A recent video uploaded by Mike caught my attention, in particular because of the surprising amount of flak he took for suggesting that new/rental players should be fully integrated with all of the players day one. In part, because, heck that is how I thought we all learned to play, hence this thread. My belief has always been that playing better players will help you grow into a better player faster than playing exclusively with other walk-ons (true of any sport really). Thus, imagining a field where the experienced players would deny new players the oppurtunity to learn from playing them is just sad to me, it seems way more elitist or snobby to refuse to play a player bc of their experience/skill level than to show them the respect you would show any opponent and compete as hard as you can. I am not saying bunker a 10 year old and light them up like a christmas tree, but bunkering them and getting them a few times is actually going to help them learn that staying down the whole time is worse than getting shot from farther away earlier. In any case, the point of this is to talk about how you were introduced to paintball and how the more experienced players helped you grow.
For me, I started playing back in 2000 when I was 12 with a bunch of older kids in the neighborhood. Most of the people I played with were 3 or 4 years older and had been playing for a few years before me. Never-the-less they went after me tenaciously my first year playing, which made me grow into a skilled player very quickly. Just in order to join the paintball crew you had to run down the railroad tracks while getting shot at (everyone I play with regularly has done this), while this may seem to be hazing or bullying to some. I was glad to have done it, because after getting lit up once you know how getting hit with a paintball feels and no that it won't ever get much worse than that. Did I quit because of it, heck no! I thought the adrenaline was awesome, and in spite of not getting anyone out (that is right, zero eliminations) my first 3 days of playing with them, I still loved it so much. I think a large part of this was because I knew when I finally got one of those guys it would be because I had earned it with the skills I had aquired. When that first elimination finally happened, all the older kids celebrated with me. I know it can seem unfair when you have a rental marker against a bunch of customized high tech wrecking machines in capable hands, but if you hang in there you WILL be better off for it. Heck, if it weren't for older more experienced players dragging a younger newbie around I may have never played. I look forward to reading some of your stories and hope that this thread is enjoyable for all