I like to draw parallels between the paintball industry and the snowboarding industry.
At first glance this may seem a little odd, but they both started in a similar time (around the 1980s) and they are both represented by an older group and a much younger group of folk. A group who in some form or another has been full of misfits of sorts, cut from a different cloth. In essence, those of us who play paintball, and snowboard in a sense, often can have a problem with uptight blowhards.
This brings me to the subject of this blog. Apparently, a few of our neighbors around town don’t like us too much *gasp!*. You see, in the DAM video review/efficiency test we built up this sweet shooting range. OMG SAFETY PATROL! Now there is no netting, but there is a natural safety feature built in. We have a huge distance of open area for the paint to fall that is closed off to the public, thus eliminating the need for netting. Being that we spent all this time building the target range up; we are obviously going to be the children that we are at heart and just want to shoot paint at it. I mean, why not?
It’s post 5PM and we are outside just messing around with our newest toys the Dye DAM, GOG eNMEy and Valken Proton. We have some older paint we bought a long time ago that ended up staining, and we are not going to sell that to customers so it has been kept as tech/shooting/boredom paint in the office. We’re having a grand old time having target competitions & shooting the crap out of our new range when big blue shows up.
This wasn’t in the “tap you on the shoulder I have a question” type of way, no, this was a legitimate Hollywood moment. Ethan turned and at that exact moment *BOOM* all of the lights on the cruiser turn on and blind us all. Sweet eye squinting interrogation room vibe, if you catch my meaning.
Now, we’re a business, we have had to work with the police on a few occasions in our time at Broomfield. Truth be told, the Broomfield Police are absolutely spectacular individuals and we have always had a good experience with them. This experience was no different :). So, after the lights were turned down and we were able to see, the police just asked us what we were doing. They could see we were clearly product testing, and that we were within the guidelines of the law and.. honestly, that we weren’t dumb kids with dangerous tools acting all foolish. They informed us that someone had called about “gunshots” – more specifically, a revolver. I’m not sure how many of you have shot firearms before.. but a revolver does not really have a specific sound signature. It certainly does not compare to a paintball gun, by any stretch of the imagination.
At any rate, this was not the first time this had happened, and we could clearly tell the cops had the attitude that they knew they were checking in on something that did not need to be checked on. The best part about the entire experience is that the officers informed us that if they were to be called on to our location like this again, they would politely inform the caller that we were within the guidelines of the law and they can cool their jets. In parting, one of the officers said that they were quite jealous of us being able to just sit out back and shoot paintballs at stuff for fun. And I quote “Ok, you guys enjoy yourselves, it looks like a lot of fun… I’m jealous” *wistful look*
Bringing this right around back to my original statement. How often as paintballers do you all have to deal with some ignorant ass who thinks you are just some dumb kid shooting the town stop signs? What are some of your stories of having to deal with a little guff because you like to shoot gelatin filled with food product at inanimate objects.. or most importantly other ballers!
Most importantly, to keep these stereotypes from continuing, play paintball responsibly and safely. Don’t give people a reason to dislike us, make them envy us! Just like the Broomfield police :).