AN INFORMATIVE LOOK AT THE EVOLUTION OF THE
EXCITING SPORT OF PAINTBALLAND COLLEGE PAINTBALL
By David Shaw
With Contributions From Chris Raehl
(National Collegiate Paintball Association)
and Russ Stebner
(Michigan Tech Paintball)
Chapter 1:The Game
Chapter 6:Paintball: The Number 4 Extreme Sport
Chapter 7:Paintball In College How To Start And Keep Together A College Paintball Organization Why Colleges and Universities Should Consider Paintball Why Paintball Needs College Teams
The GameIn almost 20 short years the sport of paintball has become recognized as one of the world’s most exciting outdoor "extreme" sports. Millions of men and women of all ages and lifestyles play Paintball in over 40countries. Whether homemakers, high school students, professionals, or retirees all paintball players share in common a love for adventure and a strong competitive spirit. Paintball is a sport where women and men compete equally. Where age is not dominated by youth. Like a game of chess, being able to think and act quickly and decisively is what makes you a star. Intelligence and not mere strength, speed, or agility is the keys to success in the sport of paintball.
Paintball is a combination of the childhood games of tag and hide and seek, but is much more challenging and sophisticated.
Although there are hundreds of different formats, typically a group of players divide into two or more teams to play "capture the flag". The numbers of players to a team can vary from one or two to hundreds, limited only by the size of the field and the imagination of the players.
The object of the game is generally to go out and capture a flag all the while trying to eliminate your opponent by tagging them with a paintball expelled from a special air gun. Games run from 5 minutes to hours generally depending on the number of players.
Between games, or after being tagged "out", players take a break to check their equipment, get more paintballs and to replenish themselves with food and sodas at a special designated "safe zone" all the while relishing in stories of victory or defeat. Win or lose, everyone has a great time and there is usually a next game waiting for you.
Paintball is a character building sport. Players learn teamwork, gain self-confidence and develop leadership skills while having fun and getting welcome stress relief. Increasingly many corporations are finding out the benefits of the use of paintball games for staff and management development. This has been portrayed in television and in the movies in many cases (LA Law).
Paintball is an exciting, adrenaline-based sport and above all paintball is fun! It’s a chance to shake off day-to-day responsibilities and rekindle your spirit of adventure. When the adrenaline starts coursing through your veins, you can’t help but love the thrill of the game.[Page Top]
PaintballsA paintball is a round capsule filled with colored liquid inside. The outer shell is usually made of a gelatin type complex which is very similar tithe coating found on pharmaceuticals. As a matter of fact companies that specialize in the production of pharmaceuticals make many paintballs.
The fill inside a paintball is made up of non-caustic, non-toxic, water soluble and biodegradable materials, Polypropylene Glycol. This is a chemical found in many over the counter medicines as a filler product. Although paintballs do not taste the best in the world, even swallowing thousands of them at most will cause only minor digestive discomfort. It rinses out of clothes and washes off with mild soap and water.
Paintballs come in a rainbow of colors. Most every color in the spectrum and many color combinations can be found. The outer shell can even be colored differently from the fill or can be swirled, striped, or two-tone.
When a paintball tags a player the thin outer shell of the paintball breaks open and the liquid inside "marks" the player out. The player is, therefore, out of that particular game. Usually the paint mark must be the size of a US quarter to be considered big enough to eliminate a player. Smaller marks are usually termed "splatter".[Page Top]
PaintgunsPaintguns are special air powered markers, which are as diverse in design and technology as the people who play the game. From simple air powered pump action paintball markers to sophisticated computer chip controlled electronic markers the price ranges from thirty dollars to almost two thousand dollars depending on the type of design.
Paintball markers use CO2, Nitrogen, or compressed air. Many have air systems that use large refillable air cylinders called "tanks" or "bottles" that literally give hundreds or thousands of shots before needing to be refilled. Some, as in the original type markers, use 12-gram powerlets, such as those found in the average pellet gun, each powerlet being good for 15 to 30 shots.
Although paintball markers range in design and specifications they all share limitations on power and range. Safety standards require that paintball markers be chronographed periodically using a recognized "chrono". The chrono measures the speed at which the paintballs are traveling when expelled from the marker. The international safe limit is well established at 300 feet per second, "fps".[Page Top]
SafetyFor safety, paintball players always wear goggles specifically designed for paintball play. These goggle are designed with protection from paintballs flying at speeds of 300 fps. Goggles must be worn at all times during paintball play and in areas where shooting is permitted in order to protect the eyes.
In addition to goggles, in many areas, a protective facemask is mandatory for all paintball play and should be worn as well as the goggles. Referees enforce paintball rules and safety. In most cases players are penalized and/or ejected from the game or perhaps even from the entire field for safety and rule violations. Paintball is a very safe sport when played correctly and safely. As seen in the statistics below paintball, in terms of injuries is safer than even golf.
The History of PaintballIn just a few short years, relative to other sports, paintball has developed into a sport recognized and played worldwide. From a simple beginning, a dream, of a few men, paintball, 20 years later it is a sport played by millions of men and women from all walks of life.
