Paintball

Matthew aiming paintball gun

Hi! I'm Matthew. Welcome to my paintball page.

I've been playing paintball since Saturday 5 February 2000. My first exposure to paintball was just a few months before that when I accompanied my brother into a paintball store in Buffalo, NY, as he looked for his first marker. At the time, I was under the opinion that paintball was absolutely the most idiotic thing on the planet. Suddenly, three months later, I had my own paintball equipment and was playing twice a week!

A few years ago, a friend said to me that he is a totally different person when he plays paintball. I don't think that's true in my case. I like to think that the paintball me is the real me. I actually like paintball because it gives me a chance to wear a cool mask. I noticed this my first time playing. All of the people around me looked real cool in their masks. Then it hit me: I looked the same way. Every once and a while, I hear the same comment from a first time player at the field.

Paintball Instruction Photo Shoot

My brother Mark was at RIT during the 2001 fall quarter when I was in my final year of Computer Engineering. I had the pleasure of helping Mark with some small photography projects for his courses. My assistance was typically limited to transportation and advice alone, but he asked me to participate in a Paintball Instruction photo shoot for one of his classes. My equipment was in Buffalo, drying out from the previous weekend's game, so I ended up using his equipment. We shot the following sequence within, well, shooting distance of my on-campus apartment. I'm quite impressed with the result! Note that I used his gun for the photo shoot. I use a Tippmann 98. I also own a hopper.

Boots 18 Oct 2001 1024x768
Mask 18 Oct 2001 1024x768
Barrel 18 Oct 2001 1024x768
Compressed gas propellant 18 Oct 2001 1024x768
Paintballs 18 Oct 2001 1024x768
Aim 18 Oct 2001 1024x768
Pull trigger 18 Oct 2001 1024x768
Repeat 18 Oct 2001 1024x768
  1. Securely tie sturdy footwear, such as boots, to your feet.
  2. Carefully place an approved safety mask over face. An optional hat may be worn to shield the top of your head or for sociocultural conformity.
  3. Attach a barrel to your paintball gun.
  4. Screw a compressed gas tank into the gun's constant air adapter. Make sure that the tank contains propellant and that it is seated securely in the adapter without leaks.
  5. Insert paintballs into the gun's hopper. If you forgot your hopper and the photography assignment is due in 12 hours, just ignore the hopper thing and hope that your critique grader doesn't play paintball.
  6. Aim very carefully.
  7. Take a deep breath, and slowly... squeeze... the... trigger!
  8. Continue firing paintballs at an opposing target as necessary.

First Paintball Experiences

Paintball Long Island field 7 May 2000 1024x768

Matt Mariani and Judd Jenne convinced me to play paintball for the first time with Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society (motto: Greek letters but it's not a fraternity). My family, of course, couldn't believe that I actually went. I had a fantastic time, and decided to attend an open session at Rochester Indoor Splattball (the Post Office) the week before I left for co-op on Long Island. That game was quite a bit different from the private game with my friends, and I made a great many mistakes, such as hiding on the wrong side of a bunker and charging into lines of fire. I don't think I lasted more than two minutes in any game for the entire night. But I finally shot someone, and I was hooked!

Paintball Long Island field 7 May 2000 1024x768

I finally figured out paintball with the help of an eighth grader, his friend, and his little brother. When I met them for the first time at Oceanside Indoor Paintball and again at Paintball Long Island, they routinely kicked my butt! Being squashed by a group of three kids 10 to 12 years younger than you is quite good motivation for improvement! I played at PBLI every weekend for a little under three months. Sometimes the weather was beautiful, other times we played in pouring rain. It was always fun. I also played speedball every Friday evening at High Velocity Paintball in Bay Shore, right off the Sagtikos Parkway near the Deer Park LIRR station. Outdoor paintball at PBLI was fun, but the crowd at High Velocity was very competitive! When I got back to Rochester, I started playing at Ground Control Paintball in Buffalo, only a few minutes away from my father's house.

In fall 2001, I was invited to Aaron Thompson's personal, private, outdoor speedball field. (Lots of people out in semi-rural Western New York have enough land to set up paintball and motorbike courses... even some guys down the street from my father in Buffalo set up their own outdoor paintball field.) This was the first time I played paintball outside the auspices of a corporate environment. Paintball at Aaron's field was much more intense and competitive than many of the games I'd normally play on the weekends, but that's just because Aaron and most of the other people he invites are really good! Aaron posts pictures of all of our games on his website, and even manages to get the names of all the daily guest players for the captions.

Matthew shooting at Aaron Thompson's field 2 September 2001 800x600
Paintball at Aaron Thompson's field 2 September 2001 800x600
Matthew shooting at Aaron Thompson's field 2 September 2001 800x600
Matthew shooting at Complete Paintball in Rochester 16 December 2001 869x496
Paintball group at Complete Paintball in Rochester 16 December 2001 869x572

I used to play at a variety of places in western New York. First and foremost, I went to all of the games organized by RIT groups like IEEE, TBP, College Activities Board, and even the paintball club. Here I am with Aaron, Sara, and Daniel, at Complete Paintball in December 2001. We also played at The Jello Factory. My home field, which I frequented about three Saturdays every month, was Ground Control Paintball on Transit in Buffalo.

My Last Paintball Game in Buffalo

Judd, Matthew, Kate, and Lynn (Mom) at Ground Control Paintball 25 May 2002 1024x768
Lynn, Matthew, and Kate at Ground Control Paintball 25 May 2002 1024x768

After I graduated with my Master's degree in Computer Engineering, my family and friend Judd Jenne traveled to Buffalo to play at Ground Control Paintball one last time! The lead referee, Mike Leman, let my 10 year old sister borrow his gloves for the day. She still talks about it! My brother, father and grandmother watched, and everyone had a great time. I don't know anyone else who skipped a fancy dinner after graduation to go out and shoot at family.