May 2nd 2012
Kelly Chavers Brennan’s, thoughts on Paintball!
â€œPaintball? Sure Iâ€™ve heard of it, but Iâ€™ve never played or seen it.â€ That was my statement to my then boyfriend 3 years ago. When I said that who would have known a trip to Low Country Paintball in Ludowici, Georgia would be the beginning of an addiction and the growth of my family.
From the moment I arrived I knew something was different about this sport. First, the amount of people surprised me â€“ who knew this many people were really into paintball? I had barely heard of it, where had all these people come from! I started noticing license plates, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, and so on. Now I was starting to feel a bit intimidated, this was a much bigger thing than I thought apparently and who was I to think that I could play amongst them.Â Then I met â€œSergeant Majorâ€, a retired Marine who came all the way from New York by bus to play at this event. His laugh and big smile welcomed me as he told me he came to this event every year and to not worry I would love it. He was right.
Secondly, people were walking around with grenade launchers and guns that looked like they had come out of a military compound somewhere, which made me think perhaps this was a sneaky way for people to shoot the real thing. I mean come on â€“ an AK-47 with scope â€“ a paintball gun, REALLY? I was definitely out of my league! I had never even seen a paintball gun – excuse me a marker, as I was corrected that weekend. Â By this point I was truly feeling like I had invaded the ultimate boys club and would soon be escorted to the â€œgirls onlyâ€ area. There was no way these guys were going to welcome me into the ranks. Boy was I wrong!
Finally a woman! I met Waverly Muller and a sense of relief washed over me. Here was a woman in paintball gear hanging with the boys!Â We talked about how it was my â€œfirst timeâ€ (insert joke) and how intimidated I felt.Â To this day Iâ€™m not quite sure she realizes the impact or the sense of relief I felt after she talked to me. There was hope for me.
As time went on I began meeting others and they all talked about how much fun I would have and that once I played I would be hooked. I wasnâ€™t so sure about that but since everyone kept talking about how fun it was, I was ready to play. I geared up, borrowed a gun, and started for the field â€“ can you say nervous? So nervous that I shot one of my friends from behind at about 2 feet…um sorry sweetie. Yea, heâ€™s still my friend.Â Horn sounds and weâ€™re off. It was that moment that hooked me. Within those first 10 seconds the adrenaline took hold and I was a goner.
Hereâ€™s where things get really interesting. As I came off the field – approximately 10 minutes after I entered – all those people I had talked to or met beforehand found me. I started hearing, â€œhowâ€™d you do?â€ â€œwhatâ€™d ya think?â€ â€œhooked yet?â€ It struck me odd that they seemed to genuinely care, but it made me feel like part of the crowd too. I started getting invited to â€œcome over for dinnerâ€ or â€œcome have a drinkâ€; maybe this wasnâ€™t what I thought.
It wasnâ€™t. By the end of that weekend I had made some great friends and met some awesome people. Billy Smith and his antics still make me laugh when I think about it, Wave is dear friend, and the Blueâ€™s guys still say hi when they see me. I still talk via online to several people I met there and run into them at different scenarios. When we do, itâ€™s like a family reunion â€“ hugs, hellos, how are youâ€™s, and itâ€™s so good to see you. This brings me to the one impression I hope everyone can walk away from paintball learning. The one thing to me that is more important than the markers, the vendors, or the show.
Paintball is a tie that binds people, bringing them together to form friendships â€“ to form a family. A weird, mixed up, full of black sheep kind of family, but we all love this sport. Whether its speedball or woodsball, we love it; but we also respect and care about those we play with. We do not care what you look like, where you come from, or if youâ€™re a man or a woman. The only thing that matters is that you are a baller.