The first game of paintball was played in June of 1981, near Henniker, New Hampshire. Three men, Charles Gaines, Hayes Noels, and Bob Gurnsey, are given the credit for inventing the game.
The idea for the first game of paintball came up after discussing of African Cape Buffalo. Hayes Noel’s friend had just returned from the hunt to describe to Hayes the excitement, the surge of adrenaline and of a heightened sense of overall perception that came from the fear of facing the huge beasts with gigantic horns. He swore, to Hayes, that he could smell, hear, taste and feel more clearly in that environment of fear. It was a sensory, drugless high. Hayes and his friend were walking through the woods as he relayed the story and suggested that, as a lark, they try to simulate some of that same feeling. They stalked each other just as a hunter stalks his big game. As they did Hayes felt a tinge of the feelings that his friend had relayed to him, a tingle, a feeling of being particularly well toned and alive.
Later that year on the sands of Juniper Beach, Florida, at their vacation home, Hayes told the story to Charles Gaines. That is where they began to concoct the game of paintball. The problem, they saw, was creating the illusion of a dangerous atmosphere, the debate on who would win such a contest started at that moment. Country boy vs. city boy, etc. Thus the first competition began.
After spotting the first paintball markers, Nelson Markers, which were used primarily for marketing forestry and cattle. It was tested on a volunteer, Shelby; Charles’ son who said it did not hurt too badly. One thing led to another and what was initially called The Survival Game was born.
The invitations went out and drew nine people, each paying $175. The invitation opened with a quote, from a Greek comedic dramatist, which also appears also at the beginning of this page: A mans fate is but his disposition – Menander (342-262 BC).
From the simple roots of a game of survival came the sport that we know as paintball today. Gaines commented on the rapid growth of the game:
"All if it happened, I believe because the game extends itself naturally into a number of universally interesting metaphors. Playing the game can actually show you in its own terms who you are, and there is no more interesting metaphor than that. The game can be seen as a metaphor for the efficiency of teamwork, for universal cause and effect, and for the manner in which the consequences from sequential decisions. Some people even tell you it is a metaphor for war. We do not believe that is so, but I will not argue that point. The game may be interesting because of these metaphoric extensions, but it is not fun because of them; it is fun simply because it is fun. Conceived as a lark, it is a lark to play –an intricate, demanding and thrilling game of child’s play, which, like all the best of games can never be played perfectly. Play like that is always in short supply."
Paintball is an intricate game of players moving around a giant board comprised of a paintball playing field. The game is challenging, the game is exciting, but most importantly the game is fun. That is the primary reason for the growth from 1981 to six million people in less than 20 years time.[Page Top]
AMERICANS PUSH THE ENVELOPE' WITH EXTREME SPORTS
Most Popular Extreme Sports in the USA
# of Participants
1. In-line Skating
10,617,000 (25+ days/year)
2. Mountain Biking
2,254,000 (25+ days/year)
1,262,000 (52+ days/year)
793,000 (15+ days/year)
988,000 (15+ days/year)
6. Trail Running
1,145,000 (52+ days/year)
7. Artificial Wall Climbing
238,000 (15+ days/year)
548,000 (15+ days/year)
9. Mountain/Rock Climbing
196,000 (15+ days/year)
166,000 (15+ days/year)
This information has been abstracted from the new Superstudy of sports participation conducted by American Sports Data, Inc., which monitored an unprecedented 102 sports and fitness activities. This year’s study has measured an additional 42 sports/activities.
The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), owner of The Super Show®, is the trade association of North American manufacturers, producers, and distributors of sports apparel, athletic footwear, fitness, and sporting goods equipment. SGMA represents and supports its members through programs and strategies for sports participation, market intelligence and public policy.
All Rights Reserved 2000
Paintball is an Extreme Sport: Displaces Snowboarding as the #4 most popular alternative sports activity in the U.S.A.
Wednesday, January 12, 2000- Paintball News Corp.--Hillsboro, NH
Mitch Fay, 11, of Joliet, Ill., wanted to do something special with his family for his birthday last year. A bowling party was out. So was miniature golf. What he really wanted was a paintball party.
Mitch is not alone in his fascination with this engrossing, fast-paced game. Last year, American Sports Data, Inc., of Hartsdale, NY, which tracks national trends in sports participation reported that six million people played the sport at least once in 1998, three million of whom were newcomers, making it the fastest-growing extreme sports activity in the United States.
According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) following a recent analysis of its Superstudy on sports participation. "Paintball wasn't even on our radar screen a few years back," said Mike May, communications director for the SGMA. "Now were very much aware of it. Its an industry phenomenon."
During a game, the whistle of paintballs flying though the air and the pop-pop of paintball markers make adrenaline skyrocket. There is constant action, as players wearing colorful costumes streak by then disappear behind trees. The intense excitement and outdoor air heighten the senses.
Since its inception in the early 1980s, paintball--a kind of glorified game of capture-the-flag--has moved steadily into the mainstream. Once played by groups of middle-aged men in fatigues, the sport has become a popular for children's birthday parties and youth groups, corporate team-building outings, and families looking for fun and weekend exercise. More than 65 percent of players are under the age of 21 and 15 percent are women.
Corporate America is accelerating the trend. Three years ago, Brass Eagle, the nations largest manufacturer of paintball products, began mass-marketing its wares to retailers like Wal-Mart and K-mart, making the products highly accessible. Last year, The Coca Cola Company, Fuji Photo Film, U.S.A., Inc., and MCI WorldCom signed national marketing agreements with Paintball News Network, Inc., the industry's largest playfield and sports marketing organization, throwing its considerable marketing muscle behind the sport.
Good For Body, Mind, and Soul. Paintball's pure entertainment value is not the only thing driving its popularity. The sport is also enjoyed by a growing number of youth and church groups nationwide, who play to encourage teamwork and togetherness. "It helps build character because you¼re not only supporting your teammates, they're also supporting you," said Pat Osborne, a youth pastor who owns a paintball field in Edinburgh, Ind., 20 minutes south of Indianapolis. Osborne often plays with the young members of his congregation. "It appeals to their sense of adventure and excitement, but it is supervised. It also lends itself to strong camaraderie."
Paintball is also an inclusive game, which can be enjoyed by people of all ages and physical ability. "The main attraction is that it's an adrenaline-rush sport that allows anyone to play," said Ken Farris, who owns a number of paintball fields and retail stores in the Topeka, Kansas area which are members of the Paintball News Network. "Soccer is an adrenaline-rush sport, too, but not everyone can play soccer competitively because you have to practice and develop your skills," he said. "With paintball, you can have a 11-year-old compete with his 40-year-old father and do it successfully."
Doctors who specialize in child psychology say sports like paintball, which allow adolescents to expend pent up energy often provide them with needed release, are sometimes misunderstood. "There are people out there who think that play is reality and that's a problem," said Dr. Richard Butterworth, a psychologist specializing in adolescents, trauma, and violence, who writes a monthly column for Teen Magazine and often appears on major networks, including CNN and MSNBC. "Games like lazer tag and paintball don't cause violence. What causes violence in children, for the most part, are homes that are violent. Kids have been playing cops and robbers for as long as anyone can remember," he said. "Paintball is the 90s version. Paintball provides more exercise than sitting home playing video games. It also causes fewer injuries than contact sports like hockey and football." And, unlike most video games, paintball is an activity the whole family can enjoy.
"It started out as a birthday present and became a family hobby," said Keith Fay, Mitch's father. Fay said he and his wife, Mitch, and their two daughters play together. For Keith Fay and his son, paintball has become a weekend bonding activity. "It's something we can both do," Keith Fay said. "With a school sport I'm just standing on the sidelines, but this we do together." His son Mitch feels the same way. "My dad works during the week and on Saturday's, but he has Sunday's off," he said. "We go out on Sundays and I get to spend time with him. It makes me feel good to be with him, and it's really nice to have him on my team."
Paintball in CollegeBY David Shaw with contributions from Chris Raehl and Russ Stebner How To Start A College Paintball Organization Why Your Colleges or University Should Consider A Paintball Team, Organization, And Campus Field Why Paintball Needs College Teams
How To Start and Keep Together a College Paintball Club/TeamSection 1 - Getting Started
Section II - Keeping It All Together
Getting a paintball club and/or team started at your college or university is easy. Keeping the group together and on task is the difficult part.
Section 1 - Getting Started
There are countless advantages to having a club. One advantage is always having friends to play against. A big advantage is that many clubs are able to work out deals with distributors and paintball companies to get discounts on equipment and supplies.
Questions You Must Ask Yourself
Ask yourself seriously, "Are there enough serious paintball players at this school to form a club?" If you think there are enough people, then go for it.
Ask yourself if this is something that you are dedicated to? Getting a group of guys and gals together is easy but you must remember that keeping any group together and on task is difficult in particular paintballers are all excitement junkies. Similar personalities some times clash and in paintball it is even more so.
If you answered question one or two above "no" then maybe an official campus paintball team or organization is not right for you and your school. However, all the intercollegiate leagues welcome your participation even if you are not an "official campus organization." Get a team together and go to one. However, be very careful. Many schools have copyright protection regarding the use of the school name, mascots, etc. Consult the proper school officials before using the school's copyright protected name, mascot, etc.
If you answered "yes" to the questions above then read on.[Article Top]
Talk to members of other types of clubs at your school. Find out what they did to start. All schools are different and each has their own set of rules or regulations. By communicating with clubs, you can get an idea of the system in place at your school. Then go to your school and find out what regulations are for forming a campus organization. then get to work.
