The game is played a lot different now. There's different games. They have three against three, five men, seven- and 10-man teams. On the professional circuit, the 10-man team is where your money is. The NPPL [the National Professional Paintball League] they have six big events a year.
The whole object is to grab this flag and bring it across the field. All the fields are different; you get an unlimited amount of variation and design. Now you got to be a little bit quicker. Know where to move to. There's better decision-making. Before, one good player could carry the load. Now it's about accuracy by volume. You carry extra ammo in packs on your back, and some people wear as many as 12.
I have tons of guns. As technology hit paintball, some of these literally have circuits. The 2001 LCD Angel is the top of the line. This one is already up to $1,400, $1,500. These guns will almost put out a steady line of paint. It's like anything if you're willing to get to the higher tournament play, you got to have it to keep up.
There's a lot of safety involved. The mask is probably the most important. The ball shoots about 300, 400 to 450 feet per second. They're something like gel tabs. It hurts a little, but after, you're all talking about it like they're war wounds: "You got me here and I got you there." It's a lot of fun and a real good team-building exercise. It's a stress reliever. It's like a drug. Once you start, you got to have that rush. Interviewed by Ames Arnold. Photographed by Chad Hunt