March 5th 2013
Get to know the Women of Paintball!
The Catshack Reports: I found myself curious and wanted to learn more about the women that play this wonderful sport. I know why I do but wanted to hear directly from them. I feel that if we as women can give other women a positive insight towards the sport, we can really help in it’s growth. Most women are intimidated therefor this deters them from even trying paintball. This needs to end, we need to educate them and bring them in the “the right way the first time” Paintball Social Media needs stay to focused on the positives in paintball, educating others, giving tips and the tools players need. Media in fact can be highly influential to the new players, parents and even Senior players. The goal is to grow the sport and to show others how truly great it is! As a male dominated sport, I have decided to write an article based on the direct feelings and from the women’s own words.. I feel the women that play bring something special to the game and all have an interesting story to tell. It’s hard for us to sit back sometimes and let others assume, we all have our own reason in why we play. One thing that I noticed in which I strongly agree with is this, we do not like to be treated any different or inferior. We all feel that we are equal players and shouldn’t have to prove ourselves on a field. So now I will bring their stories to you!
We will be talking about 4 topics, 1. Why do you play? 2. Your direct experience while playing. 3. How can women help the growth. 4. What do women bring to the sport.
CJ #25 Team: Steeel Reserve Paintball Team Home Field: PNL Paintball in Bridgewater, MA
I love paintball!!! I play almost every weekend and have withdrawals if I take a weekend off! I’ve met a lot of awesome people through paintball and generally felt welcomed. However, some guys don’t know how to react to seeing a female on the field. We’re there to have fun just like them, we don’t ask for any special treatment. There’s nothing wrong with being nice and offering to carry something heavy or open a door, but don’t assume that we don’t know anything paintball. Last November I was the only girl playing at a speedball event and when I arrived a guy asked me if I was the photographer… I said “No, I’m here to play!”
I think it’s important to be nice and offer help when someone is new and has questions. Help encourage the more timid players and offer to cover them while they move up with you. It’s awesome to see someone who was afraid at first, then come out and say that was so much fun! I enjoy helping out with charity events and giving back when I can. I was recently invited to be a part of “Operation Housewife”, which is a group of awesome female ballers who raise money for charity through bake sales. I’m also in the process of setting up a new charity called “Ballers for Boobies” to benefit those fighting breast cancer. I like seeing things that positively promote our sport and a sense of teamwork. It’s important to be a positive influence through your actions, not just your words and to never forget that we’re here to play paintball and have fun! Cherie Miranda
LadyHawk #47 Team NightHawk Team Captain
Ever seen Lady Liberty shooting a Gatling gun out of a tank? What about Dark Phoenix leading the X-Men on the beaches of Normandy at ION? Lara Croft guarding the Spear of Destiny? If you answered yes to any of these, then you have seen me in action with Team NightHawk. I started playing about twelve years ago with family and close friends. Once I started playing on bigger fields, I found out that female player were something of a novelty. Each game I encountered catcalls, insults and put downs. All I wanted to do was play. My team supported me each step of the way. I ignored all the negative attention and just kept doing what I loved and played ball!
As time went on, we won many Most Valuable Team awards and appeared in a number of magazines. Team NightHawk decided to put a twist on our involvement in the game. We dressed up in costume for each game. People began to recognize our team and wonder what costume we were going wear the following game. This led to more involvement in scenario games, role playing and command roles.
I have had the luxury of seeing the sport grow. I have seen women go from players to game leaders. Paintball is not about a bunch of individuals getting together, it is about everyone playing together as one team for the love of the sport. It is not about men vs. women, or red vs. blue. At the end of the game, we are just players who had a great game with great stories to tell! That is the way our sport will live on. April LadyHawk
Vicki ‘Jezebel’ Vega
I play to avoid over stressing myself. I have found it to be a terrific way to SAFELY and legally relieve stress. I had a serious drug problem for a number of years and then while getting my life together I found I needed another outlet. Paintball was that outlet. It was fun, it was safe and it was just what I needed to get myself healthy again. I frequently think that playing paintball was a bit of a saving grace for me. I took about 2 1/2 years off and had my daughter. And, found that not playing paintball and not doing drugs had helped me to gain over 200 lbs. So, I slowly worked my way back into the sport. I found compassion, companionship and a healthy lifestyle again. My husband and I play together and while we are very rarely on the field together, it brings us closer. It’s our common ground.