Below are a few common requirements and how to achieve them.[Article Top]
Most campuses require that all official campus groups have a constitution. This can be a difficult task when you look at the whole picture. But once again talk to other colleges and universities that have official campus paintball organizations. They more than likely even post them online. Cruise the web and find samples and read over them. Pass them along to the rest of the organization to look over and make suggestions. That way everyone has equal input.[Article Top]
After you write the constitution you must get together and elect officers according to your official constitution. Remember all groups are democratic organizations and you may not get elected president. Put your ego aside, and trust that your group will elect a good leader and that leader may not be you. If not take it in stride. You can still take a leadership roll.[Article Top]
More than likely, you will first have to find a faculty member willing to be your advisor. Ideally, this advisor will be a fellow paintball player ask around the local paintball field to see if there is a faculty/staff member that plays there . However, the advisor does not have to be one that plays the sport anyone will do as an advisor if they are willing to come to a few meetings and help you negotiate with school administrators. An advisor does have to be someone who is willing to help our. Your advisor will help you raise money, advertise membership, and spread positive word-of-mouth, not to mention counsel you with any problems within the team.[Article Top]
Apply For Recognition
Your now ready to take it all to the school administration. There will be skepticism from those that do not know paintball. be prepared. Do your research. Prepare yourself just like you would if you were trying very hard for an "A" in a class that requires a presentation. Get safety stats, history, etc. put it all together in a presentation. Then fill out those forms that the school mandates must be filled out. Fill them out neatly, completely and correctly. You want to give the school NO reason to deny your application.
Make sure you know if there is a due date for the form. Turn everything in on time. Not a second too late. Once again you want no reason for the school to be able to deny your application. be sure and turn in a copy of your presentation with the application as well. It just makes it all look show that your organization is prepared and dedicated. Not just a bunch of hooligans with paintguns.
After everything is in you will probably have to stay on their back. It is said to say that you may not be their first priority. Remember it is there job though to review and accept or deny the application. Be professional when calling and when it seems like you are getting the run around as it may seem at times ask them when a decision might be made then check back with them. Don't hound them but don't let it drop by the way side either.[Article Top]
On Campus Playing Fields and Equipment
Renegade paintball is bad. Very bad. Don't do it. Not only is it unsafe but the risk of injury is so much greater, it is also not as fun. Play at organized fields only. Talk to local fields they will probably love to have you affiliated with their field and maybe will pass discounts along to your organization.
Frequently it is the case that there is not a field within driving distance from your school. Then it is time to think about an on campus field. Talk to your school’s administrators and find out if they own any suitable land for you to use. Many schools have forestry departments that would be willing to let you use there land. Also an outside chance is intramurals. Many campus recreation departments have land that is not being used and they might be willing to let you use it for a nominal amount or even for free.
Once again be prepared. When you take the idea to administrators have a proposal in hand. Power Point is good and a good Power Point presentation can knock their socks off. Power Point is easy to use and looks impressive. Prepare a good professions presentation. Once again your research will fall in here. Safety will be a number one concern. Stress safety! Stress service to students, stress the school image. In short hit them with what concerns them. Also if you are not familiar with Power Point or presentations seek help and/or research it. Take a look at the field proposal online athttp://www.olemisspaintball.com (Proposal) . This is a Power Point proposal prepared for a meeting to consider Ole Miss as a Recreation Club and to consider an on campus playing facility. Ole Miss was already an on campus organization but sought to be a sports club which adds extra funding at Ole Miss and to have land designated for open play, profits from which would go to the club. One piece of advise, don't go in half baked and look stupid and unprofessional. Know your material and be ready for questions. Finally on presentation day dress professional. A shirt and tie is a must if not a sport coat. Remember these are campus administrators. Go in and knock their socks off!
Be ready for a let down though. If the school is unwilling or unable to provide you adequate land for playing, ask them why. Maybe you did not answer all their questions. Go back to the drawing board again. It might mean that they are just sketchy on the idea.
A tournament may be what the campus administrators need to convince them. Get together with some paintball professionals that plan tournaments and host one. If you do decide to host a tournament do it right. Do it safe and make a big splash. Don't try to make money on the tournament. Make it your goal to attract teams and make it a good extravagant paintball event. Seek teams to ref the tournament and make it a hit with the paintball scene and the university. After you successfully run the event redo the proposal to include the event you just ran and present it again.
The benefits of having your own field are freedom, increased future spending power, and cheaper rates for members which in turn increases participation. As well as making a little club money if you let others come play on the field. The down side to having your own field is initial setup cost and time. With your own field, you may have to buy markers, masks, hoppers, tanks, a CO2 fill station, parts kits, barrel plugs, an air horn or whistle, ref vests, first aid kits, cleaning supplies, etc. It will also help to have a safe place to store equipment or a trailer for transporting the equipment back and forth from the field. It will take a lot of time, a lot of time! Be prepared and find out ahead of time if this is something your entire organization wants and is willing to support because all of you are student paintballers and have to study as well as dedicate your time to the project as well as other extracurricular activities. In many cases, although not fair, it may be left up to only a few to keep the project afloat through all the stages. But stay encouraged and do not expect things to get approved or done over night. It may take months or years to get it ALL together but if you remain focused on the prize then it will be worth it eventually.[Article Top]
Use the information that you received from the other clubs at your school. Some schools fund student groups and others do not. Frequently, you will either have to go through your student activities office, student government an/or campus recreation to start the funding process. Know the process, the deadlines, get the forms, etc. and get it all together. Once again preparation, preparation, and more preparation is key. In most cases you will have to write a proposal and tell them why you need money and what it will be spent for. Once approved spend it for what you request.
