It’s a sport that’s not for everyone; it’s messy, it can be painful, but it certainly gets that adrenaline pumping.
For Zach Pearson, paintball is all about communication and teamwork.
“Paintball is like fast-paced chess,” he said.
“Chess with guns.”
Pearson, who lives in Vernon, is a member and co-founder of the Purple Cobras.
He and his pal Andrew Lamb-Paul started the team more than two years ago and it is built up of 10 players, primarily from the Okanagan, but there are teammates coming from as far as Yellowknife and Saskatoon.
“We’re kind of from all over,” 24-year-old Pearson said.
And some of them have been playing together for nearly 12 years.
That kind of experience, that kind of teamwork is vital in a game like paintball. And for the Purple Cobras, its worked out well.
The Purple Cobras dominated the competition at the 2019 CPPL Series E4 in Bragg Creek, Alta.
The team was dubbed champions after winning the Xball event in the Canadian Professional Paintball League finals on Sept. 1.
Xball, Pearson explained, is a 15-minute five-on-five game and, unlike other varieties of paintball, each round earns one point. The team with the most points wins.
The two teams will attempt to “kill” the other team and hit the buzzer to stop the clock, earning them the point.
“There has to be a lot of communication,” he said in regards to strategy.
“If you’re not talking, shooting or moving, you’re not helping anyone.”
The Purple Cobras took it 3-2.
“Xball is more prestigious, people want to win more,” Pearson said.
Pearson said he’s been playing paintball since he was a child. He received his first paintball gun as a birthday gift when he turned 8.
He and his dad would play together. “I started really playing when I could play at the field when I was 10.”
He noted the sport has been in a bit of a decline, blaming a combination of the recession in 2008 and the typically high cost of the game.
“It’s an expensive sport,” he said. “But it’s starting to come back a lot in Seattle and on the coast.”
“The Okanagan used to put out a lot of good players, compared to our size now.”
Pearson said he encourages anyone interested in paintball should join him at Bushwacker Paintball Games on Highway 97 in Vernon.
“Come on out,” he said. “We’re always open to teaching new people how to play.”
As for the Purple Cobras, they have one more event with the CPPL this year. The team will head up to Edmonton for the series championships in October.