Staring down the barrel of a gun isn’t an appealing idea for many people.
For the members of SVSU’s paintball team, this is far from the case.
Since 2003, students have been coming together to play paintball. As of two or three years ago, this leisure activity turned into something more permanent, a club sport.
“When I came to the University in 2005 there were four of us,” said Daniel Parkhurst, a former club member and one of the team’s founders. “We slowly did more fundraisers and got more members until we finally got club status.”
The transition from a leisure activity to a club sport hasn’t been met without its fair deal of problems, one of the biggest being funding.
“You need your own equipment which costs around $500 to $1,500, and then playing each time usually runs $100 to $200,” Parkhurst said.
As these costs are beyond what many college students can afford, the team has focused a lot of time on fundraising. While this has helped the team some, it has still prevented them from competing in many tournaments that they have strived to take part in.
“We tried to go to many local tournaments, although these were usually not filled with college teams, just local people that wanted to join,” Parkhurst said. “We were working on going to a big college tournament when I was active on the team, but it was going to cost a lot and we got little funding.”
In addition to funding problems, the team has had the ongoing problem of finding a location to practice. In the past, the team went to the extreme of driving to Mount Pleasant to practice.
“(Mount Pleasant) has a place indoors where you can play with rubber balls the size of a paintball so it is cheaper than buying and playing with paint,” Parkhurst said. “We used to practice one to two times a week, but it was very tough for people to always show up or get the money so this was not the best option.”
Even with these hard times, the paintball team has stepped up to the plate to help with fundraising for important events on campus such as Battle of the Valleys.
“Overall, the best thing I think we have done is doing a Battle of the Valleys fundraiser,” Parkhurst said.
In this fundraiser, the team set up a tunnel on campus and allowed students to shoot at them for money. In addition to this, the team raised money by participating in a quick draw for the Greek competition.
It is opportunities like this that have helped the team to spread the word about their club sport because, just like the other clubs on campus, the paintball team is always looking to grow and have fun.
“Paintball is a growing sport and they welcome everyone,” Parkhurst said. “The club is fun and most like to go play.”
For more information on SVSU’s paintball team, contact Ryan Jones at email@example.com.