Next, try getting companies to sponsor you. Paintball companies and outside "main stream companies. hit them all up. group e-mails etc. Just keep at it. just about every paintball internet site has a contact page. Use it. However write them a nice will written well prepared letter requesting their sponsorship. you will need a resume of your team as well. be sure to include goals of your organization length of time you have each played, etc. Jus like a real resume for a job.
Once you have a few members, you can run fundraisers. There are many fundraising organizations out there. You can raise money be selling candy, etc. You can do car washes, do dinners, etc. use other campus organizations fund raising efforts as examples.
You may also need to charge your members a fee. Keep membership dues very small (like $50 per semester) so that you do not discourage people from trying the club. As soon as you have some money, you need to start carefully planning what you spend it on and open a bank account.[Article Top]
Section II - Keeping It All Together
Like I said earlier. It is easy to get a bunch of paintballers together to start a club. The hard part is keeping it all together. There are a few keys though.
You have to keep fresh faces and fresh ideas coming in. Remember, as well, there is strength in numbers. The more people you have involved the more work can get done and the more pull you have with the school
You have to advertise; there’s just no way around it. Some student activities offices help with advertising and other schools have publicity offices that can help. Otherwise, you are on your own. You will need to do a lot of advertising. Put up table tents in cafeterias, get an announcement on the school’s radio station and cable channel, and write information for your school paper. Again, this is where talking to other clubs will really help.
Flyers a good as well. However, check with school officials about putting up flyers. You may have to pay a small fee to do so. Also only put them up in approved places. Then get one of the more artistic members to design a create flyers then get them out. Chances are you will attract various majors, people from frats, from sororities people from different dorms. If everyone say puts up 25 flyers each then a lot of flyers should be put up in a lot of different areas. Make sure everyone is keeping up with the quality and if they are staying up as well. Make sure they keep fresh supplies to replenish or replace the flyers.
Also your and the rest of your fellow players time is numbered you will one day leave the school and therefore the organization. If you do not continually recruit fresh blood the club will die when you leave. Leave a legacy to paintball and recruit, recruit, recruit.
Another way of advertising is the web. Put a page up. Most schools have their own presence on the net and will allow you space on their server. However your own URL is good. An easy to remember address is great. However you do it get your own presence out there and advertise it. In chat rooms, message boards etc. It is a good way to keep fresh blood coming in and may even attract high school seniors to your school (an added bonus with the administration). be sure and put contact information including e-mail on the site so people can keep up with you. And for gosh sakes keep the site fresh and updated. No one likes to look at a tired old site. the freshest and most innovated site will keep them talking and coming back for more. in addition a great site attracts sponsors. Put a counter on the site and perhaps use some sort of site stats tracking so you can see how many hits you are getting and where they are coming from. Keep up with the stats.
Aren't artistic can't write html. Ask many other organizations will help or perhaps other campus groups or departments would be willing to help. It cant hurt to ask. Many coders out there do it for fun, for relaxation and will do it for you just to put your site in their portfolio and in the credits of the web page.[Article Top]
Communication, communication, communication. that single word is key. The hardest way to communicate between members of the group is using a phone chain because people are rarely home, voice mail disappears, or messages are never checked. The best way is to create an e-mail list. Add the e-mail addresses of all interested people to the mailing list. Alternative methods include Web pages or message boards.[Article Top]
Playing is important. If you are a group that gets together and talks paintball then you will be just that and will fall to the way side. You must play.
Pick times to play that are convenient for the members. Remember though that you all can not be accommodated and it may even be the leader that cant attend an activity. Try to schedule the time when it is most convenient not just for you or for two or three others but for the whole group. Vary those times and to accommodate people.
When you go to play, play whatever everyone feels like. You do not always have to play elimination or center flag. Try playing scenario games, supply train, attack and defend, president, predator and prey, etc. You can find information on many different types of games all over the Internet, or you can try creating your own games.
You have to stress SAFETY if you want to portray a positive image, which you will have to do unless you don’t want to have a team for too long. Also, be careful in how you talk about paintball. Try to use terms like marker instead of gun, elimination instead of kill. Do not say things like, "I love how fun it is to go around shooting people." Do not commit acts of vandalism with your paintball marker. Participate in fundraisers that benefit your club and a non-profit organization (Habitat for Humanity, food shelter, humane society, etc.) at the same time.
Remember too that there are different types of paintball. Not everyone wants to play the same way as you. Not all like tourney play. Not all like rec play. Not all like scenario games. Determine interest and try to accommodate each and every one. get everyone to at least try different things. That way not only are you accommodating all interests you are keeping the sport interesting.