When I was first asked to general games I always worried if the guys on the field would take “orders” from me. I was shocked to learn that they didn’t see me as the girl who played paintball with them; I was simply a paintball player. And, many times I have been told by them that I am a wonderful leader. That I don’t tell my players to do anything, that I make them want to do it for me.
I think any female can get out there and play. It doesn’t matter if you are 15 or 75. Tall or short, heck if you weight 85lbs you have just as much right to be out there kicking butt as someone who is 450lbs! Its about the love for the sport.
I have made life long friendships from playing paintball with such a wide variety of people. It’s strange for me to look back to 15 years ago when I was a struggling soul trying to find my way. I’ve met some of the most caring and loving people since I got my life back. The ladies of Operation Housewife, the teams, the players significant others I know they all have my back. I know if I really needed a friend my paintball people, they are who I would turn to first. I hope they feel the same way about me. There is no way to thank them for the life they helped me get back, no way to show them what they have truly given me with their friendships but I know without them and without paintball, I wouldn’t be a 30 year old mom of 3; who in the words of my soon to be 7 year old son “the coolest German Mom General Skirmish ever had”. Kinda makes my heart sing. Vicki Jezebel
Crystal DuVall – Co-Owner of Gearheadz Paintball, LLC. Lil’ Ripper on Gearheadz Family Assassins scenario team. Sponsor of the West Coast Women’s Paintball Tournament and SuperGame 45
I play paintball because it’s a way for me to connect with my family and friends. Paintball is so flexible in its formats and level of intensity that everyone can go out and enjoy themselves. Regardless of a player’s skill level, budget or ability, there is instant camaraderie when you meet someone who plays. It is amazing to be a part of the relationships that form on the field.
As a woman heavily involved in the sport, I’ve found that there is unlimited potential for women to grow. Although it is male dominated, events like the upcoming West Coast Women’s Paintball Tournament in California, all-woman competitive teams like Destiny, and business owners like myself prove that women are making an impact in the paintball industry. The easiest way for us as women to make paintball grow is to simply be involved and to not be afraid to let the world know that we play. You can’t inspire someone to try paintball for the first time if you’re afraid of sidelong glances. Be proud. Wear your jersey around town, invite people out to watch a game and when they show up to watch always offer to let them play a round or two. Crystal DuVall
Heather ‘Felony’ Bird, Team “GDP Gravedigger
In the beginning about 10 years ago I started the sport of paintball to get aggression from work and life off my chest. Being a law enforcement officer isn’t an easy job specially a female in a male world. I started to forget that people were good. Well I started playing every weekend at a local field. One day a ref noticed me. He took me under his wing. Lol. This guy did the best thing for me, he opened my eyes again and brought the real meaning of paintball into my life. “Family” a great family that no matter what happens on and off the field they are right by your side. I feel that paintball is a male dominating SPORT but not one male I have met in my many years of playing see me as a female, they see me as the baller I am. Yes the males joke “What you doing out of the kitchen?” or “make me a sandwich” but what family doesn’t joke. As I sit here memories over the last 3 years flood my head the tears, smiles, pain, and laughter is making my heart race in excitement for the next game we all get to see each other.
Paintball is adrenaline not only for the game but for the hugs you get from family, the smiles from the kids that follow you into a heated battle, the kids reaction when you hand them your ego because there rent a gun busted during a fight, and your battle buddies screaming and watching as you run and take all the paint so they could advance. So paintball threw a females eyes is amazing. I would not change my team, my friends and even my enemies because we are family. So to all you females thinking about trying the sport, close your eyes and imagine a family that no matter what you do, how old you are, your size or shape or color, you will be excepted as long as you open your heart and allow us crazy people in. Heather Bird
I love extreme sports. I run obstacle races for the challenge but paintball offers other gratification. We started playing as a family, my father brothers sister in law and husband. my 3 children now play with us. On the field we are all equal. I’ve always been a good shot and now I have something other than a target. I love the “family” atmosphere and camaraderie. Its an empowering sport for women. I try to recruit as many women as I can. Melissa Christian
Amanda ‘Arh’ Hoffman Team Wulfpak, home field is Skirmish USA.
