To the Editor:
It is rather co-incidental that just as I was contemplating writing to the Thompson Citizen about a recent paintball experience, an article is published promoting paintball as a family-oriented sport. I will come right out and say that I am, on many levels, ethically opposed to making a game out of war-like activities, but the purpose of this letter is not to debate the value of such - to each their own. I rather would like to share with others my views on having a son participate in the local paintball experience.
It was with much trepidation that I left my son in the company of his peers at the Lock n' Load paintball site a few weekends ago. There was no orientation for newcomers while I was there, nor afterwards my son informed me; next to no rules of conduct or "engagement" explained or expected it seemed. No padded suits for rent (or recommended) but lots of paint balls for sale - boxes and boxes of them with fancy names like "Stingers" and "Nightmares" and even grenades!Time to rock n roll, or should I say, "lock 'n load, dude!"
Heck, the only thing which seemed to really matter, besides how many paintballs my son could afford to purchase, was that I signed a waiver (my son is not yet 18) absolving Lock n 'Load of any responsibility for injury and/or death.
Curious thing was, that on the waiver I had to leave a telephone number in case of emergency. I looked around at the awning-covered tables, which serve as a main booth, for a telephone. No sign of Bell's invention here. Ah, cell phones - the person at the table must have a cell phone - everyone but a Luddite like me has one of those these days. Indeed; but, "no cell service here," I was told. Reassuring; in case of emergency I guess someone could run down to the road where they should be able to pick up a signal or flag a passing car?
Sounds real good: my confidence in the activity did not increase by leaps and bounds. One would think that if I have to sign a waiver acknowledging the inherent danger of the activity, that there would be atelephone available for immediate use in the event of an emergency - I mean even I do not go out in the bushwithout satellite phone anymore.
My son returned, bruised and alive but an hour and a half late - he couldn't call to let me know they were delayed. Contrary to Jeremis Ouellette's statement in last week's article that "once you actually play it ... it's really addictive," my son'sviewpoint was something more along the lines of, "Why would I pay to get hurt?"Smart kid, eh? Fun "family sport"? Not this family. Oh, and Tim Johnston, I'd be a little nervous.