I met my husband in 2004 on an online dating site and in his profile it said he played an unusual sport at a Professional Level. I was intrigued. He soon introduced me to crazy the world of competition paintball.
After watching him a few times and the speed and velocity of the paintballs flying around and the action on the field it was something to behold. He was, and still is a fantastic player and was known for being 1 of the fastest shooters in the Australian game.
I had played Paintball once about 5 years earlier in the bush after winning a radio competition and didn’t really get too involved just watched the front runners win the game for us. It was fun.
Generally speaking there are 2 different styles of paintball in Australia, 1 being bush ball, which as its name describes is playing in the bush and the 2nd is Sup-air where the game is played on a football style field with inflated obstacles known as bunkers. (As most of my readers are non-paintball players I will speak in laymans terms, like many sports Paintball has its own language).
A year into our relationship and I was personally thrown into his unusual sport, hubby signed me up for an amateur charity tournament, with no training, kitted me out in all his hand-me-down gear. They tell me I was the best dressed amateur in town. Because I was such a “newbie” towards the end of the tournament they gave me an advanced Marker (aka paintball gun) and I could shoot a lot faster, don’t think it made all that much difference but I had a great time.
My addictive and competitive personality took over and before I knew it I was going to training with him every 2nd weekend. Pretty soon I was invited to join an all-girls team “Bitchin” in the Semi-pro Division, I was not very good but keen to learn. My position was as a “Back” player, this is a non-glory position where you keep the firepower humming so that the front runners can move up the field and win the game. This was also hubby’s position on his team, he taught me a lot about shooting fast and playing better and was my biggest supporter.
Over the years that I played I was fluctuating around my heaviest weight, but I was sort of fit as I was doing my Indoor Rowing 2-4 times a week, but as I have said before every sport is different type of fit and after a weekend of playing tournament Paintball the muscles sure felt every bit of the games.
Over time my skills improved and our all girls team “Bitchin” morphed into a co-ed team as at that time it was hard to find female players in a male dominated sport. After we went co-ed we won and placed at a few Tournaments in Semi-Pro Division. The last tournaments I played with Bitchin in Nov 2007 were The Masters which is the biggest tourney of the year in Australia and then we finished off the year in December with a highly competitive tournament in Malaysia, we just missed out on making the final 4.
Hubby and I were both largely overweight and talked a lot about if we were slimmer how much better we could play. I still sit back and wonder why, with my competitive nature this game and my desire to be better, could not inspire me to lose weight. I wanted so much to be able to move up the field and take some of the “glory”, which I did in a few games but not as much as I would have liked. There were other aspects as well including the clothing that you could buy, some styles of pants didn’t come in my size, others were uncomfortably tight, I always had to buy mens T-shirts not the nice ladies styles and sometimes even the mens didn’t fit, secretly this really bothered me, but obviously not enough to do anything about it.
The reason I have dragged up my BB (before baby) paintball life, is that some of the girls who I have previously played with from the USA (it is a much bigger sport overseas) came to play a tournament recently and it rekindled my desire to get back out and play. Now as much as it is not practical for me as a mother to be out playing and training every 2nd weekend I would relish the chance to jump on the field for a tournament and play with some of my old gal pals. I would like to see if being 20+ kilograms lighter could make me a better and faster player and I would like to get out there and inflict some pain on some of the boys.
I made some great and lifelong friends both in Australian and overseas from playing paintball and hubby and I had some of our best times travelling around Australia and internationally playing Paintball, even incorporating a trip to Huntington Beach USA into our honeymoon to watch a major event.
When I go to watch a game I realise I really do miss it, so look out one day soon, my pink gun and I might make a comeback at a Paintball field near you.