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Bringing Paintball To It's Roots
July 15, 2002

Bringing Paintball To It's Roots

Today I played some of the most enjoyable paintball of my life. A small group of Farm Land Paintball Club members have been trying to build up some momentum in starting some pump only games. Yes, that's the "old fashioned" method of playing paintball where you have to slide the pump arm back and forth to get paint in the chamber.

We were, as of today, unsuccessful in getting a sufficient number of players to get a tournament going and also not enough to just have some pump only games at our field. Darrin Johnson, Splat Tag's owner, saw our posts and shared our dreams of some pump only games in the MN/WI area. So, as he so often does, he put together an offer 12 of us could not refuse. Free play, free CO2/HPA, free pump to use if you didn't have one and 500 free paintballs to the first 20 players at the field. Darrin even threw in a free Gator Aid mid-way through the day.

But back to the story…As we waded knee deep through a swollen stream to set up flag stations on one of Splat Tags wooded fields, my mind went back to stories I had heard of the early paintballers. (Maybe it was Darrin himself that told me some of these.) OK, today we have a safe mask, barrel plugs, and better, cheaper paintballs but the feel of the games were nostalgic and it's my story. "One shot one kill" went through my mind many times as we stayed low and moved through the heavily wooded area to our prey. Shots were fired, flanking moves made, we were soon working as a team. Look around the next time you play at your local field, how many of the Rec teams play as a team? Firepower is the name of the game. Pump games are not about firepower…their about skill, accuracy and teamwork. I'm not saying this can't be true of semi play but it is definitely not the norm. After each game we joked around about who got whom and how we did it. Then we replenished our paintballs, switched sides and started play again. No breaks, no arguing, no markers breaking down, just plain fun.

Paintball can be played many ways and is different things to different players. One thing we, as players, cannot do is not support all styles. Many say paintball has to come out of the woods to become a viable sport. I disagree. Look how the sport has grown in the past 10 years. There are fields going up everywhere and Walmart and K-Mart are selling markers and equipment. It's becoming mainstream in our communities and we must embrace and support it. Speedball is an easy, exciting game to watch. Spectators (maybe even TV someday) can view and feel the excitement in the air. It's marketable to the public and field owners. Rec Ball is usually played in the woods and it's a player only sport ,the virtual roots of our sport. They are both paintball and we the paintball community must support them both.

Yes, today was a time of remembrance. Life was simpler, paintballs were more expensive, markers were fewer and very few knew about our sport. I challenge every one of you to get out and find some pump games. Lay aside the fire power and get back to the roots of paintball, if even for a day. Make the pilgrimage. I'll guarantee you will improve some aspect of your game, no matter what venue you prefer. I'm off to fill my 10 round tubes for some stock gun games…ah, only 10 rounds and a 10 gram CO2 cartridge. It's what my friend Panzer calls "going to the darkside".

- Larry "Oldest Sage" Strack

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