Dye another day: Paintball debuts on campus

Get ready to lock and load. The paintball frenzy has officially reached Temple.

What began as a simple Facebook interest group has led to an official student organization, the Temple University Paintball club.

“Our president, Mike Abramowitz, as an incoming freshman, started posting on the Facebook message board and saw how great the interest was amongst the group,” said senior officer and secretary of the club Aaron Heintz, an English major. “So, it basically started with him trying to organize events to get together and play paintball.”

Many other schools in the area have paintball clubs, including Ursinus College and Drexel, Lehigh and Rutgers Universities. Temple can now be added to the list.

“We knew there was interest because other schools in the area had organizations, and the number of people in the Facebook group was around 60, so we figured why not expand, and with that get resources from the university to do such,” Heintz said.

In paintball, players use gas compressed guns to shoot small balls filled with dye at their opponent. The balls are the size of a marble and splash a miniscule amount of paint upon contact with an object. To protect themselves, participants are required to wear masks, gloves and other forms of shielding. Most people play paintball in a capture the flag setting. Teams advance on one another to obtain a specific object from their opponent while trying to lose the least amount of members possible, who are eliminated when shot.

Considered as pioneers of the sport, Bob Gurnsey, Hayes Noel and Charles Gaines played the first paintball game in New Hampshire in 1981. Interest in the sport grew in the 1980s and it became extremely popular in Europe. Not until the late 1990s did paintball take off in the United States.

According to recent studies from the Sports Goods Manufacturing Association, more than eight million people a year participate in the highly competitive, adrenaline-fueled sport. The National Xball League has existed as a professional paintball league in the United States since 2003. Over the past few years, the paintball phenomenon has spread throughout U.S. college campuses everywhere, Heintz said. The newly founded paintball club has been very active in its groundbreaking semester, already having had five practices at paintball grounds like the Cobra Command in Hatboro, Pa., and Del Hobies Paintball in New Jersey.

In preparing for the National College Paintball Association’s World Cup, the team recently scrimmaged with Drexel University and the University of Maryland’s paintball clubs.

With its recent acceptance by the university as an official student organization, the club is looking to expand its membership next semester.

“There is no cap on the number of people that can join. We have big goals, and hope that after people hear about our events, the number of our members will increase,” said club president Mike Abramowitz, a freshman mathematics major. “In terms of promoting the club, look for flyers on campus about our club meetings, which take place every first and third Wednesday of the month.”

“We’re planning on having at least two trips to the Poconos and wish to compete in the Northeastern Intercollegiate Conference tournaments. If all goes well, we may even make a trip to the National Collegiate paintball championships in Florida this April,” he said. “Like I said, we have big goals.”

To learn more about the Temple University Paintball club contact tupaintball@listserv.temple.edu, or Mike Abramowitz at temple.paintball@hotmail.com.

Michael Mudrick can be reached at mmudrick@temple.edu.

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