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Parker's a Paintball Player

By Yasmin Neal

I know a paintball player.

His name is Parker McKay. I found out about his paintball endeavors when we were talking the other day.

Actually, we were complete strangers until that moment, I tend to strike up conversations out of the blue; I digress.

Technically he's an amateur paintball player.

He, along with his team of eight, travel nation wide to embark on paintball playing.

There travels can range from Auburn, Alabama to California, Tennessee, Florida, Pennsylvania, Chicago and even Malaysia if the opportunity permitted itself.

To be considered for any level, a team must play at certain levels in certain tournaments, and they are tabbed on a rating system.

There are a certain amount of wins that considers a person and/or a team amateur or professional.

On average, there are three and five men tournaments. Seven men tournaments are played on the professional level.

In tournament play, between 6-200 teams can attend, and about 6-12 games can be played. The games can not run longer than 5 minutes.

For instance, one game is called Center Flag Push.

The Game: the game is on a 200ft. by 100ft. wide field.

About 30-60 balloon bunkers are situated throughout the field on each team's side. Opponents situate themselves behind bunkers to protect themselves when aiming for the opponents.

There is a flag centered in the middle of the field.

The object of the game is to shoot off all of your opponents and acquire the flag first and hang it on the opposing teams post.

Another game is called Capture the Flag. The only difference with this game is that there is a flag positioned on both sides and the teams have to defend their flag from the opposing team's capture of it. The games are played on a points system.

Due to the fact that the majority of the wins for a team is based upon the capture of a flag, the points are awarded accordingly.

The games are based on a 100-point system.

Usually 25 points are designated for touching the flag before the other team, 50 points for hanging the flag and five points per eliminated opponent. In reference to tournament play, who ever has the most points after all of the games are played, are considered the winners of the tournament.

When it comes to gun selection, McKay tends to use the Shocker.

The Shocker is a closed bolt gun, with a spool valve design, and it is very light in weight. The Shocker averages about 36 balls per second.

To put it into perspective, a slow gun averages 4 balls per second, and the common guns used on the range can average 15 to 20 balls per second. The gear for the players can vary.

Each player is required to wear a face mask, but players can wear jerseys paintball packs, cleats, gloves and hats. To make good even better, the teams have sponsors who pay for the trips, pay the players, and support the teams in general. Along with that, the tournaments offer cash prizes, equipment, and trophies.

McKay is only 16 years old and he has been playing for a little over three years now. He has played anywhere from 350-400 games thus far.

In artistic terms, McKay could be labeled as a painter. Well, I guess that all depends, because this type of sport gives the term "painter" a run for its money. Literally.

Yasmin Neal is an intern with the News Daily and can be reached at yazwrite@yahoo.com