Many of the players have been playing since they were about 10 or 12. Some learned recently. The players say the adrenaline rush you get while playing is unbelievable Ben Konechne, a Liberty Univ player, told News 7 "what other sport can you shoot somebody and get away with it and it's just part of the sport?"
The team plays other colleges throughout the southeast including Virginia Tech. It involves putting two teams of five on opposite ends of the field. The players dash in between inflatable blunkers trying not to get shot. You're out as soon as you get hit. The team with the last remaining player on the field wins.
During practice and games the paintballs are flying at rapid fire. Caleb Bilesner, a Liberty Univ. player, told News 7 "not to get scientific actually 200 miles per hour." Getting hit by a paintball does hurt, although the paint easily washes off in the washing machine.
The sport isn't cheap. The players have to buy the guns, the equipment, and the paint. They'll easily go through 60,000 paintballs during a practice, more than that during a game. The players tell us the guns alone can cost more than $1,000.
The players say they are real athletes, not gun enthusiasts. Cody Leeworth, a player, tells News 7 "a lot of people think we are out in the woods shooting people from behind trees but honestly this is a great athletic game." Caleb Bilesner tells News 7 "you're sprinting, you're diving, you're crawling, you walk off the field and your breathing hard."
The team's hard work has paid off. The Flames are currently ranked 3rd in the nation for class AA. The players plan to compete for the national title in April. The players are proud of their national rank but hasn't let it gone to their heads. Coach Todd Hogland told News 7 "the team is a goofy group of college guys. Buy when they set foot on that field they transform into amazing players."