Do you remember your first time?
My name is Tanner McIver, I am 13 years old and I have been pit crew for Dye sponsored team Hard2Overcome for 3 years who my dad is team owner & captain based in Victoria Australia. Devon Stutz from Dye Asia even arranged for me to have my own Ultralite team playing gear with my name and favourite number. I love paintball and go with the team to every training and tournament, but because of the laws in Victoria I am unable to play paintball until the age of 18.
For over a year I have wanted to go to South Australia where the age to play paintball is only 10. So this year my parents agreed that they would take me over there to play for the first time for my birthday.
So at 4.30am Friday 4th April, Dad, Mum, my younger brother Kayden and I hit the road for our 800km trip to Adelaide where I would get to play paintball. To make the 10 hour trip go faster I slept as much as I could and watched DVD’s and what seemed like forever by 2.30pm we had arrived at the motel. After a short rest dad asked me to get my gear ready for the morning as we were going to go out for dinner in Adelaide and wouldn’t be back until late. As soon as we got back to the room that night I went straight to bed knowing the sooner I went to sleep the sooner I would wake up and play paintball.
We woke at 7am and headed off to the field which was only 10 minutes away. I was excited and helped dad set up the markers which until today I have not been able to touch. Dad set up his DM13 that he used all last year for me, and once the other people arrived we went onto the field and I got to shoot my first paintball over the chrono.
I hopped in with the players doing drills and practiced crawling in the snake and popping up to aim across the field. Then my dad took me aside and had me practice laning off the break at a small target he had set up down the other end of the field. After a while he then got me to run and gun at the target as if I was going out to a corner bunker. Dad made me do it on both my left and right hand so I would be used to shooting with both hands later in the day, and it was really fun shooting loads of paint but I couldn’t wait to shoot at other people.
After a short break and a drink I was asked by the players training to shoot a lane from the centre back bunker to the snake entry and they would try and make it into the snake. It was so cool shooting everyone as they tried to get into the snake and I used a lot of paint which was great.
I also got to shoot dads DM14 a bit which is a sweet looking marker and everyone else kept asking to have a go of it while dad was gun teching for people.
After a short break and reloading my pods and tank we were ready to play some 3v3 games. I was so pumped and dad asked did I want to play with him or against him, so I said I wanted to play against him as I wanted to shoot at him. Off the break I ran to the snake and crawled along and popped up and started shooting at who ever I could see. My heart was racing as I got my first ever “G” and to watch the ball hit the player and break was great, then suddenly I got shot in the goggles. We played a couple of more games and I got to shoot people before being shot.
Next game was even more fun as I popped up to see my dad shooting at the guy in the back bunker and I shot him in the middle of his goggles. My dad started laughing and walked off and then I realised there was only one player left in so I got up and ran down the snake and bunkered him, which is something I have seen my team do so many times and it was such a buzz, but the biggest buzz was shooting dad in the face.
We went back to the pits and reloaded and this time I went onto Dad’s side. I played snake again and had a ball bounce off me which hurt more than the ones that broke but still was not that bad. In fact as the day went on and the more games I played the less the paintballs hurt as I was having too much fun. It was cool standing alongside Dad and playing paintball with him. In the end I had the best day ever playing a great sport I can’t wait to play again and again.
When we got back to the motel to meet up with mum and my younger brother I went and had a shower and couldn’t wait to check out all of the hits on me. Mum just smiled and shook her head as I proudly pointed them out and told her about each one. Both Dad and Mum said I couldn’t stop talking all night about the day. That night I slept so well and we left early once again to return home, but this time I slept lots more on the way back.
I want to thank my parents for taking me to South Australia to play paintball, and thank everyone that was at the field who allowed me to shoot them and it’s a day I will never forget. A big thanks to everyone on Hard2Overcome for all the text messages and support. And thank you to Devon Stutz and Dye for helping the team get me this cool Ultralite gear, it’s so comfy.