Paint ball

Paintball has become recognized as one of the world's most exciting outdoor recreational sports. Paintball was started in 1981 by a group of 12 people in New Hampshire. It's played in more than 45 countries by millions of people of all ages and lifestyles. Paintball is played as a recreational hobby as well as a professional, international sport with prizes as high as $1,000,000. Contrary to popular belief (as long as the game is played according to the rules of safety) paintball is actually proven to be safer than bowling, badminton, and even Little League Baseball!

Paintball is a combination of "tag" and "capture the flag," but is much more challenging and sophisticated. The object of the game is to capture a flag and return it to either your base or theirs. Players are "marked" by a paintball that is expelled from the paintball marker, signifying their elimination from that round of play. Paintball games usually run from twenty to thirty minutes in length. (Some special games will go longer and allow eliminated players to "recycle" back into the game.) Referees start and stop the games as well as enforce the safety rules and game regulations.

Paintball markers come in a huge variety of styles, sizes, configurations, and budgets. The most common marker used today is the semi-automatic marker which uses C02 or compressed air (also called "HPA") to expel the ball and re-cock the firing mechanism. Paintballs are .68 caliber, which is almost three-quarters of an inch in diameter and weigh about three grams. Paintballs are manufactured by several different companies and come in a variety of colors, quantities, and qualities. Like most anything else, there are budget-priced paintballs and premium-quality paintballs. The major difference between the two is consistency in size and shape, which are two of the major contributing factors in marker accuracy. The age (freshness) of the paintballs counts, too.

Like a game of chess, being able to think quickly is what gives you the edge. Physical size and strength are not as important as intelligence and determination. Another great part of the game is the team-building and strategizing as you and your team try to capture the flag.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Most people that have not played Paintball before have no idea what to expect. The most common questions is: does it hurt when you get hit? If you get hit by a paintball fired from close range (20 feet or less) it does sting a bit. But most people will tell you that after the first time you've been hit, it rarely is an issue. Lost Valley has a "surrender rule" in place (in recreational play) so that people don't get hit from too close a range.

Once you're on the field, watch what the regulars are doing, where they are going, and how they play the game. More often than not, the regular players at the field are more than friendly and are willing to help new players. The same goes for field owners and managers. Ask any questions that come up, and most everyone is more than willing to help. Start out slow and don't expect too much in the first game or two. Once you're comfortable (and have been shot a few times) the game will probably come naturally, and will become a lot more fun.