As we’ve mentioned before, paintball has perhaps one of the most interesting heritages of any extreme sport around: in the 70s, a couple of guys realised they had cattle markers that fired balls of paints and thought “wait a minute, we’re missing a trick here”. The rest, as they say, is history. But is it? Paintball made it’s way through the 80s with little recognition, until it hit the mainstream in the 90s, when Bedlam started. Coincidence? I think not.
However, fast-forward to 2010 and paintball has exploded (excuse the pun) in popularity and is considered the fastest growing sport in the world today. Being played in over 110 countries, by an estimated 15 million people, it’s now more popular than surfing, snowboard and even rugby.
If you ask us, the reasons it’s taken off so well are pretty clear. First of all, it’s a sport based on ideas that everyone can relate to from their youth. Tag? Yep, I played that at school. Hide & Seek? I played that too! Combine them together with some woodland and a paintball marker and you have the makings of a game surely no one can refuse? Plus there is the huge amount of potential for groups to get involved, with motivational and team-building elements in spades. You’ve really got to wonder why paintball isn’t an Olympic sport? Don’t worry, many other people have wondered this too.
Also, the last few years seem to have seen a surge in improving personal fitness (just think how often you get invites from people looking for 10km run sponsorship?) and, luckily, a lot of folk have twigged that a gym isn’t the only place to get in shape. Though we wouldn’t primarily advertise paintball as a good way of getting fit, it certainly will help. And we reckon no sport make as much use of strategy, focus, action and exhilaration as paintball does either.
Why else might paintball be on the rise? Well for a start it’s fashionably eco-friendly, with biodegradable paintballs and sites that make brilliant use of protected conservation areas. And it even finds space to fit in numerous movie and television references, which certainly can be said for darts, fishing or badminton. Seriously though, how many sports can be enjoyed (and I mean really enjoyed, not just slogged out) by anyone over the age of 12, in the outdoors whatever the weather, with seriously good fun at their core? I can’t think of any others. And, c’mon, what other sport lets you deliberately eliminate an opponent without getting penalised?
You don’t have to be an athlete to take part in paintball, everyone starts on an even footing and, finally, it’s a sport for people who love gadgets. Perfect!
See you in the field.