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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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Paintball finds support among teens

When people think about sports typical games like basketball, baseball, soccer, and football come to mind. However, the sport of paintball is finds growing popularity among teenagers and young adults.

Even the United States Military Academy has paintball teams, who hold practices and competitions.

Mikey Wills, ’06, plays for a novice paintball team who competes at various tournaments across the west coast. His team, Team Rip, recently placed first in the Xtreme Paintball Sports League tournament in Portland, OR, on Aug. 13-15. Wills plans on finishing the year at a tournament in Las Vegas.

“I’ve been playing for over four years,” Wills said. “A large part of my career has been on this traveling and tournament team. Team Rip’s hometown is Fresno, but we do travel out of town, sometimes even for practices.”

Team Rip’s practices are held every Saturday, starting at 9:30 A.M. and lasting past 4 P.M. The season begins in January and continues until October. The team travels to Modesto, Lemoore, Visalia and Tulare to practice adapting to new courses and improving skill.

“Paintball is a difficult sport, because of the time commitment to practices and costs,” Doug Denhartog, ’05, said. “I’ve played more than a dozen times, but in order to advance to the next level you have to invest time to practice as a team and money for equipment.”

The costs of paintball can limit player progression. Not only do players need to purchase their own gun, but also equipment and ammunition. However, for serious tournament teams, financial aid from sponsors helps to lower the cost.

“My team has two main sponsors: Maximum Paintball Supply and Severe Paintballs,” Wills said. “Maximum [Paintball Supply] pays our entry fee for tournaments, which can reach $1,000 per team. Severe [Paintballs] will supply about 10 cases [of ammunition] for each tournament which equals about 20,000 rounds of ammo.”

According to Wills, in order for a team to win a tournament they must play an average of 16 total games with the highest amount of points. Each game has a seven-minute time limit, and the overall competition lasts three days.

“When I play paintball, my team’s goal is to out-maneuver the other team,” Caleb Thiesen, ’05, said. “We set up ambushes and usually try to flank our opponents by using decoys. If you can outlast them and make them frustrated, you have a higher chance of winning.”

Tactics and strategy make paintball a unique sport. Each match differs from the next. Individual players’ pace determines the overall tempo of an engagement. Patience can be a huge strength, or weakness, drawing the line between success and defeat.

“During a tournament some teams panic with a few minutes to go,” Wills said. “This makes it easier for us to beat them because they made stupid mistakes.”

According to Chris Byrnes, ’06, who has watched Wills play in official games, Wills is a good paintball player. Byrnes uses paintball lingo to express Wills as he defeats rookie players.

“I think he’s superb,” Byrnes said. “You should really see him gog those muppets.”

For more information contact the National Professional Paintball League at www.nppl.tv, or the Xtreme Paintball Sports League at www.xpsl.com, and Maximum Paintball Supply at (559) 222-3814. Wills’ next tournament match is in Las Vegas, beginning at 10 A.M., Sept. 9.

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