Get an event coordinator who is active. Who can check out all the events in the area and get special prices, etc. for team participation. Have that coordinator present at every meeting and let everyone know what is going on. Using that information schedule group events to attend etc.[Article Top]
At open play, sell the paint at cost or near cost. Why? This will make it cheaper for members to play and thereby increase interest in playing. Accommodate players of all levels. Hold special events. Have seminars on paintball equipment, tactics and strategies, or host special days of play. Run scenario games, different variations of play, faculty versus student games, all female day, target shooting, dueling, and top gun competitions. Try hosting a local tournament, or entering an intercollegiate tournament. Always remember that not everyone will come to paintball, so you need to bring paintball to everyone. Whenever your school has a student activities day, fair, homecoming, or spring fling, setup a table to answer questions and let people know about your organization. Display magazines, videos (such as JT’s Game On), and paintball equipment. However, your school’s safety policy may prevent you from displaying markers.[Article Top] [Page Top]
Why Colleges and Universities Should Consider Paintballby David Shaw
Your college or university may think of many reasons why it should not foster the playing of paintball. You, however, can turn the tide on the administration by telling them why they should allow an organization on campus or even better allow a paintball playing facility on university property.
Unfortunately paintball vandalism goes on. It seems that as the sport grows so does the amount of vandalism. It is very easy and somewhat cheap for the possible vandal to go to Walmart or K-Mart and purchase all the equipment and supplies to do his or her deed. Then they are off shooting up school property. Signs, dorms, education buildings, union buildings and even the campus police department buildings are all fair game for these vandals. It is the fear of this vandalism that leads many campus administrators to say "NO" to campus paintball organizations. However, although not researched in the particular area of paintball, providing a safe and organized forum for paintball players to assemble or to even play should reduce the vandalism.
Campus organizations are good police groups as well. When a student does vandalism generally he or she is going to brag about it and having a campus organization whose vested interested is the promotion of paintball as an organized activity among the student population to report such incidents is very attractive for a school. Paintball organizations also seem to hunt down who shoots things up in shear acts of vandalism. That is because a campus paintball organization knows that confirmed paintball aficionados are the first to be looked at when vandalism occurs. It is in their interest, once again, to find out who did the act of vandalism and identify them as non members to campus officials.
Real paintball players are usually not the ones that do acts of vandalism. We all invest a lot of time and money in to the sport of paintball for its growth and our own personal growth as paintballers. We all know, or should know, that if caught doing vandalism that the first thing that the police do is take our equipment. It is throwing all that money down the drain. Not to mention we all know that vandalism hurts the sport and stunts its growth. Simply put When you invest hundreds or even thousands of dollars in equipment vandalism is stupid.[Article Top]
Three California boys driving down the road shooting things up with their semi-auto paintball markers. Shooting as they drive down the roads. Nothing is safe, buildings, stop signs, and even worse unarmed pedestrians and motorists. Had it not been for the video they were shooting as they did their antics they might not have been caught. They were caught and the video was broadcast worldwide on television as millions of viewers sat back and watched in horror. Also, though, it was played for the jury who showed their disgust and sentenced them all to various prison terms. This happened, in part, because the local paintball community deluged the Los Angeles District Attorney's office with faxes, letters and calls. They didn't defend the actions. On the contrary, players stated their displeasure with the culprits' actions, and many demanded that the maximum sentences be carried out. The LA District Attorney said as much.
This is not a common place news event but one that is logged into the memory of many millions of people that saw the airing on the news broadcasts. Some of those millions are the administrators at colleges and universities across the United States and the world. Paintball to these people seem a violent sport and it is up to you to change their mind.
Many people see paintball as a war game. A game where people go out and hunt down and "kill" their opponents. Paintball playing does not propagate violence. In fact it is just the opposite. As we all know paintball reduces stress in players. When we all come back from a day of playing ball we are so rested and relaxed. Once again, paintball is a fairly new sport, and the research has yet to be done. I am sure, however, that the research would back up the statement that with a reduced level of stress paintball players are some of the least violent.[Article Top]
Safety Issues and Law Suits
In today's litigious society it is always the fear of many that a lawsuit is looming around the corner. That is a big fear of school administrators when paintball is brought up to them. Can you blame them though? However, paintball, is a safe sport. Much safer than many of the sports that are out there, as already shown from the sports injury statistics above. Your college or university has sports on that list that they pump millions of dollars in to, probably. Are they afraid of law suits there? Athletics aside, most major universities have recognized rugby clubs, martial arts clubs, etc. Compare the injury stats with those clubs against paintball. Then why not have a paintball organization.
In fact many schools are pumping cash into their rugby and martial arts programs by providing them a place for their activities, a plus for seeking out land for paintball playing facilities. Paintball playing facilities are not as costly as most of the other facilities. Another plus for the idea as well. The risk of law suits derived from participation in those sports are mathematically higher when doing the simple arithmetic.
