I had a great time traveling with the Purdue Paintball Team to Laotto, Indiana this past weekend to watch and photograph them playing in a 3 on 3 tournament with 21 other teams. Waking up at 5am certainly was not a great part of the weekend, but meeting up with the other guys they were all ready in their new team jerseys, pumped and prepared to play. Two and a half hours, energy drinks, gas station donuts and some very poor driving (not by my driver mind you) later, we arrived at the facility. Similar to Grindhouse, Paintball Plex looks like an indoor soccer stadium, however they are strictly a paintball facility. The owners were nice enough to let me photograph inside the nets (unfortunately the lighting was horrible for any action shots). I only got hit 3 times, and only one broke. I told Jake, the team Coach, that my paint evasive skills should be enough to warrant me being on the team (joking of course). Jake usually plays however this tournament was strictly for D4 and D5 players. There was even a group of very young boys playing. I like that there are tournaments like this, as it encourages less experienced players to come out and stay excited about the sport without being annihilated by more experienced players.
The guys played great. There were two teams aptly named Black and Gold. The scoring was based on a number of items including first shot, players from the other team you get out, players remaining and flag capturing. After a series of head to head games, the top 5 teams move on to finals. Now here is where some interesting scoring comes in. A number of teams were very close together in scoring at the top of the bracket (including Purdue Black). While Purdue Gold played well, they were not high enough to be within striking distance of finals. Purdue Gold had one more match to play against a team (that will remain unnamed) that was currently battling Purdue Black for the #5 spot in finals. This team needed X number of points against Purdue Gold to pass Purdue Black in the rankings. Well being the smart Boilermakers we are, they devised an ingenious plan. If Purdue Gold could grab the flag in the game, it was worth enough points that even if the opposing team gained all remaining points, they would end up in 6th place. So the quickest player on the team immediately went for the flag near the beginning of the game. Of course he was shot rather quickly following. The other team celebrated thinking they had won overall and made finals. Much to their chagrin they were 2 points behind Purdue Black. Overall it was a great day filled with such a great sense of team spirit. The guys (yes, I can say guys, because there are no girls on the tournament team) really pumped each other up in the holding area before each game and would cheer each other on from the sidelines when they weren’t playing themselves.
Final result: Purdue Black 5th place, Purdue Gold 10th place. Boiler Up!