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Paintball is a fast and furious sport. It is played on both a social and serious level by over 16 million people around the world (Cooke,11). It is one of the fastest growing sports on the planet. Paintball's history, games, guns, and safety are all part of the fun.
In 1970, James Hale, an engineer, invented and patented the first commercially successful paintball gun. Paintball guns were first used by the National Forest Association to mark trees that would be cut down. Then, it was used to mark cattle by cowboys. One night while sitting around a campfire, one cowboy shot another and that is how the game of paintball got started. This �splotchmaker� can rightfully claim to be the grandfather of modern paintball guns (Peters, 73).
Over the next two decades, Daisy Manufacturing Co. Inc. of Airgun Frames manufactured these guns under contract for the Nelson Paint Co. During this twenty year span, paintball evolved from a �survivalist� game into the wholesome, exciting, family game it is today.
In paintball, there are two teams equipped with paintball markers. These are basically low-powered airguns that fire small capsules of paint. It is not a dangerous sport. The only real danger is getting hit in the eye with a paintball. Wearing specific goggles made for paintball easily stops this danger. This rule is strictly enforced at all reputable playing fields worldwide. Obviously if a player is out of sight of the referee and takes off his mask, then he is looking for trouble. American Insurance statistics show that it is safer to play paintball than to play golf or go fishing (Pierce, 17). Getting hit by a paintball generally does not hurt. You may get an occasional bruise, but on the whole the game is not painful. The excitement certainly outweighs any momentary discomfort a player may feel. To lesson the chance of being bruised, long sleeved shirts and pants are highly recommended. To be on the safe side, more than one layer should be worn. Bright colors should be avoided, purely because the more visible you are, the more likely you are to be shot. Most people like to wear camouflage clothing. This helps them to blend into the environment and not be easily shot. Also, good quality hiking or trail boots with ankle support is a good idea to protect both feet and ankles.
There are many different leagues and tournaments you can participate in as a player. In a league setting, you usually play a round robin. Each week you play a different team in the league until you have played all of the teams. Then, whoever has the best record wins the league. In a tournament, it is usually single elimination. If your team loses, then they are done. If they win, then your team gets to keep moving on. When it is finally down to two teams, they play for the championship. Whoever wins is the champion and they get a prize. Sometimes, it is money (up to five thousand dollars), cases of paintballs, or free entry into the next tournament.
There is a wide range of paintball guns on the market today. There are also various price ranges to go along with the various types of guns. The first kind of gun is the pump-action. This is the least expensive of the three types of guns. It is made of hard plastic and very little metal. The pump-action gun costs between fifty to one hundred dollars and shoots about 100 to 150 feet. This is a good gun for beginners or younger player because it is inexpensive and easy to use. Do not expect to be able to compete in tournaments with this gun. The next and most popular type of gun is the semi-automatic. It will shoot as fast as you pull the trigger. These are good; reliable guns made mostly of metal and very little plastic. This gun costs between two hundred and one thousand dollars and is a lot more accurate than the pump-action gun. It shoots over 300 feet per shot. Most people use this gun when they play. To make this gun last as long as possible, it should be oiled after every one thousand shots. The third and
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