As I settle into my Airbnb – I’m a recent convert and I’m really enjoying the concept – I’ve been thinking about what makes the National Collegiate Paintball Association’s National Championships so enjoyable. I think it is mostly the same aspects that have me enjoying other college sports: the limited time player are eligible to play, the ever changing rosters, the buzzing atmosphere of a college competition arena, and the talk of what everyone would be doing at the end of the day while students have a short break away from classes. However there are a few things that make the NCPA Nationals special. There is almost no opportunity for direct recruitment into a professional paintball program, no multimillion dollar contracts on the line, seldom are there paid coaches or staff, and it’s even rare for many college paintball programs to receive money from their colleges. That doesn’t stop these teams from striving their hardest to win for nothing more than a banner, a few photos, and a little bit of screen time on TV.
The online PbNation poll is tight, but lists the Texas AM University Aggies in the lead followed by the University of Connecticut Huskies, then the returning champions the Florida Atlantic University Owls. Given that so many teams are refreshing their rosters every year with new blood to replace graduated members, it’s not reliable to count on repeat performances as you can with professional sports. In full disclosure I voted in favor of the University of Florida Knights, but that’s merely a gut reaction with nothing to back it up. Something about the Florida teams just seems to be appealing to me for some reason.
The live stream of Class A action begins Friday at 9 AM Eastern at ncpapaintball.com