Person of Interest
Captain of Annihilators
Gutsy gal: Jessica Mace, 29, spends her nights studying at Edison State College and works as a pharmacy technician during the day. She goes bowling with her husband, Nicholas, every Saturday. But on Sundays, Mace is the team captain of the Annihilators Too, a paintball team based in Fort Myers.
A woman’s will: In the two-and-a-half years Mace has played, she has risen in rank to a Division Four (two steps better than a beginner) player, become captain of a winning team and led said team to the World Cup. But that isn’t enough for her. "I constantly have to be playing better than other players, so I can prove that I can do it, too. And I have to say that when we win games it’s double the excitement for me because we won and I’m a girl. It shows that I can do it just as well as they can."
A painful pastime: Mace loves the adrenaline of playing and the guys on her team, but getting hit with a paintball still hurts. "The best way to describe the pain is that it’s like someone flicking you, but really hard and fast. The pain varies from spot to spot; head shots always seem to hurt the most. Right away, you can see an inflamed circle in the spot it hits. Sometimes the skin breaks, or you may get a blood blister."
Potential players: Mace wants nothing more than for more women and girls to join the sport she has grown to love. "Just give it a chance. The guys are nice and—I don’t really like it when they do it—they try not to hurt you. Like if you’re wearing a pack, they’ll usually try to shoot you there. Or they’ll come up afterward and apologize for shooting you."
Passport passion: Outside the arena, Mace has great goals. "My big dream is to start traveling out of the country to places like Italy and Scotland. I can’t wait to start filling up my passport."