Brass Eagle, the nations largest distributor of paintball gear, the company who struck the original deals with WalMart and K-Mart to have paintball guns sold in their stores. Has the lowest corporate percent of liability lawsuits filed let alone lost of any other sporting goods retailer out there. Thus paintball does not increase the possibility of a law suit against the school.[Article Top]
Paintball Is Coming To The Mainstream
Paintball is coming. Paintball is coming. Paintball is coming. Paintball is coming in to the mainstream of sports and colleges and universities should no be left behind in the growth. Paintball has moved up the charts, as shown above, to be the forth most popular extreme sport. The opportunity is now for your college or university to get in to the paintball. Many many big and small game colleges and universities are getting in to the game. Names such as Illinois, South Carolina, Clemson, Notre Dame, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Arizona, Washington, Ole Miss, Purdue, Ohio to name a few of the big names. A more extensive list is available online at theCollege Paintball List. Don't let the size of the schools listed bother you either. Michigan Tech is one of the leaders in collegiate paintball programs along with many other smaller colleges and universities. Your school too could be a leader by getting behind a paintball program.
Some day paintball will be it most schools. When distributors start marketing it to the schools instead of players such as yourself the cost will increase because of the extra hands involved. So the time is now. Don't let them put it off a year because as fast as paintball grows who knows what will happen in the next year.[Article Top]
Service To The Community
Once again pointing back to the growth of paintball almost 6 million people are playing paintball on recognized fields every year. If that is true, what about those not playing on recognized fields. According to a US News and World Report article dated August 14th, "The number of gamers playing this high-intensity version of "capture the flag" increased 10-fold over the past decade." (D. Hawkins, 2000) Ms. Hawkins goes on to state that; "As the sport of paintball moves beyond organized games on regulated fields, paint guns–called markers–are becoming a leading cause of serious eye injury." A scary fact stated by this author. However Ms. Hawkins also states; Dr. Paul Vinger, says many of the injuries are avoidable. An expert on ocular trauma and sports at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Vinger has helped to develop standards for protective polycarbonate paintball masks. "There are no reported injuries of anyone wearing goggles that meet the standard." This article, although potentially damaging to the sport overall, points to the fact that people are gonna play and it is backyard paintball, or "renegade" ,as many paintball players call it, is dangerous.
By providing a safe outlet for paintball your school is providing a service to the school community. If a playing facility is provided and opened to the community around and a good cost. Paintballers from the surrounding community will play in the structured environment of a safe surroundings. Thus a service is provided. One which can actually pay for it self. I do not advocate the schools getting in to the game and starving out the paintball field owners in the area. However, often is the case, that there is not a field in the immediate area.[Article Top]
Not only can providing an organization and/or facility for paintballers to participate in foster the safe play of paintball it can also offer another course to the university catalog of courses offered. Thus the university can actually make money by offering paintball as an academic course. A paintball course can be offered like any other physical education type elective for it is just that. As we paintball players all know it is a work out. By offering paintball as a physical education elective it can, therefore, charge tuition to those interested in taking the class. Thus for a small investment, comparatively, it can return and perhaps even make money.[Article Top]
Many many studies and theories have been conducted on student involvement and its relationship to the success of students in the higher education environment. Your school administrators all study these in their professional education. That is the reason for intramurals, fraternities, campus organizations etc. These studies started as early as the 18th century. This forum is not the forum to recite the theorists or the theories. You might do so when preparing your proposal for your college. However, for this forum it will suffice to say that the Student Involvement Theory states that when an increase in a student's involvement in college occurs, an increase in the amount of student learning and personal development occurs. Student involvement is defined as the quantity and quality of the physical and psychological energy that students invest in the college experience. (Astin, 1986)
Offering paintball reaches out to students that perhaps are not otherwise involved and if are involved gives additional activities in which to involve themselves in. Thus, by doing so, increases the chances of all students success rate. For it is the success rate of students that the school itself is graded on.[Article Top]
Attraction of Students
Finally, College administrators are concerned with enrollment. Without student enrollment they have no job. Administrators, in addition to student success, mentioned above, administrators are graded on student enrollment. The effective administrator will see increased enrollment.
Why did you choose the school to go to. There may be many reasons, however, one of them was probably that they offered a program that you were interested in. With more and more paintball players coming of college age, paintball will be an attraction to draw the students in. It is estimated that one in 500 people own a paintball gun. With probably 60-70 percent of those being under the age of 18 and those numbers are growing and growing as those paintballers whose parents bought them a gun at a retail outlet. That means that paintball could be a deciding force on which school to go to after high school. Especially if all other factors or in line such as cost, programs, etc., paintball could make a difference in the decision of many, many high school seniors. One such senior sent Ole Miss Paintball a letter saying that he was deciding between Ole Miss and tow other universities in the state. He had found out that Ole Miss had a paintball organization and negotiation was going on to start an on campus facility and the decision was cinched. He was Ole Miss bound.
