Paintball is a fun sport people use for team bonding, planning out tactics and executing their strategy to perfection. Though it might look purely for fun purposes, it helps to stimulate the brain as teams come together to map out plans and strategies for overcoming their opponents. This was seen in two awesome movies I watched recently, Enders game and divergent. In Ender’s game, the earth was attacked by aliens and the earth’s defense system was in shambles when up against the aliens as the aliens won easily. It was not until a brave act by a soldier, almost costing him his life, rescued the earth from the clutches of the aliens.
In preparation for a possible attack in the future, the defense system begins recruiting children with fresh ideas and perception to lead the battle against the aliens should they reappear. It was believed that the older ones were out of ideas on how to defeat their enemies, and children would be better equipped to face this unusual enemy due to their creativity and dynamism.
In light of the above, Ender, a young teenager is made the commander of Dragon Army at Battle School, an institution designed to groom young children into military commanders against the aliens. Armies are groups of students that fight mock battles in the Battle Room, a null gravity environment, and are subdivided into “toons”. The mock battles were basically paintball in space. Ender due to his genius in leadership was able to plan and execute his winning strategy in 19 consecutive mock battles. This earns him a place at command school for the next phase of his education.
The other incidence of paintball in a movie as mentioned above is that of divergent. Brief background of divergent is that the world recovers from a battle that nearly destroyed the earth completely. The people of earth now live in peace by their division into distinct factions based on human virtues. It is believed that by doing things this way, people are focused and dedicated to doing only one thing and corruption and greed cannot creep into them to the point of causing another war. They were five factions in total namely Amity, Erudite, Abnegation, Candor and Dauntless. Amity are farmers and counselors, Erudite are the teachers and considered the most intelligent of all factions, Abnegation run the government, Candor dealt with the law and always spoke the truth and Dauntless acted as the law enforcement and are in charge of the city’s security.
Tris prior is warned that she is divergent and would never fit into any one group. Apparently, divergent people had been discovered in the past and quietly murdered as it was believed that they would cause a disruption to the already perfect system. In a bid to save herself and her family, Tris decides to choose dauntless as she believes it would be the best faction to cover up her divergence.
During the training, she fails at the physical battle stage as she is paired with Peter who makes soft work of her. As a result of this, she is kicked off the faction to become factionless. Desperate to prove herself, she defies all orders and embarks on a game with her team mates. The game turned out to be a lot similar to paintball were Eric and four breaks the dauntless initiates into two teams to play capture the flag using paintball guns.
The paintball guns are loaded with stim darts which stimulates gun shot wounds. Unlike paintball, instead of being hit with a paintball and announcing yourself out, you can keep on playing for as long as you are able to. It was due to four and tris’s strategy that their team was able to capture the flag from Eric’s team. Enough of my story right? Let’s take a look at the brief history of paintball games.
Paintball came into existence in the 70’s, deep in the forest of the eastern US. Legend says it were lumberjacks of the 70’s period that started with paintballs. It was used as a way of marking trees too hard to reach but destined to be cut down as they were marked down for cutting later in the future.
As a sport, the paintball wasn’t known until the early 80’s. Charles Gaines and Bob Guersney were the first to fire the first paintballs at themselves in 1981.The paintball wasn’t popular then but as the years rolled by, there was an increase in awareness of this beautiful sport. Paintball in recent times has reached the peak of popularity and when mentioned is met with enthusiasm. It is a way to cool off and relax from the hustling and bustling during the week. Little wonder why many people play it every weekend.
It should be noted that the first ever paintball game was organized by aforementioned Charles Gaines and Bob Guersney. In the game 12 people participated and the approach was an every man for himself kind of approach. It took place in the forest and participants wore masks and hid behind inflated obstacles. In the first game, eliminating the opponent wasn’t the bone of contention, but the way in which the game was won was for an individual to capture all twelve flags representing the participants hiding at strategic locations.
Realizing the potential of the game, Bobs Guersney committed to presenting the game to the general public. He succeeded in growing a little awareness for the game as it was being covered by the media and people were falling in love with the idea of the game. The paintball industry became official when Guerseny met Nelspot representatives. Guersney was able to negotiate an exclusive distribution deal for paintball and the sport was on its way.
Like any other sport, the paintball struggled in the first few years, sales were stagnant and investors became worried. Also playing grounds for the sport were hard to come by. With persistence and support the sport triumphed and found its way to mainstream. Now, there are close to 3000 paintball fields in the US and hundreds in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa.