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Paintball excites, energizes teens

Bravo and Hailwitzer engaged in combat. Bravo team barricaded themselves in a fortress, leaving the others to surround their position. In order to take the enemy, Brandon Diaso, ’05, decided to have the majority of his team create a distraction so that he could flank his opponents.

“”I thought that if we developed a strategy it would be easier for us to defeat our opponents,”” Diaso said. “”I ended up surprising my prey at an opportune moment and winning the match.””

Paintball has seen growing popularity among many high school students. Over 10% of this campus’ student body has participated in at least one paintball game. This sport requires both a strategic mind and physical prowess.

“You have to be in a good physical state,” Eric Beneke, ’07, said. “You won’t last if you’re slow. Agility and strategy can give huge advantages to players. Those who know how to maneuver forces the best usually win.”

The fast paced game offers a combat scenario without any mortal injuries. Usually two teams go head to head in battles that can last for a few hours. Some of the courses are built within forests and foothills, while others are man-made arenas.

“Obstacles are scattered throughout the playing field,” Kyle Brewer, ’07, said. “It provides good cover, but your opponents can also use that as well. Sometimes the playing fields include bunkers, forts, trenches, boulders and a lot of trees. You have to adapt to the environment and try to outsmart your opponents.”

Growing costs have lead some players to leave the sport. In order to compete at an advanced level it costs $500 to $1,000 for quality equipment. Ammunition costs $45 to $80 for a case of 2,000 paintballs.

“I can’t go paintballing that often, but I do go a couple of times a month,” Micah Walker, ’05, said. “I try to go as much as I can. I’ve been offered slots on a few paintball teams, but the prices are very expensive.”

Rising costs in paintball can sometimes hamper player progression. Many players feel that in order to improve they must invest heavily into their equipment.

“It’s a very expensive sport to participate in,” Diaso said. “In paintball games you have to often buy equipment more than once. I go whenever I have enough money to buy all the ammunition I need. There’s always something more that you can buy.”

Tournaments, which range from beginner to expert levels, are held throughout the state of California. A competitor’s age is irrelevant since these expositions are based on years of experience.

“I’ve played in a tournament before and it was very challenging,” Brewer said. “My team played several rounds with highly competitive teams.”

Paintball can bring friends together since it provides a good opportunity for socializing and experiencing combat situations.

“I play usually with my close friends,” David Yancey, ’05, said. “Through paintball I can maintain past friendships with my friends who are alumni. It brings an unique experience where we can simulate combat without receiving injury.”

For more information on paintball tournaments outside the San Joaquin Valley, visit www.paintballjungle.com.

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