Paintball, a sport that by its name alone stirs a strong reaction both positive and negative, has seen many changes throughout the years. After experiencing the great surge in the sport with the dawn of the military style markers, and the quick firing speed ball markers; Paintball found itself running head first into the brick wall that was the fall of the economy. In 2006 Paintball fields, shops, and the sport itself, slowed to a crawl when the price to play the game became too high with families scraping just to make it through each week.
Gabe Giberson, the field Manager at Royal Ridges Retreat, had this to say about the way the game has changed and what he sees going forward.
Gabe: In 2006 there was a large following of older players on the field compared to now. Now I have been seeing more and more groups of younger kids coming out the field. Paintball, always having this combat feel to it, used to draw in a more male group of players. Recently though, I have seen more and more groups of female players getting into the sport and coming out to do birthday parties and such.
I have also seen a new push for the sport to clean up it’s on and off the field conduct. You can now see more teams instilling code of conduct regulations. Referees have also begun to clean up the sport by warning or ejecting players who cannot behave themselves on the field.
The way I look at paintball is that “half the fun of paintball is on the field, the other half is in the stories after.”
Among the many different changes that have been made to the sport to better appeal to all different ages and sexes, none are quite as important as the way teams conduct themselves around new players. Recently there has been a push to slow down the rate of fire, outlaw spawn camping, clean up language, and to have teams take new players under their wings to help them. This gives new players to the sport a chance to experience paintball without having to be just another target.
If you are interested in getting into paintball in the SW Washington area, I invite you to check out some of the local fields and shops in the area for more information.
You can check out Royal Ridge’s times and prices by checking out their website here: http://home.comcast.net/~captinpaintball/RRP.htm
See you on the field!