(PCM) TopGun Paintball in Jackson New Jersey held its 9th annual cold weather scenario paintball game. You would think only the bravest would test their outdoor muster for frigid weather paintball. That was not true, with over 250 players present many there were first time players, children as young as age ten and players that came from as far as Georgia.
Paintball is a grassroots sport; supported by players, paintball’s wide demographic includes all ages from 10 to 70, tall or short players, wide or slim, male, female with international appeal.
People that try paintball once understand it as more than just a game of guns. In fact paintball players know them as markers, not guns. The sport doesn’t require athletic prowess, just the ability to lift the marker and think strategically.
Many know paintball from speedball, played with small teams of jet fast players played with air bunkers on symmetrical fields similar to football fields. Yet 90 percent of paintballers play in the woods.
In the case of scenario paintball, it’s a day of paintball that uses not just one small woodsball field, but the often the entire facility complex to allow not tens of players to roam, but hundreds and in some cases thousands to move about freely. Yes. some events draw as many as 5,000 players.
Like most scenario events Polar Bears and Penguins uses a theme. To play is simple. Just register in advance or show up the day of the event. Bring your own team to join one of the larger teams or join by yourself. This is known as being a walk-on.
In a scenario event if you are shot out, you don’t wait for the next game to start. You simply re-insert. It can be a timed interval or automatic. TopGun’s Polar Bears and Penguins provides players the chance to play the sport year round as some perceive paintball as a spring or fall sport. In truth it’s played all year.
Many field owners create events such as Polar Bears and Penguins to guarantee a day of large numbers at their complex. It’s good marketing that gets your name out there. In return when you attend a scenario event, it has become standard to provide a give-away at the end of the day. TopGun tossed out free schwag like flying discs, insulated tumblers, barrel swabs, and clothing from well known paintball names like Tippmann.
As a family owned business, one owner Carl Atkins Jr. was quick to include some big ticket items being tossed into the huge after game crowd. When it came to special big ticket items, TopGun provided everyone that wanted in, tickets for a freed drawing, giving away gear worth hundreds of dollars from names like Empire and Tippmann.
On this particular January Sunday, the weather forecast was so bad and previous days of snow and rain, it gave cause to cancel.
To make sure no player was disenfranchised the owners of TopGun came up with a genius idea. They kept the event open to all that wanted to attend and provided both the players that attended and players who could not attend a free return pass on a make-up day the following month. (February 15th 2015).
Ultimately it would appear 253 players had decided to play with standing icey water puddles, and snow on rugged terrain. Thomas Presson drove from Georgia just to experience Polar Bears and Penguins. When asked why, Thomas answered, “I just wanted to play. I wasn’t going to miss it.”
When asked why players come out in ice cold weather, owner Carl Atkins offered, “Paintball is fun in any season. The weather changes the game so it gives you an extra challenge.”
That must be true, many fields average 200 to 300 players for scenario events. Summer based scenarios such as the Alamo at TopGun (complete with fort) will reach 500 to 600. Even with sub 30 degree temperatures and a few inches of snow on the ground, players showed no loss of enthusiasm to win the day.
Scenario events do in fact result in winning teams, and in some cases as many as three major forces are on the battle field. Polar Bears and Penguins featured two teams led by generals.
The Penguins General was Steve Martin, his XO was Will Meeker. The Polar Bear General was Seamus Maziarz with XO Jose Marrero.
The Penguins just edged out the Polar Bears giving them a two wins in a row.
The fields were affected by the weather in that parts of the complex were unplayable. On a compressed space to play, one side of the field was bottlenecked with a valley forcing a huge but very fun battle throughout the day.
This inevitably resulted in referees stepping in moving the battle lines back a good 30 yards to allow the Polar Bears back into action.
Finally just before the lunch break the Polar Bears gathered enough bold players and punched through the edge of the bottleneck resulting in what looked like a life or death run by the Penguins. As hordes of Polar Bear players flanked around the Penguins it appeared few were left on the field.
As the Bears now had huge numbers of players that earlier seemed to just leave the field to gather more paint, the remaining Penguins were now pushed back to their insertion point. Yet the damage in score could not undone.
The Penguins now had a huge commanding lead by holding territory the longest and gathering the most props. This did not stop the Polar Bears from delivering payback from earlier humiliation.
After lunch the teams switched sides of the field so that both teams would have the same advantages of playing from what turned out to be the stronger side of the field. Both teams remembered how the Polar Bears punched through the edge of the line just before the lunch break. The Polar Bears placed a huge number of players at that vital field location and were keen to never let too many players retreat for more paint or air at any one time.
Despite holding 70 to 85 percent of the field during the second half of the day, the Polar Bears could not overcome the huge point deficit. Only losing by a small margin, a loss is still a loss.
Polar Bears and Penguins did test players will to play in cold weather, but only due to wet ground, not snow. Rating the event, it gets a 7 on a scale from 1 to 10. The field complex and owners get a solid 10.
TopGun is located in Jackson, New Jersey. It is physically next to Six Flags Great Adventure Amusement Park. To learn more about TopGun they are located on the web at: TopGunPaintball.com or on Facebook.
Did you attend Polar Bears and Penguins? See this photo gallery https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153533705343835.1073741834.144713903834&type=3&uploaded=45