One day as a volunteer at a hospital, on a smoke break with old man Joe, I asked him what was the one thing in life that made you the happiest? He was a veteran, you could tell he had the healed stubs of a wounded soldier. I was taken aback by his answer when he said my days as a paratrooper... He smiled a smile I've never seen on this old joker. It was peaceful, and his eyes lit up as his memories rushed by. I asked after all you went through why that was his best of times? He had talked to me a couple times about the realities of war, at the time I was thinking about joining. He had also made it clear he disliked war. His answer was a cool one though. He said I just liked jumping out of planes... He was an awesome and wise old dude. He taught me a lot about a lot of things. RIP.
One day on the paintball field. In the first game, of my first tournament, I shot three people, pulled my first flag, and won my first game. Before the tournament I had practiced hard, played when I could, and gave it my all. It played off. I will always remember that tournament. Even the team that shot my team out off break and bunkered the hell out of me in the semi finals. I was myself.
I walked back to a truck looking back on all I had given to the sport up to that point and having to swallow my pride and know that the next time I stepped on those fields I'd be a stronger player, on a strong fucking team. I loved the feeling of practicing too hard and throwing up. I remember my legs burning behind a Dorito. And it miss it. I let a lot of life get in the way of my dreams and even though didn't realize it at the time, I learned something important from Mr. Joe. Long after his death. You will be happiest no matter what as long as you strive for what you want and love it with every fiber of your being.
As a player who walked away from the game and is itching like hell to step onto the field again... I know paintball to me is the sport that taught me life. I loved it because no matter what I did it was in everything I did. I dreamed paintball, watched, played and lived paintball. And 2 years later I still crave the feelings I had on the field. the brotherhood of a team. down to the electric buzz you can almost feel at any given paintball tournament. The paintball community itself. I miss the sport. I have dreams of opening a field/community-student center. I have business plans and would like to pursue this dream along with many others. I'm nervous but I'm going to do what I can.
I won't quit again.