What is Paintball?
by JB "Tigurius" Espejo
Paintball is an updated version of live chess, tag, hide-and-go-seek, and capture the flag made into a fun recreational and competitive sport.
All ages, man, woman, child, and teenager, of all race, creed, and physical stature can play the sport of Paintball. Some eventually becoming great players and playing for top of the line teams in the competitive scene.
Players use equipment made specifically for Paintball. Masks with specific made lenses to well handle the impact of the paintball. Markers are used to shoot the paintballs and very from low quality to high quality, from pump-action (shoots one paintball every time the marker is cocked and trigger is pulled) to semi-automatic and semi-electromatic.
Originally Paintball was played in the woods with "Pump-action" Paintball markers that were used to mark cattle and hard to reach trees for selected cutting. It then later evolved into a small recreational sport of players building their own equipment and eventually coming out with all different kinds of Paintball markers. In the early 90's semi-automatic markers started to become more common. Players were able to shoot their markers faster then ever, but Paintballs could not be fed into the chamber fast enough, eventually "Viewloader" a Paintball company, came out with an "electronic" agitating "hopper" to feed the Paintballs into the chamber faster.
Today Paintball has evolved into a sport played all over the world, either as a competitive sport, or just a recreational sport. Even the equipment and safety standards have improved. With a wide range of masks specifically made for Paintball use, electronic-markers that can fire paintballs at a high rate of fire, that are mainly used in the tournament scene, to low-cost durable markers for players in the recreational scene.
There are many types of fields players can play on. For the new players they have the woods, and town fields. Some fields even have a castle or "dirt" fields for their new players to play on. For the players that have been playing longer and want to try out the competitive scene, there are "speedball" fields and "airball" fields. Speedball fields are fields that are "bunkers" that are set-up in a certain sized area with a boundary and have "lanes" to shoot down to make the game fast paced, usually lasting no longer than 5-minutes for a standard 5-man game.
Airball fields are inflated "bunkers" that a lot of tournaments are played on. It is played at a very high pace and is 5-minutes long for a standard 5-man team.
The game of paintball is generally played in the form of "capture the flag" or elimination. The format is usually 2 teams of one to two, five or seven or ten, or even over 1,000 players on a side depending on the size of the
field (usually more in scenario games).
Paintball is a sport that is played by people of all different professions and lifestyles. It is a sport where people of all ages and sexes can compete equally. Paintball is a game of strategy, very much like Chess. Being able to think quickly and decisively will help with your ability to play the game. Some key success in the sport of paintball are intelligence and determination, not merely strength, speed or agility. It is a character-building sport and will help people to learn about teamwork, gain self esteem and also develop leadership abilities while being able to have a great time with friends and family and relieve stress.
Paintball is a very safe sport to play as well. Some safety issues are that all players must wear goggles specifically designed for paintball to protect their eyes. These goggles must be worn at all times while playing, and at all times while barrel plugs are not on the markers (such as in the chronograph area or target range). The goggles also consist of a protective facemask to protect all areas of the face and ears. As long as the safety rules are followed, paintball is one of the safest sports out there, even safer than bowling! Her are some stats to show the accident rates for some sports such as paintball, bowling, golf, and baseball:
paintball has a 0.31 per 1000 accident rate
bowling has a 0.50 per 1000 accident rate
golf has a 1.13 per 1000 accident rate
baseball has a 27.67 per 1000 accident rate
(PaintCheck Magazine, June 1989, page 38)
Some people also want to know what a paintball is so here goes! A paintball is a round thin skinned gelatin capsule with a concord liquid filling. Paintballs are similar to large round vitamin capsules or bath oil beads. In fact, the shells are made from the same substance that our vitamin capsules are made of. Paintballs are environmentally safe. They are non-toxic, non-caustic, water-soluble and biodegradable. The paint from a paintball should rinse off clothing and skin with mild soap and water.
Another question to answer is what is a paintball marker??? A paintball marker comes in many different types, some pumps, mechanical and some electronic. Paintball markers have many different types of operations such as closed bolt, open bolt, blowback and blow forward. Paintball markers must be powered by either C02 (Carbon Dioxide, N2 (Nitrogen) or Compressed Air. Most players use large refillable cylinders that give hundreds of shots before needing to be refilled, and some use small 12 gram CO2 cartridges that give off anywhere from 15-30 shots.