Why I said YES to building a WNXL Pro Women’s Paintball team.
I truly believe that if we ever want to see women competing on the pro field alongside the men - two things need to happen.
One - they need to be able to compete at that level.
Two - they need to be seen.
After bringing the Paintball Combine to life and watching Team USA Paintball become an aspiration for so many up and coming talented players, it was hard to think of a better way to make this tangible and possible goal a reality.
With the best and most talented women in paintball committed to working in unison to help encourage more women to get started and to stay dedicated - they become visible role models to the many daughters, wives, girlfriends and friends of partners, teammates and idols while showcasing themselves to an audience that may not quite realize their talent or their power.
Imagine sitting in the stands with your family or your SO at World Cup watching a field full of women tearing it up.
Imagine being inspired.
Inspired to do more than just fill pods or an empty spot on the field at every practice.
Inspired to want to compete at the highest level, to travel and to become an ambassador, a mentor - the same as the men.
Inspired to put yourself out there, meet new people, build lifelong friendships and be one more player who lives for this game.
The truth is, this moment only happens with the support of an industry, field and team owners, the community at large and a league willing to organize it and put some skin in the game.
Yes, women can and do compete right alongside the men.
But looking in at the Pro division now - you would never know that.
It is a shame really - in a sport where that CAN happen and hasn’t.
When it does, THAT will be the day paintball truly becomes the most inclusive professional sport on the planet.
So shouldn’t we try?
If we want to get to the Olympics, we have to have women’s teams.
What’s finally unfolding here takes away from exactly no one. The girls can still play with their local teams, the guys ... and should.
The fact is - women’s paintball has the potential to be so much bigger than it is, so isn’t it time we did something to change that?
I guess that’s a rhetorical question.
Because we are doing something to try to change that.
So instead of why, maybe ask how can you help.
Tell all the players and potential players you know that a women’s pro league is starting.
If you’re going to be at World Cup - fill the pro stands for the WNXL Exhibition Match on Saturday from 12:30-1:30 and be encouraging. Please remember, YOU are setting an example here too.
Tell them that there are teams forming in regions all over the country and that if they aren’t on one yet - they can reach out to any of them and ask how to get involved - show up where they are, practice with them, get connected.
Tell them the goals of this league are to get more girls and women playing - to become mentors and ambassadors, to get women players noticed and allow them the chance to earn endless opportunity.
Tell them that you support their wish to become one of the best pro players in the game and that you will help them get there.
Tell them that these girls can 🤬play.
In the midst of what happened with Team USA over the summer, many things made themselves abundantly clear.
The world at large does not know or care about paintball the way that we do.
When working hard to combat the negativity while trying to show millions of new eyes the best of our community, this community did not always show the world its best.
There was a lot for us to learn in that moment and I convey this hoping to make it understood that there is much work we collectively can and still need to do.
It is my sincere hope that players and fans who love our game see the women’s league as a huge plus for our sport and choose positivity first - allowing these ladies the chance to represent what is truly special about paintball.
This is a big way in which you get to give back all of the support and encouragement countless number of women in your lives have given to you.
See, we have always thought of us all as one team.
My team, The Heroines, will be competing at World Cup and will be playing in the WNXL Exhibition Match on Saturday alongside the Femme Fatales, the Destiny Dames, Dallas Vibe and the Sacramento Diamonds.
Each of these teams are focused and excited to get to work. We know the expectations are high and we are ready.
Please feel free to find any of us, meet the ladies and hear more about upcoming tryouts any chance you get.
Let’s go girls.