Welcome Ms Hailey, a member of the paintball community in Manitoba Canada and one of this years Miss Catshack 2010 contestants. Hailey gives us some real insight into the world of paintball such as it is in the province west of us.
Growing up in the same home as my brother, from the age of 8 years old paintball was no stranger to me. My brother was an addict (it was all he talked about day and night),Â no one really understood why. I paid it no mind, it just wasn’t something that I had been interested in at the time. Every time he got the chance to grill me over the fact that I wouldn’t be able to “take it” he would. Finally 5 years later in very early spring of my 8th grade year, I had quite enough of the taunting. I figured that I would go out once, if I liked it well then I would probably go again,Â if not I would stick it out the first time and leave the rest to someone else.
So off I went, and I became the very target I most definitely had not intended to become. Most of the people within the sport, including my brother that know of my first paintball experience, state themselves they would not have came back. For me, it was the fact that I was able to endure what most others couldn’t, it was such a rush. I came home black and blue,Â I was proud of every welt I had received and I wore them like a badge of honor. I knew from that point on, that paintball would become my sport. Even though then and even now, my skills are limited in some areas, there is no stopping me from working towards becoming one of the best on the field.
Since I have been involved in the paintball scene, I have been blessed to meet as many amazing people as I have. If I had to choose an actual experience since I started, there are far to many to choose from. Still the highlight of my life in the paintball world would have to be the people, what they have stood to represent and their faith in keeping our sport alive. Studies show that dancers have different genetic patterns from the majority of others, the same could most likely be said of paintballers. Never once have I met some one more open and considerate than paintballers. The people that you play with can truly make or break the sport. I have made some very close friends in the process that I would have never considered otherwise and there is nothing in this world that I would trade for that.
Paintball in Manitoba. Canada, is not something widespread, it is more sparsely populated as well. For someone such as myself, getting to a field can be a bit of a bother, for any type of regulation sized field I have to travel one or more hours. The heart of paintball in this province is definitely Winnipeg. In the southern half of the province there are about 5-6 serious ballers. The rest of the players come from around the central areas. Over all, there are approximately 100 competitive paintball players. So obviously, there are no faces which are unfamiliar. As for rec ballers, there are probably about twice as many who play on a somewhat regular basis. For tournaments there are only 2 different series held each year. One in winter, and one in summer. For the summer series we have SPS [Splatters Paintball Series] which consists of 4 main events, hosted at Splatters Paintball. In winter we have Sunday Show Downs which also consists of 4 main events, which is hosted at one of Paintball Paradise’s indoor locations.
The Wasaga Beach big game is definitely an actual possibility for the approaching year. I would love to be able to meet some more of my fellow Canadian paintballers and likewise get to know what some of the other paintball scenes are like around the country. For my graduating year I would LOVE to be able to fly out to World Cup, where ever it would be hosted. I find myself some what curious when it comes to the pro side of paintball and I would really enjoy getting to take a look at it first hand, as well as finding out whats going on in the sport around not only Canada but America as well.
Talking to other females within the sport, the first thing I always tell them is not to get discouraged. The key to being the minority in any situation is determination. If you love the sport, you just have to make up your mind and do it. From being in the sport for 3 years, I’ve gone through my share of ridicule from some however the majority were kind and willing enough to help me along the way. So it should be much the same for the rest of the ladies out there. Not to mention from what I’ve seen and experienced, there will be many doors opened and many opportunities for any girl in the sport as opposed to the guys. Reason being girls in paintball aren’t a regular occurrence. At least in my area they aren’t. You just have to go in there, find one good friend (which is never hard to do at the field) and stick it out. If there are no other female paintballers in your local area, get on the internet join a forum and you’ll be able to find tons of support from people all over North America or where ever you are.
The big thing about paintball is for sure the prices. The price of playing in some ways is obscene and I’ve seen far to many great players drop out of the sport for that reason. It is far from a reality to change anything about those types of liabilities. I would also like to see more ballers helping new ballers out, showing them the ropes. Preparing for the next generation of paintballers. More over getting the younger kids interested in the competitive world of paintball, which seems to be losing its grip in a lot of the areas around here. In order for this sport to stay alive we need it to grow and become more main stream and I believe that should become one of every paintballers goals.
I have many aspirations when it comes to paintball in the future. I would love to be able to play amateur or semi pro in the CXBL series within the next 2-3 years. Which in turn would mean a lot of hard work. As well, I would love to move to somewhere where paintball is more widely accepted and possibly start a photography business and cover certain events, that is if I’m not playing them. So basically, I just want to be able to work my way up the ranks in the national paintball community and eventually see where it leads me. The rest is undecided.