I’ve been playing woods ball and scenario for about 10 years now and I love the community, the excitement, and the freedom. Where else can you hunt down your friends all day, then go share stories over a pint? During a shootout, you get this intense focus – on the field, nothing matters except the now. No emails, no distractions, no outside world – only the game. Before a big game, nothing matches the anticipation of waiting for game on – smack talk on the boards, driving up, gearing up, then waiting for the whistle. Paintball is also about freedom – once the goggles go on, you are a player! Your identity is no longer wrapped up in your race, gender, religion, job, etc — all that matters is how you play the game. You can reveal as little about your outside-world self as you’d like. You earn respect through your actions. In scenario, you can act out different persona’s and try different styles of play.
You might run into some idiots out there but you have to keep playing. They are the shrinking minority. If you are a stand-up honest player, we got your back. Try a different field, try a different style, find a team to run with, or start your own! I can’t say enough about how awesome the paintball community is – it’s a diverse, welcoming crowd that really comes together to help folks in need. Paintball itself also offers an escape from the everyday bs. I love all the kickass women I’ve met on the field. I value their wisdom and experience and hope I can pay it forward to the next generation. Amanda Hoffman
My name is Alicia and I am the captain of the all female team, Lethal Ladies from Brantford Ontario. We are a dedicated group of women who encourage women of all ages to try playing at least once! It only took one time to get me hooked! And we strive to be just as good as the boys if not better! This sport is easy to love when you are surrounded by your paintball family. As females in the sport we like to be treated as equals and everywhere we have been we are welcomed , that’s what keeps us coming back for more and we feel comfortable jumping in and trying new things.
I’ve been playing for about 2 years now and for me personally paintball is about that adrenaline rush you feel when you’re gearing up beside your team mates and friends getting ready for battle! Those early morning practices with the ladies that tested my every limit. Last but not least the satisfaction of seeing all your training, blood , sweat and tears pay off on the field . I am thankful to my paintball mentors who looked at me as another paintballer and Not just as a girl with a marker! They helped me get to where I am today and the strong , confident person I am on the field is result of hard work and dedication. I will continue to grow as a player, team mate, captain and friend. I am so glad that I decided to pick up a marker that day! I will continue to encourage others to do the same! Paintball is not just a sport to me…. It’s a lifestyle! I choose to live it for the rest of my life! Alicia Nicole
Annette “Pita” Culmer – Sofa Kingdom Paintball Team, Pita – Paintball Photographer
I was introduced to the sport of paintball 13 years ago but I have only really become involved since 2010 with Sofa Kingdom when I played my first scenario and have been hooked ever since. I love supporting my team and have taken on the roles of web designer, public relations, photographer, and team mom/sister. Just knowing my teammates have my back on and off the field is something I would not trade for anything. Besides playing I also am a ref and photographer at my home field, Poco Loco Paintball. I have made many friends who have become like family to me through this sport on my own team as well as other teams from NY, PA, NJ, MD and VA.
Paintball for me is a stress reliever. Because of that I have decided to share the sport with my son, who is 14 and has Aspergers, to help him with his stress of being bullied in school and as a topic that is more age appropriate with his friends since his other interests seem childish in their perspective. Paintball teaches him communication skills, teamwork, problem solving, and strategy. He is very timid on the field yet the more he is exposed to the game I believe he will become more comfortable in taking on more aggressive moves. The other thing that is great with paintball is that due to age differences from young to old, there just so happen to be two younger members on our team who also go to my son’s school but are a year ahead. They look out for him in school for me and they are someone he can go to if he needs to talk to someone. I couldn’t be more grateful for having them on my team. Annette Culmer
There you have it, from the women themselves! As I said, we all bring a story into paintball, we all contribute and we share one thing in common, ‘We Love This Sport!” Thank you ladies for participating, I truly enjoyed reading all of these, keep doing what you do and I will see you on a field soon! Golden Girl