PARENTS AND PAINTBALL
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:
We carry "guns"; and 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."
First and foremost it teaches safety. Players MUST wear their
masks and they MUST use barrel covers. They must treat the
paintmarker 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, 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
bunker, 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 (and many more than I care to
admit to). You can only run so fast, the fields are only so
large, you 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 paintmarker 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
EVERYONE IS EQUAL
We might not look or act the same, but no one has an advantage over
another because of it. No one race, gender, age, occupation,
or political or religious persuasion is better at this than any
other. Paintballs 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, they 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." I am a parent myself. 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,
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?
Believe me, there are worse things for kids to do. Given a
choice between the two, I'd rather have my daughter buying paintball
markers and paintballs than pistols and crack. Paintball
doesn't sound too bad, does it? Is it better to hang out at
the mall, or play a fun day of paintball? (They'll be supervised at
the field.) They're not allowed to be intoxicated when they
play paintball. They won't be influenced by
"less-than-desirable" elements of society. (That is if you exclude
the fact that they'll see some player with a really cool paintball marker,
and they want one, too. Sorry, can't help you there.)
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, say they can.
For additional information see the Frequently asked questions page
at: FAQ Information
Copyright © 2007-2011 FirstStrike Paintball