For most GW students, going to a nearby field with some friends and shooting everyone in sight would land them in prison. But for the players on the GW club paintball team, it has given them a chance to compete in a World Cup game.
The Colonial Fury, GW’s club paintball team, is one of 104 members of the National Collegiate Paintball Association. Senior captain Justin Li founded the team last spring because of what teammate Joel Nori called Li’s “love of the game.”
Without competitive contact sports such as football at GW, Nori said many former football players turned to paintball because of its intense and physical nature.
In normal competition, team members go to a tournament and participate in a round robin series with each game lasting for 10 minutes, Li said. Each team lines up at opposite ends of a 75-by-25-yard field with a flag placed in the center.
The object is to capture flag and place it on your team’s starting line. Teams score points for pulling the flag, hanging it on their team’s starting line and for eliminating players by shooting them with paint.
Team members say the game can be painful.
“It can break the skin,” Li said. “I’m looking at three welts I’ve got from Sunday. Sometimes you don’t feel it and other times it really stings.”
When a team returns a flag to their line, the clock stops and the teams have three minutes to reload on paint and all players that were eliminated are let back in the game. A flag can be captured multiple times during one game.
The World Cup, scheduled to take place Oct. 23 to 28 at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando Fla., is the second time paintball will ever be played nationally in real competition, as opposed to recreationally, Li said. The first competition was held last April when GW qualified for the World Cup at the National Collegiate Championships in Chicago. They placed ninth out of 34 teams.
World Cup competition differs because the games are broken up into 10 minute quarters, so the actual playing time is 40 minutes, Li said. In x-ball format, as the World Cup play is called, the object is still to capture a center flag, but no points are awarded for a flag pull or player elimination.
The event will be co-promoted by Disney World and Draxxus Paintball, and the team is negotiating with ESPN and Fox Sports Net to televise its tournament games locally. Right now, Li said, it looks as though Fox Sports Net will be the sponsor.
The team has yet to compete in any tournaments this season. Instead, they are putting their efforts toward practicing for the World Cup, Li said.
This year’s squad expects to operate on an $8,000 budget, which will come mainly from corporate sponsorships. Nori said the budget will triple how much the next closest club teams uses to operate. Last year’s recreational team was shut down due to budget problems.
Colonial Fury sponsors include Black Horse Consulting, Topstitch, No Fear, Vincent Motors and Pev’s Paintball of Northern Virginia.
With substantial funding for his eight-member tournament team, Li said he is highly optimistic about both the World Cup and rest of the season for the Fury.
“The caliber of players is excellent, and our team this year is much better than last year,” he said.
The team has physical training every Friday and practice every Sunday. A list of qualifications for prospective members can be found on the club’s Web site, ColonialFury.com. These qualifications include timed runs in the 60-meter dash and a number of sit-ups and push-ups.
Nori said in order join the team, “you have to come out and show interest.”
-Lauren Silva contributed to this report.