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Parents versus kids

Rick Hulshof


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I take it you heard about this great sport from your friends, and you want to join them. Excitedly you asked mom and/or dad and heard a firm NO. Why did they give you this answer? Well read on and let’s see if I can help you a little bit. Also write down all the negative points that they mentioned so that if they are not covered here, you can research them and either prove them wrong or find an alternative.

Parents first and foremost in most cases are concerned about your safety, and want to see that you are raised in a manner that teaches respect and responsibility. Don’t get angry and fight about this – be thankful that they care. If you want the slightest hope to change their minds you have to focus on the negative aspects that they see and show them how paintball is the opposite.

Here are some common parental misconceptions of paintball and my views on them.

• Paintball is dangerous – This could be true in some cases but not in the “proper” way this sport is normally played. A well run commercial field (where you will should and likely be playing as it is you first time out) takes a lot of precautions to make sure that your time there is SAFE and ENJOYABLE. I won’t list example rules here but print out some rules from PBall fields websites to show them the precautions that are taken. Would (or do) your parents let you play soccer, baseball, football, water ski, snowboard, skateboard etc. etc. etc. Well paintball according to recent statistic’s show that paintball is safer than all of the above. Search these statistics out on the web – there are lots out there. Here’s one site if you are stuck in finding one www.paint-ball.org . Ask them before making a final decision on you participating in the sport to go to a “WELL RUN FIELD” with you and talk to the owner and watch a few games from the sidelines.

• Paintball is violent – I can see as a parent myself how they might think this. They see guns, war games, shooting, etc. But in truth paintball is more like playing a game of tag – the difference is that we tag each other from a distance, with a “Marker” (Never call it a gun – that gives the wrong impression of what this is) Honestly I think it teaches the opposite. I seldom see real violence (fighting) on the field. Most players learn respect for other players and staff at the fields. The ones that do overreact on or off the field in this sport tend to ostracized by other players.

• Paintball is expensive – Yes they are right – it is (but so are a lot of other sports/activities)! Dance lessons, piano lessons, hockey and other sports can cost a fortune – especially if you have to travel to do them. It comes down to cost verses what you get out of them. (some of these I will address shortly) So what can you do to deal with this aspect of cost? Maybe you can help out more around home. Maybe you could get a part time job or make you own little neighborhood business cutting grass, pool maintenance, maintaining flower beds etc.. This would help show that you are responsible and really are willing to compromise.

There are many other points you should have in mind and bring up when you talk to them, things such as:
• Paintball teaches respect – You will learn respect for field officials and other players.
• Paintball is a good source of stress relief and exercise – Everyone has stress, that is one of the main reasons I took up this sport. Paintball gives you an outlet and shows you a way to relieve it in a way that you get some exercise at the same time.
• Paintball teaches teamwork – learn to play with others as a group
• Paintball at the same time teaches you to work as an individual – many times we get stuck on our own and have to work through it.
• Paintball teaches decision making skills – you have to learn to think quickly on the spot or you’ll be tagged before your opponent.
• Paintball teaches sportsmanship – Most paintball players dislike a bad sport. Cheaters are quickly ostracized by there peers and you will see first hand the consequences of being a cheater or bad sport.
• Friendship – I left this until last because I think this is the biggest point I wanted stuck in your head’s. This is what I love most about the sport. Paintball is one of the few sports where you can get along with anyone regardless of age. I am 32 and I get along with the 15 year olds as well and respect them the same as anyone else on the field. If a 15 year old bunkers me I compliment him afterwards as most of them will to me is the role is reversed.

To expand and take advantage of this last point, why not invite one of your parents to play with you, if you are from a single parent home – what about there boyfriend/girlfriend. Many parents want to be part of there kids lives – especially if the kid is at the age where they want little to do with there parents. If you hook a parent on paintball – your life will be much easier (now you have 2 preaching the benefits).

I am not saying this will work for all of you. But I think if you keep these points in mind and approach your parents in a well thought out and responsible manner, that the points I brought up will help. Just keep your cool and be patient – try to see things from their side of the fence. If they do hold to NO – they are doing it because they think it’s the right thing to do. There is no way we can convince everyone how great this sport is.

I have been trying to convince my sister to let me take my nephew out to play and even with my arsenal of information (about 10 times what I have written here) she still holds her opinion – and I guess I have to respect that – DARNIT.

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