equipment should.) Few people have been injured playing paintball. Accident statistics show that paintball has less injuries than bowling!
PAINTBALL ISN'T TRAINING PEOPLE FOR THE OVERTHROW OF THE GOVERNMENT
We're not a bunch of paramilitary commandos. We are not using paintball to train ourselves in military tactics.
Durty Dan Sez:
Some would point out that paintball is used to train military and special police units, to counter this statement. Well, it doesn't counter what I just said. Paintball is used as an AUGMENTATION to EXISTING training. Paintball in itself cannot train you to be a soldier, but it can be used to further expand a TRAINED soldier's education.
PAINTBALL ISN'T TRAINING PEOPLE TO KILL, NOR DOES IT MAKE PEOPLE "GET USED TO" SHOOTING SOMEONE
It's only a game. Shooting someone is more representative of a tag. Besides paintball is the ONLY team sport where you can LEGALLY eliminate your opponent from play. Best of all no one gets hurt.
Durty Dan Sez:
However, I'm not going to sugar coat it for you, some players do refer to eliminations as "kills". It's just an EXPRESSION. Comedians "kill" you, that can hardly be a metaphor for murder. The basic thing is that Paintballers's are NOT thinking, "I'm killing this guy," when they shoot somebody.
PAINTBALL DOES NOT PROMOTE VIOLENT TENDENCIES IN PEOPLE
In fact, psychologists have seen it to be a catharsis. It is a safe and healthy way to blow off some of the everyday tensions in life. Violent tendencies? I have absolutely NO tendencies towards ANYTHING after a day of paintball. Well, no that's wrong. I actually have tendencies towards a hot bath and a warm bed!
PAINTBALL ISN'T TEACHING PEOPLE HOW TO USE FIREARMS
Paintball markers share the same basic features with firearms. Both markers and firearms have triggers, grips, barrels, sears, bolts, hammers and sights. However, you cannot learn how to use real firearms by using paint markers. Think of it this way, how much can you learn about a computer by using a pocket calculator? There are paint markers which emulate the weight, design and operation of firearms, but they are specifically designed for police and military training.
Durty Dan Sez:
They are not available to the general paintball playing public. The ones that are available have been modified to better suit paintball. The design parameters between paintball and training are totally different. What would be good for a tactical training emulator isn't necessarily good, or even desired, in a paint marker.
I hope, after reading this, that you can see that paintball is a harmless and fun game. Over one million people in North America play paintball. Not one of them is a violent, warmongering, psychotic mass murderer. Paintball has been around since 1981 and no one has been able to link violent crime DIRECTLY AS A RESULT OF PLAYING PAINTBALL. Why? Because there is no direct relation.
If you have any other questions please contact us.