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By Eric "Monk" Febres
Paintball, now hereís a shocker, has been around for years. Now if you donít know its history, it started as a way for ranchers to mark their cows easily. What happened next is why weíre all here. Some genius, and probably prankster, cowpoke had the great idea to shoot his friends. From there its just paintball history.
Itís taken years for paintball to reach to point itís at now. Today most of us can look in our phone books and find at least one field or if weíre lucky even a shop. However for some of us unfortunate souls who live out of the stream of big towns and bright lights, paintball is a struggle that is common in our areas. Paintball was started in rural areas and is extremely active in them still today. I live in a town of less that 1800 people, thatís less than most peoples graduating classes! Yet if I wanted to paintball all I need is air, paint, and about an hour. No field charges, no refs, just pure playing time. Most of us here own our paintball guns and equipment. A few of us even own a few so that those who canít afford one yet can join in. Most of the time we donít top ten people. If we have fifteen itís a paintball party but we always have fun and no one gets hurt.
I donít doubt that there are many other communities just like mine all over the world. We donít flaunt equipment and we bring a few people into the game each year. Small communities like mine are the backbone of paintball. No big advertisers, no wasting money to splash a gun, and no wannabes to slow us down. Just pure paintball. This game has come far from itís humble beginnings due to combined efforts of players and suppliers. I canít leave out how much companies like Brass Eagle, who constantly has bad PR from players but has brought more players into the game than any other, and Warr Games, who provides those who love the game with equipment to excel, have done to help spread the word. Still most of us who play can honestly say we were brought into it by a friend. Some of us have just played once or twice and are proud of our newly bought stingray. While other of us are just looking for the next tourney and are carefully tuning our nitro systems. The point is that paintballís future doesnít lye in the hands of big business and regulations but in the hands of the actual players. Letís try to make this game the best it can be, for if weíve succeeded so far while weíre this small imagine what we can do next.
Editor's Note: While it is possible to play "renegade" paintball safely, there are definite advantages to learning safety proceedures at a professionally run, insured paintball field. While safety equipment like a chronograph can seem pricy to renegade players, it is absolutely necessary to chronograph paintguns every day of play. $5 - $10 per player chipped in to a chronograph fund is much less expensive than buying a glass eye - paintball goggles are not meant to protect against velocities over 300fps.
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