As someone that spent long hours both in and outside of work sitting, finding a sport that combined teamwork, enjoyment of the outdoors in a unique way and quick thinking with a community that crossed age and gender barriers I was able to quickly become an active part of the community.
Prior I would spend disgustingly long hours on weekends, weekdays or time-off from working sitting at home playing computer games, given the lack of sports that combined my interests I was finding I was at risk of beginning to develop both physical and mental health issues, including an impact in my social skills do to disassociation with virtual and real world experiences.
Being introduced to gelball by a work colleague I quickly took an interest in the sport, and over the span of 2 months, receiving my first gel blaster and joining groups online dedicated to the sport I was able to break out of my prior long built habit and attended my first outdoor game.
The experience which features lots of running, crawling and communication with a group of then strangers was over in what felt like a 3-4 hour period, although over 7 hours had passed.
Given my prior lack of exercise and movement I was in pain the following week from the full day event, but I was determined to continue with the sport.
The following game event we had several parents bring their younger family members, equipped like all the other members with suitable eye protection and a healthy approach to the sport, they were the talk of many of the game changing events as they had boundless energy when playing the role of medic reviving their downed team-mates, joining their team to capture an objective or holding a position.
Later game days would see many more partners of regular players and families joining the events, assisted by the low cost of the gelball sport.
14 months, over a dozen game days attended and several additional gel blasters later I am finding that while I cannot make every outdoor game I have spent countless hundred’s of hours (especially during the COVID lock-down periods) rebuilding and replacing parts in my gel blasters keeping my mind and hands busy away from computer and other screens.
This sport has helped me both physically and mentally since being introduced to the toys and I am thankful to the community and the staff that run the events with each event creating a fond memory, including the pre-game safety meetings, banter, break time hydration checks from a staff member with a great sense of humour and the end of game day matches when less than 10 players including staff were left with enough energy to see out just 1 more game.