Sunday, February 8, 2009

Had a Crier Today

I had a woman sobbing at the field today. She wasn’t sobbing because she had been hit or hurt though. As a matter of fact, she hadn’t even started playing and she was sobbing almost uncontrollably.

She came up to the field today with her boyfriend, who was accompanying a couple of regular customers. They are all in their mid-late twenties, so not young for paintball standards. The boyfriend was renting and had played paintball a few times. His girlfriend had never played and was intending to only watch from the Safe Zone.

One of the regulars came up to me during one of the breaks and asked if I could give this girl a break on the cost. Seems they were working on her to give paintball a try, but she was very, very hesitant. That coupled with the cost was turning her off (she figured she would probably only try it for one game, if at all). I obliged and told her if she decided to play, I would waive the field fees for her.

After another little while, the regular (also female, come us to the Registration window with her friend and informs me that she is willing to give it a try. She introduced me to the young woman (names will kept anonymous to protect the innocent). The girl was shaking. I asked her if she was sure she wanted to try playing paintball and she quietly said yes. By this time her boyfriend was standing beside her.

I said. “OK”, and handed her a waiver to fill out. She started to fill it out and by the time she was finished she was crying a and shaking even more. Again I asked her if she was sure she wanted to do this. Again she said yes.

I went to get her rental equipment and when I got back she was talking to her boyfriend and between sobs was saying things like, “I am so stressed right now”, and “If anything happens I’m going to blame you”. She was joking, but crying all at the same time.

I gave her the rental gear, and a free 100 paintballs and told her she could use those to shoot her boyfriend. She smiled at that, still with tears running down her cheeks. I then gave her the safety speech and made sure she understood all the rules (her friends had already given her tons of information while trying to talk her into going, so I just made sure the safety stuff was drilled home.

The group sat out the next game as it was on Grog’s Nest, one of our smaller, more intense fields. When it was time to Urban Assault (there’s a wooded section on the field besides the “urban” part, they hopped into the game. I wasn’t on the field reffing, so I lost track of them at that point.

After about 15 minutes, the two regulars came back from the playing field. They had both been marked out before the game timed out. I asked where their friend was and if everything was OK. They smiled and said yes, everything was just fine. Their friend was on the ridge being a rambat. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but had a feeling she was having fun.

I didn’t see her return as I got distracted helping other customers. Apparently she ended up playing a few more games until the group had to leave. I did see our new player while she was handing in her rental gear and asked if it was as bad as she thought it was going to be.

“No, It was a lot of fun”, she said.

“Will you come back and play again?”

“You bet I will”.

That made my day.

By the way, the tears were all gone and I have a felling they are gone for good (at least at the paintball field).


  1. Watching the transition from fear and anxiety to smiling and confident is one of my favorite benefits of the job. I think it's important that you emphasized that she do not have to play if she didn't want to. I tell them I would rather not have them on the field if they are to frightened to function. Thanks for sharing your story.