It was another good day at TNT Paintball yesterday. Why a good day? People had fun. With about 100 people in attendance, playing in three separate games, there were no major conflicts, disagreements, or arguments. In all honesty, I consider most days at the field good days for those reasons.
We had our fair share of tweens and teens, mostly boys, a few women thrown into the mix and probably about 50% men 18 or older. It was not actually a totally typical day as far as demographics go (although it wasn’t particularly unusual either) as the number of women was a little higher than normal. Some days we can have 100 people and have no women at all. It’s always been the industry’s hope that more women would get involved in paintball. First to increase the numbers by widening the demographics, but also with more women at paintball fields, it’s only natural for even more men to show up. Funny how that works.
Quite often the women that do come to the field, play a lot less than the men do. They show up, play a couple of games and then sit and wait for the men to finish having their fun. Many even come prepared with a book in hand. That tells me that they knew before they even got to the field, that they may be bowing out early.
I’m not a Psychologist or an anthropologist, but I’ve always been interested in why people do what they do. As a paintball field owner, obviously I’m interested in why people play paintball and conversely, why they don’t. Men prefer to play paintball much more than women. That’s a given. But why?
My take on it is that paintball, although a game in that everyone takes part willingly and people play it for fun, is still basically a hunting or battle game. Players hunt players but they are also hunted. Throughout humankind existence, who have been the hunters? Men, of course. Women stayed back (and did basically everything else) while the men put themselves in danger hunting their prey, or while battling other tribes. Sure there have been a few women throughout history that have taken part in the dangers of battle (Joan of ark comes to mind), but, just like they are rarely seen at a paintball field, they were few and far between. It’s just not part of most women’s instincts. It is for men though. But even men have varying amounts of that primal instinct. There have always been men that take the leading roll in the charge of battle and also those that fall back a bit and take a little less intense roll.
But we are talking paintball, not hunting Sabre Tooth Tigers or fighting the battle of Stalingrad. It’s a game and a player can choose to quit anytime they feel uncomfortable. I guess that’s why some of the women bring books. The instinct to take part in battle is not strong in women. It probably never will be.
Next time we’ll try to analyze why players continue playing even though they may not have strong primal instincts and how they cope.