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Old 10-22-2012, 10:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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How Paintball Changed Our Lives

Upon some reflection, I decided to start this thread about how paintball changed our lives. I do not mean for the thread to be sentimental, but as a means to reflect on how great paintball truly is and how it makes us better. Please post up your experiences and lessons learned.

I began playing when I was 11 years old, back in 1999, when my grandmother suggested I play paintball with the neighbors at their summer house in Maine. I hadn’t thought much about paintball before this, but I did like to play “army” with my neighbors in New Hampshire. I was thrilled when I opened a package a few months later to find a PMI Traccer, a mask, and a paintball tank. It was the beginning of the end.

I played in the back yard with my neighbors and began reading magazines. I would beg my father to bring me to the local paintball shop in Manchester, NH, which was owned by Adventure Games Paintball to gawk at the awesome markers and gear on the walls. My father purchased a Spyder from that store so he could play with me and my friends. He even helped my step-brother and I erect some stick bunkers in the woods. Those were some of the best games I ever played. I asked for a 98 custom for Christmas that year and was thrilled when it appeared under the tree. The following spring, he took me to Adventure Games Paintball in Weare, New Hampshire where we had a blast playing. I still remember our first game in Castle Anthrax and Bridge.

Lesson learned: My parents would support me with anything I decided to do.

In 2003, I decided I wanted to play paintball more competitively. I sold my 98 custom and, using money I made mowing lawns, purchased a 2003 autococker. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I played a 3-man tournament with two of my buddies, both using mechanical autocockers at Canobie Paintball. We were driven to the field by my father and we staged out of his conversion van. I remember looking at the other team’s guns and thinking, “Gosh those things are nice.” I wanted to be like the guys playing in the 5 and 7 man divisions. We placed third. I am not sure how considering our only strategy was breaking to the center 50, snake, and leaving one guy at home. My father proud of us.

Lesson learned: A strong will to win will trump skill and experience.

For the next couple years, I dabbled in tournament and recreational paintball, playing AG and Canobie Paintball’s big games and playing in the NEPL. I would attend team days at Canobie, where the sportsmanship was less than desired, but would occasionally play at AG for fun. I was hosed on PBnation on a trade and lost my gold, vision shocker, for two broken (really broken) autocockers. This put a bad taste in my mouth, so I stopped playing team days, fixed one of the autocockers and bought a PGP.

Lesson learned: 1) Trust is earned, not given. 2) You cannot control other people’s actions, only influence them.

High school was a tough time for me and paintball. I ran track during the winter and spring, and worked at a local ice cream shop on the weekends and during the summer. My parents held my academic standing to a very high standard, so a portion of the weekends and summer was spent doing homework. I still played, using my PGP and autococker, but the competing demands of trying to buy a car and school put a damper on my playing time. In hindsight, having paintball and a full plate of school and sports kept me so busy that I was not tempted into getting into any trouble.

Lesson learned: Balance life’s priorities.

I applied to the United States Military Academy and by some grace of God, I was accepted. I read on their team’s web page, that they had a tournament team and I knew I wanted to play. I sold my truck which I worked so hard for (Cadets cannot have cars until their second semester of their Junior year) and purchased a PM5 from one of my buddies. After the summer of Cadet Basic Training, or BEAST, I was cut from their track team I was trying out for and tried out for the paintball team. To my surprise, the team captain went through my gear bag earlier in the week and was impressed with the organization of my bag. After a weekend of tryouts, I was accepted on the team.

Lesson learned: First impressions are important.

Many practices began with me, and other first year cadets, plebes, inflating bunkers, setting up the air compressor, filling pods, and cleaning the field. We traveled to World Cup and Huntington Beach where I was able to play on the starting lineup.

Lessons learned: 1) Be humble. 2) Prove your worth. 3) Take the good with the bad.

Master Sergeant Chris DuBois (Doobie) PCS’d to the academy late my freshman year. He had played paintball for as long as I had been alive and spent many many years in the Army. He provided the team some much needed leadership and direction. With his help, we were able to organize bigger and better big games, construct a new practice field, move the team to NCPA division A, and even grabbed the attention of KEE and Planet Eclipse. MSG DuBois was also our sideline coach for the events. He also brought me back to recreational play. There were many trips when we spoke about the good old days of paintball and his experiences in the Army during the van or plane rides to events.

Lesson learned: Listen to people who have more experiences than you are. They know more from learning from their mistakes and successes.

I was the West Point team captain when I was a senior. MSG DuBois put a lot of responsibility on me to mentor and coach the younger players, utilize military planning techniques to resource, plan and execute practices, trips and our big games. I was put in a position with a lot of responsibility and, at times, he let me make mistakes for the sake of learning from my decisions. My time was challenging and rewarding and was one last “hurrah” until I entered the real Army.

Lesson learned: Embrace challenges and learn from your mistakes.

I graduated, commissioned and spent time at Fort Benning at the Officer Leader Course. I occasionally played paintball there as a way to relax and recharge for the next week. I took many of the lessons I learned from paintball to Ranger School and passed. I currently am stationed at Fort Bragg where I use paintball as I did at Fort Benning. I played on the Buffet Bullies in the CFOA last season, and though I was not a team captain, exercised my own leadership without taking charge or stepping on the team captain’s toes. I now play paintball as a way to relax after our recent deployment to Afghanistan.