Offering paintball is a marketable addition to your university. If the organization has a campus presence and a presence in the community, the state, the nation and on the world wide web it will attract students. The university can aid itself and aid you in return by marketing the paintball program in its recruiting efforts. In addition to attracting paintball players it also shows that the school has a progressive attitude toward campus activities and what it offers students.[Article Top]
Why Paintball Needs College TeamsPublished In Action Pursuit Games Magazine, July 2000 By Chris Raehl
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Chris Raehl is a computer engineering major at the University of Illinois, a three year member of the school’s paintball club and team, the IIIini Paintball Warriors, and one of the chief organizers of the Midwest Intercollegiate Tournament and the National Collegiate Paintball Association..
You have probably, at one time or another, found yourself watching golf on TV, and unless you actually play golf, have probably realized that you would rather be taking a nap. But then if you go play a few rounds of golf, turning on the TV and watching someone else actually hit the balls straight takes on some meaning.
Paintball is the same way. To the general public, some guys running around in the woods or on a speedball field shooting each other just doesn’t hold much interest. I get pumped watching the Skyball video, but my friends would rather be watching golf, or football, or basketball, or baseball—sports they understand. Why do people understand and watch basketball but not paintball? There are plenty of basketball fans out there who have never played the game competitively, but they still know the rules and still get emotionally involved with their favorite teams.
One thing paintball lacks is teams and individuals who are easily recognizable to the "outside". Sure, serious paint-ball players know who Aftershock and Avalanche are, but if I walk up to someone on the street and say, "Wow, Aftershock beat Avalanche and won the NPPL finals," the best I can hope for is a blank stare. But if I say, ‘The Cubs are in the playoffs," baseball fans and a lot of people know what I’m talking about. Likewise, if I could say, "The Illini beat the Buckeyes for the paintball national championship," any sports fan should know what I meant even if I wasn’t talking to someone who had ever actually played paintball.
People form an association with college and professional teams, even when they might not particularly care for the sports they play. If you went to the University of Illinois, you tend to care about how well the IIIini are doing. If you live near Chicago, you tend to be a Cubs fan, even if they haven’t won a pennant in a long, long time.
Having team loyalties supports a sport. Recognizable names are important, too. How many people started playing golf just because of Tiger Woods? How many started playing basketball just because of the Chicago Bulls? Paintball needs to create names that can be recognized, to get and keep the public’s interest.
Paintball needs college teams. For starters, college paintball would provide a "goal" for younger players. When you’re in high school, you may not see yourself going off and playing pro paintball when you graduate, but you can see yourself playing on your college team and maybe getting a scholarship. Players would not need to be professional quality to play on a college team. The organizing of teams and leagues would be done by the colleges and universities. Tournaments would not force you to play against the "pro" teams. You just arrive at college, figure out where the team practices, and show up.
Take all the benefits of college ball that you see in football, baseball, soccer, basketball, and many other sports, and just add paintball. College players can be in a league, with a league championship, NCAA playoffs, and you have a decent chance at winning it. Players get to fight for some school pride and recognition along the way. The public gets teams with names they know.
What if someone isn’t a tournament quality player when they go to college? College sports provide an environment for players to improve their skills without requiring that they already spectacular players. Providing that some structure gives players who don’t see themselves on a pro team a good reason to stay in the game, a reason to take what might be a rec game a year and turn it into a practice session every month even every week.
Players who compete in college aren’t going to lose interest in paintball when they graduate. They can move on the pros, play at the amateur level, or perhaps coach the younger players. They can be expected to improve the quality of play in the sport as a whole, both by providing experienced players for professional tournament teams as well, as mentors for local fields. Right now, there isn’t anyone on the paintball fields to tell the new p1ayers, "You know, I used to be like you, I played four years on the team at University X. We were pretty good. You could do that too."
How do we make this happen?
College paintball has spent too much time in the "we’re poor, sponsor us mode. We should be on the "you need college ball to expand your market, sponsor us" approach. The organizational motivation is certainly already present at the college level. In the Midwest, there is semi-annual Midwest Intercollegiate Tournament, as well as a Northeast Intercollegiate Conference and now the South East Intercollegiate Conference. Existing college teams are willing to help students at other schools start up their own clubs and teams, and establish new regional leagues.
The main obstacle to the development of college paintball, however, is obviously financial. Most college teams receive at best minimal funding, usually limited to travel reimbursements, if they receive any funding at all. Slinging all that paint at practice every weekend can be a pretty daunting expense to most budget-conscious college students. The sooner the industry gets on board the college scene, the quicker a national college league can be expected to develop, and the sooner we can expect to see the benefits of outside attention being paid to college paintball. The coverage will follow, leading to more financial support as the results of college tournaments hit the pages of the sports magazines.
College paintball is the next step in the development of the sport. We need to take that step.[Top]
If I Can Be Of Any Help Contact Me,
10+ Year Veteran Player,
Former Arkansas State University Paintball Co-founder and President,
Current Ole Miss Paintball Founder and Faculty/Staff Sponsor,
University of Mississippi Residence Hall Director,
Graduate Student In Higher Educationdshaw@olemiss.edu