As you may already be aware, paintballing as a sport has already gathered a number of players who, like myself and others involved in this project, are playing with various levels of disability. Those players are very happy and proud to have been made so welcome by the players and industry alike. Both players and sites have almost without exception cheerfully provided real help with access to the sport, whilst at the same time not putting players with physical problems into a separate category and offering help without pity (they shoot us, after all). This is actually rather outside our collective experience in other areas of life; being disabled is not easy and can result in hardships both physical and financial as well as limiting ways to have fun, and very few sports are as accepting of disabled players as ours.
In the wake of the Paralympic games and increased awareness of disabled sport, a group of paintballers already playing with disabilities have gathered to raise awareness of both how it is possible to play the sport whilst disabled to encourage new players with problems to perhaps try for themselves, and draw attention to the number of players with physical problems who have already been welcomed to the sport so inclusively and thank the industry, sites and players for making them feel part of the family so cheerfully and openly. The group is also looking at ways to modify equipment both medical and paintball to make it easier to use for those less able and share those ideas already developed by the members whilst playing.
With this in mind we have created a Facebook group (link below) as a focal point for this concept and have assembled a team to hopefully play at the London Millennium this year in D3, under the name ‘Unlimited’, with the idea of fielding all disabled players. This will help showcase the accessibility of the sport to those who might have dismissed it as not suitable, and hopefully show both inside and outside interests such as media that all are welcome to play and participate. If we are able to achieve this goal we will then look to expand the concept to include long term ‘Unlimited’ projects such as scenario and tournament teams providing disabled players with support, encouragement and practical advice.
We are approaching companies in the hope of any support they can offer the group, the team and for the idea of disabled paintball in general. With that in mind we are respectfully asking if your company would be able to offer any help in terms of support, publicity and encouragement, but also more tangible help as being a disabled person in the UK can be a very expensive business and some of our proposed players will not be able to entirely fund their efforts to play a major event. Please consider this request, ask if there are any questions raised, and if you might be interested in offering support then many thanks in advance and please let us know what form that support may take; many of our players are fully equipped but we will have need of some kit, paint, possibly a little help with a spare room as some of our players cannot easily camp, and most importantly the backing and encouragement of an already very supportive and inclusive industry. We can use anything from markers to squeegees and pots and all contributions will be gratefully received and acknowledged in all publicity, on jerseys etc. If during these tough times material support is not available then thank you for your time and please let us know as soon as conveniently possible as we have limited time and lots to do, and thanks on behalf of those already playing for your support and help in this amazing pursuit we all enjoy.
Our Facebook Page can be found here:- https://www.facebook.com/groups/128561354006014/
I look forward to hearing from you.