Bottom Line: Paintball made a better person, player, and leader.
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Wow! That's great to see how much paintball has positivly influenced your live.

For myself, I can't say that it's really changed 'me' much as who I am as a person but It's become an every-sunday-you-can-make it kind've thing. I hope I get to go paintballing soon when my empire sniper gets it's replacement parts in.
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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There are definitely things I have learned, however paintball to me has always been a coping mechanism/outlet. Ex something is pissing me off I head over to the field, see some buddies and blow off steam for several hours.
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:50 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I don't share this story often, for obvious reasons. Here's why I play.

Whew, deep breath. Paintball means a second chance. My story is not a happy or fun one. My youth was derailed by a series traumatic abuses followed by a severely self-destructive lifestyle. I brought myself to the brink of death and watched too many friends plunge forward never to return. In one summer I lost six friend for good. Three dead, one in a vegetative state for the rest of her life and two in jail for decades. It was enough, and I walked away. Going clean, however, is not the same as starting over. I was still a hollow and depressed person. Then a regular at the bar I tended gave me the advice to find something from before it all fell apart and rebuild from there. A foundation to build from. One of my strongest childhood memories had been a church group paintball trip. I had long wanted to play again. So I looked into it, found a place and event and went. It was everything I remembered. And out there, on the field, for a few moments... I didn't remember anything else. I started over. I won't say "paintball is my life", life is to big for that. But paintball saved my life.....
I'm still putting it all back together one .68 caliber piece at a time!
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I've learned all sorts of things from paintball both directly and indirectly. Directly I've used it to keep myself in shape given the running the 50 and just the physical part of the sport is great for keeping my cardio up and getting my endurance where it needs to be (I use big games and scenario for this). Indirectly it's influenced my love of engineering and I never thought I would be a get down and dirty and be machining and stuff type of guy as I'm more a theoretical type of person but I discovered a love of design and machining even if only at the hobby level through our sport. It's also restoked my love of electronics tinkering and such as well as PCB design and IC programming (right now I'm designing a board for a project gun). Last but not least it's just made me an all around better person. I've met a lot of good people through the sport that are close personal friends both IRL and on this board. Off hand Ratzo,LK-13 and Jordan spring to mind.

Paintball started for me as a try and see type of thing when I was 18. Now I'm 27 and in so deep I wouldn't know how to get out of it if I tried. I've taken breaks from the sport here and there over the past 9 years but I always come back and I think I've found my niche at the moment. A mix of SC,mod SC, OC and mech semi.

This board has also taught me a few things. One of which is that when you have a good community it just feels like home and that even if I've never met a lot of the members on this site personally I love popping into the chat and having a conversation and it feeling like I'm talking to an old friend. I've also become a more trusting person as well because of a lot of you. I was used to getting burned online and not having good experiences with non retail type sales in the past. Now I've little problem ordering stuff online or setting up trades and shipping stuff all over the planet as of all the deals on this board I've done not one has gone south.

I guess all I can say is I love our sport I love this forum and all it's members really made me feel at home when I first joined and it's one of the only sites on the web I visit on a daily basis not just for paintball but for the sense of community we've developed here.

MCB ROCKS!
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Old 10-22-2012, 04:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archanglmikel View Post
I don't share this story often, for obvious reasons. Here's why I play.

Whew, deep breath. Paintball means a second chance. My story is not a happy or fun one. My youth was derailed by a series traumatic abuses followed by a severely self-destructive lifestyle. I brought myself to the brink of death and watched too many friends plunge forward never to return. In one summer I lost six friend for good. Three dead, one in a vegetative state for the rest of her life and two in jail for decades. It was enough, and I walked away. Going clean, however, is not the same as starting over. I was still a hollow and depressed person. Then a regular at the bar I tended gave me the advice to find something from before it all fell apart and rebuild from there. A foundation to build from. One of my strongest childhood memories had been a church group paintball trip. I had long wanted to play again. So I looked into it, found a place and event and went. It was everything I remembered. And out there, on the field, for a few moments... I didn't remember anything else. I started over. I won't say "paintball is my life", life is to big for that. But paintball saved my life.....
I'm still putting it all back together one .68 caliber piece at a time!
*brohug*

My Lesson Learned: Materialistic goods are just goods, they can always be replaced.

Experiences and people, you cannot always get the same ones back. Once it happens, it happens.

I used to laugh when people would dump their stuff suddenly on the BST's at ridiculous prices because of what I perceived as bad financial planning. I was not the most humble of persons.

Nowadays, if something important came along and I needed to do that, I'd do it in a heartbeat, especially if there's a person on the line that needed my help. Sometimes you just need that extra 2% to complete the puzzle and paintball...it provides the experience and the goods and when you need every penny, it does that for you too by melting all the equipment back into money.

I'd part of my life that will always be around, like a faithful pet or friend that sticks it to you when it counts but still laid back when things aren't so serious.
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Old 10-22-2012, 04:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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How paintball has changed my life?

I've made a lot of friends through paintball. Ones that I will have forever.

It's my life. Paintball has made me. It's all I think about. It's my lifestyle.

I've gained so much respect from people at my local field.

Paintball has been a positive outlet for me.
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