Paint(ball)ing the town red

Doug Montgomery gets ready to start firing ‘Double Trouble,’ his double-barreled paintball gun, from a bunker. Below, Casey Knowles, 17, uses his camo in finding a good sniping spot during a recent paintball outing. - Photos courtesy of Doug Montgomery
Doug Montgomery gets ready to start firing ‘Double Trouble,’ his double-barreled paintball gun, from a bunker. Below, Casey Knowles, 17, uses his camo in finding a good sniping spot during a recent paintball outing.
— image credit: Photos courtesy of Doug Montgomery

It is fitting that a man who uses a twin Gatling-style gun dubbed “Double Trouble” to play paintball is doing two very interesting things.

For one, Doug Montgomery is coaching the first scenario-specific paintball team in the Northwest, Tainted Youth PB, and just the second in the country, here on the Kitsap Peninsula.

The other amazing thing is that Montgomery himself is playing paintball and doing it quite well. What makes this an impressive feat is the former Marine competes in the sport despite not having the use of his legs.

Montgomery, diagnosed with continued progressive multiple sclerosis in 1998, has been in a wheelchair for the past year and nine months.

Find him on a paintball field, however, and you are not always going to find him in that chair.

“I have a very strong upper body, I’ll crawl along the ground,” Montgomery said. “It’s fighting demons. That’s the best definition I have.”

Any limitation his body may give him, Montgomery more than compensates by utilizing his military knowledge and a wicked weapon that strikes fear into the hearts of opposing players. The sport has given Montgomery a new outlook in the wake of trying times.

“I’m not gonna lie to you. Life is tough. I credit paintball for saving my life,” Montgomery said. “I was dealing with what I would call demons. I went from one extreme to the next, being a motorcycle racer to being in a wheelchair.”

Montgomery plays with Team Impact, a strong local team, writes paintball product reviewsand is reaching out to kids and teaching them the character and values he learned as a Marine through the sport.

In November, a parent asked him if he would start a youth program. Montgomery jumped into it with guns blazing. He has gathered a group of kids who love the game and are committed.

The coach has outlined team rules that are clear and strict but fair. Having at least a 2.8 GPA is one of the rules and like the other team standards which must be met, there is no wiggle room. It is something parents like and have supported him in.

“I’ve been really excited that the parents of these kids have been really involved with the program ... because I really appreciate the feedback,” Montgomery said.

The players who range in age from a 13-year-old girl to an 18-year-old boy are also responsible for maintenance on their home park, Paradise Paintball in Port Orchard. Montgomery put the players to work and came away impressed with the grounds afterward.

“They shocked me and even exceeded my expectations,” he said. “I really was just like ‘Wow.’ Everyone who saw it was impressed. They were just like, ‘Geez, you’ve got these kids trimming the greens here or what?’”

Incidences such as the cleanup work are giving Montgomery the idea that he is doing the right thing in teaching his players the Corps values of honor, courage and commitment.

“Seeing the commitment out of these kids is phenomenal. They want to do this. They want to be something special,” he said. “I’m teaching them life skills and how to live with a sort of honor.”

Montgomery is planning to take his team to some of the biggest events in paintball this summer, traveling to Spokane and the Oregon cities of Lebanon and Molalla. Right now they are amped up to host as many as 200 players this weekend in a “Postal Wars” scenario Montgomery helped create which is growing rapidly in popularity in the world of scenario paintball.

“Scenario paintball is different, you’re taking a storyline and you’re bringing it to life,” Montgomery said. “The success we are having with this scenario is amazing.”

What working with youth is doing in Montgomery’s life is even more amazing.

“When I’m doing this, I’m enjoying my life. I’m not thinking about this chair,” he said. “I’m thinking about what are these kids going to say next to make me laugh. What are they going to do next to make this a better day for me. We have a lot of fun.”

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