Is there any better way to spend Mother’s Day than splattering your friends with projected paint? The Armed Forces Group thought not, and as such, believed it the proper occasion for 185 Boothies, partners and friends to head out to CPX Sports in Joliet, Illinois for four hours of intense paintball action. Although a few experts were lurking in the crowd, for the majority of attendees it was their first time playing.
Adam Byerley, a first-year, reveled in the opportunity to get out to the fields on what ended up being a beautiful Chicago day: “It was a great opportunity to do something different with your classmates. Battling your friends out on the field is definitely a lot of fun, but it was also great atmosphere of teamwork, trust and cooperation. Overall, a really good event”
Now a yearly tradition, the AFG considers this event their capstone for the University. This year’s turnout blew away all expectations and the better for it: a few dollars from each player will go to support the Travis Manion Foundation, a charitable organization whose mission is to support the family and loved ones of fallen service members. Donations will turn into grants that will help pay for continuing education, service projects and seminars on moving past tragedy for these families.
Many of the members of AFG have spent time conducting similar training events in their pre-MBA careers, so getting out to the fields was a great opportunity to sharpen old skills. For new players, it was a chance to get outside, try a new and exciting sport, and test their mettle against their friends; prior to the start of play, the trash talking was robust, to say the least.
After checking in Saturday with their “Squad,” each player joined a “Platoon” commanded by an AFG member and boarded a bus for the 50-minute ride out to the site. Upon arrival, each member received their equipment and headed out with their platoon to the massive play field, where they accepted the first mission: all 185 players would be battling it out on the same arena to gain control of key areas and defend others.
Complete and utter confusion reigned supreme for the first hour of play. Players had trouble identifying friend from foe, and learned first-hand the trouble behind losing your “situational awareness” – where you stand on the field. Luckily, the Boothies quickly adapted and by the second and third hour of play, even the most “green” players where helping to devise tactics and strategies to advance their platoon’s cause. The AFG was pleasantly surprised at each team’s ability to adapt, using communication and teamwork to win battles both small and large.
After four hours of play, the group was exhausted and ready to show off their water-soluble battle scars. The AFG thanks everyone for participating, and for supporting the cause. Next year, the AFG is hoping to get 250 players (including faculty!) out to the field for even more intense action.