Yes, paintball is a sport. Â It’s more commonly thought of as a hobby or just a recreational game. And that’s how it all starts…
There’s not a day that goes by that the word paintball is not heard in my house. Â My 13 year old son is consumed with it. He eats, sleeps, and breathes paintball. Â It’s because of him that I have learned these lessons to pass on to you!
Types of paintball games:
- Woodsball – the original form of paintball played in the woods. Â Fields consist of trees, bushes, and other natural resources. Â Sometimes you’ll find other things like old cars and buildings too. Â But it’s all played in the woods.
- Speedball – the most common form of paintball that uses bunkers of equal size andÂ distributionÂ on the field. Â Also called recball.
- Scenarios – paintball games in which players participate in a scenario or story, often a re-enactment.
- A paintball marker (gun)
- Ammunition (paint balls)
- Mask or goggles
- Protective clothing (if you’re a noob)
Common paintball terms:
- Staging Area– the area where the players store their gear and rest between games. Â It’s also where they hang out, talk smack and challenge each other.
- Barrel socks – a “sock” type device that fits around the barrel of the gun and captures a paintball in the case of accidental firing. Â Trust me, when hanging out in the staging area, you are grateful for barrel socks!
- Masks on – this means you better get that mask on and now! Masks are required on the field even if you’re not playing.
- Hit – when the paintball leaves a solid mark on your clothing or equipment. Â Splatters do not count, it must be a solid mark.
- Wiping – players sometimes “wipe” the paint to make it look like they didn’t get hit. Â We call these players CHEATERS!
- Ramping – This one still confuses me. I think of it as automatically changing the mode of fire from semi-automatic to fully automatic. Â The gun goes pop, pop, pop, then badadadadadada, sort of like a machine gun mode. Â And while it’s legal in some leagues, I think of it as another form of cheating!
- Bonus Balling – this occurs when a player continually shoots his opponent knowing that they already have a hit. Â Again, CHEATER!
- Go, Go, Go!!! – the start of a game. Â You’d better be ready or you’re hit!
Probably the least known fact about paintball is that there are teams and tournaments played all around the world. Â In the US, we have many official paintball leagues. Â The two main ones areÂ the National Professional Paintball League (NPPL), and Paintball Sports Promotions (PSP). Â At the college level, there’s the NCPA College Paintball Association which includes teams from theÂ University of Florida, Purdue University,Â University of Connecticut and about 15 other teams. Â The NCPA has begun reaching out to high schools and organizing leagues (which Austin is totally looking forward too!). Â At a local level, we have the Houston Rookie League (HRL) which has 3 man tournaments specifically for beginners.
As a parent, I often wonder what I have to look forward to with Austin’s paintball obsession. Â Well, the PSP World Cup games are held close to Orlando, FL so that’s pretty cool. Â The NPPL World Championship games are held in Las Vegas, even better! Â And with high school right around the corner followed by college, who knows, maybe there’s a future in paintball for Austin…