It seems its time for my next article…. I know ya’ll just couldn’t wait for it, and well I think everyone will enjoy it.
I first began getting into the sport of paintball over four years ago. The world of paintball has been ever changing ever since I can remember. When I first began, it was all about the outlaw ball, I would get with a small group of friends, throw on a few layers of clothing, swing by Wal-Mart and grab a quarter case of Brass Eagle paint, and make my way to where ever we were to play that month. It was usually on or around one of the guys property that was playing with us at the time, usually containing brush, open fields, and the occasional creek bed, I loved the creek bed play the best I think.
Anyway, the general theme of it was a group of guys, mostly your country born and raised, hunters and fishers, out playing elimination or some form of scenario game that we had played or heard about. We would take a small trek out to the back of the pasture to the field line with an amount of paint and air limit, which at the time seemed like non of us would ever use it. In today’s world, it wouldn’t have lasted long, then it would have. Gear, during these early days of my playing the gear was all basically the same; almost everyone had their “Hide and Go Seek” clothes on, better known as camouflage. Our markers generally were all mechanical spyders of some sort, with the occasional Tippman marker, generally with stock barrels and 9oz or 12oz CO2 tanks, no one had electronic loaders at the time, nor were they really needed. Our masks generally consisted of early Brass Eagle masks, and the random early JT, pre-Brass Eagle take over masks, none of them with thermal lenses. Also, going with the current theme of things, our paint pretty much all came from Wal-Mart, and was either Brass Eagle, or Super Swirl. Oh, and no chronograph either, I later found out my marker that I had been using was shooting in the 360 FPS (Feet Per Second) range way over the safe limit of 300 FPS…ouch….
Those were the days, going out in the middle of the woods, having no more paint and air, markers, or skills then we backpacked in to where ever. I can’t say I miss it all too much, as time progressed, I found a new love, paintball fields.
Lets fast forward a couple years, during this time I kept my same little stingray and Brass Eagle setup, upgrading minor things here and there such as masks, barrels, and air systems. I also began keeping tabs on the paintball world via the internet, which is where I got this crazy idea, I said to my self, “ You know there are these things called fields, why not give them a shot.” So I did, I found a field in local proximity, it happened to be a woods ball field but that didn’t matter I was at home for the most part, though I felt like a fish out of water with my little stingray, it was time to upgrade. So, after the first time of playing with new people I did not know and wasn’t used to playing with, with a less then current piece of technology, I found a nice little electro spyder, it was affordable and sounded really good for the money, I bought it, and began playing regularly with it, every weekend religiously, for the moment, at that field. I have yet to look back at true outlaw style play. I got to know these guys, and my skills began to improve at a rapid pace, as well as I branched out even further into the world of paintball and became an information sponge, namely when it came to the repair and workings of current, past and future markers and equipment.
During the next three or so months, I must say I learned a lot about the sport, and grew tremendously. I slowly began to find my self being looked up to, and asked to help, I found this transition from what I guess would be a “newbie” stage to a highly looked on player and marker tech. It happened so fast, and I don’t really intend to stop now, however when I look back on such things I find it rather odd and amusing as to how I did it to this day.
Following this path I quickly jumped into the concept and speedball style fields. I moved out of the woods, much like paintball has, as it has grown, so have I, it got a head start, but as I said above I think I’m catching up at a rather fast pace.
I found that from my reading, I had picked up many things used in the speedball world, and had taken them to the woods, now I had a chance to apply these somewhat practiced skills on the speedball field, and they worked, and worked well.
My love for the sport increased, and so did my enthusiasm, I began to basically eat, sleep, and breath paintball as a whole. I began to think seriously about getting into some tournament paintball, and have since done so. Though I still maintain a somewhat healthy mix of tournament and recreational paintball as not to get burnt out, and yes I even try to get back to the woods on occasion.
I found the world of the speedball player, though the offspring of its father, woods ball; quite different. The gear, yes, a big part of our world, I better touch on that. I began seeing jerseys, more electronic markers, not just spyders and their clones, and they were shinny, not a dull color like I had been seeing primarily. Hoppers, too, were more advanced; I was no longer the only one shooting with a high-end hopper.
Masks, yes, even they have changed, I began seeing things that looked quite unlike what I have been seeing in the woods with the old style JT/BE masks, and more new styles; JT, Dye, and Raven masks. I saw pants go from Camo/BDU to Hemp, Nylon, and various other materials, and they bore the names of big name paintball companies. Every thing was brighter, faster, and looked far more modern then what I was used to and I liked it.
I soon found myself branching out to other fields, and as I said, eating, breathing, and sleeping paintball. I found myself using household items that could possibly help my game in any way possible, such as something resembling a trigger, such as nail clippers, and practiced walking on them like I would a trigger. I began doing morning exercises and various things through out the day to build finger and arm strength as well, basically anything that could improve on a paintball related skill. It even began effecting my vacations, we were to Vegas over the summer and So Cal. My gear just had to come along with me. I found myself not only playing somewhere besides my home field, but in a totally different state, with different people, using different gear. The field I played at in Vegas was a less then desirable indoor field, I won’t mention the name at this point, but I still had an enjoyable time for the most part, it was different.
With all the moving around to different fields, and noticing the different equipment, I found it time to upgrade my own gear even further, and again noticed that said gear had changed, mostly for the better.
For a time, I thought my little electro spyder was THE thing, however, I now looked at markers, those seen in the tournaments scene of today for the most part. I had been use to them for some time, but looking closely at their specs, I couldn’t help but being impressed. I decided this time to go with a marker, which I could highly personalize, work on with ease, and was highly competitive, I fell in love with three markers, the Automag, the Autococker, and the Matrix, in the end I found myself with the Mag.
The mag simply amazed me, its insane rates of fire, accuracy, upgrades, and customizability, all rapped into one marker, for a very reasonable price. The design of this marker also impressed me, and intrigued me greatly, I give major props to Tom Kaye and AGD for their workings, he has developed a truly amazing and simple marker for any level of play and budget, without sacrificing quality or craftsmanship on any level.
I now had a tournament quality marker, well upgraded, and a small local team that I had been practicing with, and still do, I broke down and got a jersey as well, looking at myself. I began looking like the tourney players I had seen on the net, and on videos and in the magazines, and playing like them as well.
With all this, in a rather short amount of time even, I began to call some of the biggest names in paintball friend, such as my good friend Bea Youngs.
Again, I think back, how in the world could some kid from the middle of no where, Texas, who for the most part had a less then complete background of paintball and who stuck to the woods for so long, become what has been described above? The answer lies quite simply in something I have said in the last few months, “Paintball: a true sexless, colorless, ageless, and timeless sport, and one of the only sports where you might just find your self shooting, whether it be paint or words, at someone you look up to and admire in the sport. What other sport could you play with a pro, college, or amateur player, at any level of experience, without ‘knowing somebody’? I would say very few, but find it quite possible in paintball.” So in short, the answer to my question is PAINTBALL! I did something I enjoy, and ran with it, and unknowingly found myself living a dream of sorts, and don’t intend to stop improving on it anytime soon.
In conclusion, the world of paintball is what YOU make it to be, it is YOUR world, and it is ultimately you who carve it out to be what you want it to be, whether you stay in the woods, stick solely to the tournament scene, or take both, and branch further out into the world to find yourself writing about it all in hopes of helping others progress, and build their world of paintball.
As always, if you have any questions or comments concerning this or any other writings, or just want to chat, feel free to contact me @ email@example.com or on AIM: c0d3ma.