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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Paintball club strives for recognition

A year ago, the NMU paintball club was finding its roots, attributable to the hard work of the three current co-captains. Since then, it has evolved from a group of three members to 300 members with sponsors and multiple programs in a matter of months to accommodate students’ desire to play one of the fastest growing sports in the nation.

The club was organized by president and co-captain Nick Boyle, a junior business management major.

“There was a group of guys here who went out and played for fun. I took the [initiative] to turn it into an actual competitive team because we had a lot of interested people,” Boyle said. “We built this team up into a full competitive team that goes out and plays in tournaments.”

NMU’s paintball club is in the process of acquiring sponsors for their team and gaining support from the university and the community.

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One of the team’s most recent sponsors is the NMU Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). The paintball club is showing their appreciation to the ROTC through the design of their new camouflage tournament and woodsball jerseys, according to Boyle. The NMU paintball club has also found support in its members, Public Safety, and President Wong.

“I talked to President Wong, and he was really excited to hear about [the paintball club]. As long as the students are having fun, that’s what he wants,” Boyle said.

The university does not yet consider paintball to be a sport. This step would help NMU paintball compete at a higher level within the National Collegiate Paintball Association (NCPA) which opens them up to a broader scope of competition with tournaments throughout the school year.

“There’s the common misconception that a marker is a gun, is a weapon. A paintball marker marks someone with paint, a gun kills,” Boyle said. “You just have to laugh at it.”

Vice president and co-captain Brian St. Amour, a junior business computer information systems major, agrees that paintball has this false impression and negative connotations associated with it. The club is taking action to change minds.

“We’re trying to get a presentation together to show people what it’s really like and make the decision [to become an official sport] and not the misconception that it’s just shooting,” St. Amour said.

Paintball, especially when playing in tournaments, requires athleticism and teamwork to be successful.

“You have to do a lot of sprinting and be quick on your feet,” St. Amour said. “Shots are fired at 12 balls per second and when you’ve got five guys shooting at you, you’ve got to be pretty quick.”

The most athletic part of a fast-paced paintball tournament is “the breakout,” when the players run to their respective bunkers. From there, communication is one of the deciding factors in who wins the match.

“Middle players try to make sure front players don’t get bunkered shooting at close range. They relay information between the front and back guys on what needs to be done. The back players are usually at big standup bunkers so they can see what’s going on. It’s their job to get the information to the front players,” St. Amour said.

The paintball club has woodsball and recreational play as well as the capture the flag style tournament team. Woodsball is played in the woods and matches can last up to an hour, according to St. Amour.
Paintball can be played recreationally either on an airfield like the tournaments or in the woods. NMU’s tournament team requires more commitment than the just-for-fun woodsball and recreational programs.

Just like other NMU sports, there are some fundraising and other obligations to be part of the team.

“We want to get a squad or two of decent players to play some local tournaments,” St. Amour said. “We’re hoping to do that this semester, actually.”

Along with finding more players for their team, becoming an NMU sport and competing at a high level within the NCPA, the NMU paintball club hopes be part of the national paintball tournament in Florida next year.

They also want to acquire enough funding to create a field to practice on and use it to recruit new players, like the two or three people with professional experience.

“We want to get the word out because we know there are people who want to play,” said co-captain Randy Loveless, a junior human centered design major.

Loveless is the creator of the paintball club’s Web site, This includes everything someone would want to know about the club and how to play.

“We have a news page where we promote recent sponsors. We also have a ‘captain’s corner’ where you get the view of the team from the captain’s point of view,” said Loveless. “We also have a ‘play for NMU’ link which tells a little bit about joining and you can fill out a players form.”

Students don’t have to be skilled to play. Many of the current members have years of experience and are willing to teach anyone who wants to learn. Northern students who are interested can fill out a form online, send an email to [email protected] or call Boyle at (906) 250-0662.

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