Watch out, Chicago – the Colonial Fury is on its way.
After recently securing several corporate sponsors, GW’s paintball team has funding to compete in two tournaments in April, including the National College Paintball Championships in suburban Joliet, Ill.
It will be the first time the team will compete at the national level.
“We’re really excited for the championships,” said senior Justin Li, team founder and captain. “I think we’ll do really well. Finally, everything has come together.”
The team was officially recognized as a club sport last April and has since grown into a comprehensive, several-dozen member organization. It has its own 17-article constitution and a “Captain’s Intent,” which emphasizes unity, fitness and the team’s motto: “strength and honor.”
Colonial Fury has three divisions. The six-member Tournament Team is the most selective, which practices every week and will compete in the national championships on April 27. The Scenario Team engages in role-playing and will compete in a five-man center flag tournament in Skirmish, Pa. April 7 against local teams from the Mid-Atlantic region. For those who dislike the pressure of competing against other teams, the 30-member recreational team practices about once a month.
The teams usually practice at a recreational facility in Woodbridge, Va., which is about a half-hour drive from GW.
Li said although the team has been officially recognized since last April, it was unable to compete in official tournaments because of a lack of funding.
Now, after mailing more than 250 letters to potential corporate sponsors, the team has secured several business partnerships, including No Fear, Eagle One Industries and Glyn Jones Productions.
According to Li, the team’s costs for one semester can add up to $9,000, mostly due to transportation expenses. He said there are about six annual collegiate tournaments, which normally require long trips. He also said gear is expensive, usually costing each player between $500 and $1,500. No Fear now supplies the team’s uniforms.
Li said there are only about 35 other officially recognized college paintball teams, including Virginia Tech and the Naval Academy. GW is the only school in the District that has a paintball team. Li said the University of Illinois team is the current reigning collegiate paintball champion.
Senior Michael Buczek, executive officer of the team, said there is a general lack of knowledge about the team among the GW population, as well as misconceptions about paintball in general.
“We get funny looks from GW students when we tell them about the team,” he said. “Most people here don’t even know it exists.”
“Nobody knows about us,” added Li. “A lot of people think paintball is violent, with a bunch of para-military kids. But it’s not like that at all.”
Freshman Joel Nori, a Colonial Fury member, said the team has been a “great success.” He added that at a “liberal” school like GW, “it was difficult to get paintball off the ground.”
Aubre Jones, director of Recreational Sports and Fitness services, said he had doubts about allowing paintball to be recognized as a club sport.
“I was hesitant at first about recognizing paintball as a sport because it used guns,” he said. “Now, it does seem like a sport. There’s strategy involved.”
Paintball guns shoot small balls made out of gelatin.
“You can eat paintballs,” Li said. “I’ve eaten a paintball, but it was gnarly.”
While Li acknowledged that the majority of paintball players he knows do not have a college degree, he said the Colonial Fury deviates from the norm.
He said members thought the team’s name should be “Academically-Minded, Intellectual, Aggressive,” and should include some reference to GW.