By Chuck Cannon, Fort Polk Guardian staff writerOctober 25, 2010
FORT POLK, La. - One of the most common questions asked by Soldiers and Family members upon arriving at a new duty station is, "What's there to do around here'"
For Fort Polk area denizens, whether military, Family members, civilians or retirees, there is an opportunity to while away those weekend hours, and it's right on post: Paintball.
Staff Sgt. Travis Longmore, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 353rd Infantry Regiment, 162nd Infantry Brigade, heads up Fort Polk's competition paintball team, "Resistance," and the veteran "speedballer" is seeking new team members. "We started up our team in May and have competed in four events," Longmore said. "Some of us who played at Fort Polk on weekends got together and suggested we start a team. Since I had run a team before, they asked me to start it up."
In the four tournaments the team has competed in thus far, they've placed second, fifth, first and second. The first-place title was won in the inaugural tourney of a five-tournament series. A tournament will be played every other month, with an overall winner named after the fifth event in May.
To make sure his team has enough competitors to complete the series, Longmore has put out a call to those who think they might be interested in tournament speedball.
"Most other teams have an advantage over us in that they might have a three-person team that has played together for several years," Longmore said. "We have to deal with deployments, field training exercises, leaves and other situations. We've had four members leave on deployments in the past two weeks."
The squad is open to Soldiers, Family members, civilians and retirees. Longmore said the only requirements are to purchase a jersey and "jell" with other team members. Tournaments are usually three- or five-person team events, and there are no limits as to how many squads a team may enter.
Practice is held Sundays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Range 23A, the Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation civilian shooting range on Fort Polk.
"It's important to make practices because that's where we train up for tournaments," Longmore said. "If you're part of a team, your teammates expect you to do certain things, to work together.
Longmore, who estimates he's been a participant in paintball battles for more than 20 years, said the sport is not for couch potatoes or those who don't like an occasional bruise.
"The version of paintball we play, speedball, is an 'in your face' sport," Longmore said. "You've got to be in good shape because there will be times you're moving at a full sprint. I'm 38 and our youngest team member is 14 and we compete equally."
As far as bruises go, team member Spc. Matt Snoderly, showing off a "hickey" on his neck, can vouch for the shots a person's body takes. "Every now and then you're going to take a hit that leaves a mark, especially after tournaments," he said.
Snoderly said he enjoys paintball because it gives him something to do on weekends.
"I've been playing for some time and it's definitely an adrenaline rush," he said. "You can have fun and not have a bar tab at the end of the day."
For those who want to give paintball a shot, Longmore said to attend the normal Sunday practices, call him at (317) 730-4140 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also visit the team's web site at www.wix.com/hellbringer120/Resistance.
Longmore said he's set a goal for Fort Polk paintballers.
"I hope that we have so many players show an interest that we can start our own league on Fort Polk," he said. "Then we would have a great pool to draw from for weekend tournaments."