Certain branches of Christianity, most notably Catholicism but a few Protestant variations as well (Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist to some extent) recognize Saints, those outstanding members of the church who through deed and example have shown they made it. The big show, cloud 9, past the velvet rope at the pearly gates. And since they made it Heaven...well you might as well ask them to put a good word with the Big Guy for ya from time to time.
Others find the idea offensive...needless to say this post isn't for them.
I hope these folks can sit back and hopefully enjoy my amateurish attempt at an entertaining post and keep their opinions to a separate topic. (odds of some fundi going on a turbo rant in another topic over this, 1 in 10...in this topic 1 in 4)
So these Saints tend to have their own pet causes where they asked to intercede, where they're Patrons. There's Patron Saints for darn near everything. St. Patrick is famously the Patron Saint of Ireland. St. Christopher is the Patron Saint of travelers. St. Berlinda of Meerbeke is the Patron Saint of protection of cattle from diseases. There's Patron Saints for everything...except premature ejaculation, but I hear that's coming real soon. (thank you Mel Brooks!)
So I think it's about time our favorite little pastime (that would be Paintball) got it's own Patron Saint. I'm thinking a proper old school Saint (we could go with a newer one more recently canonized by the Pope, but I think I've opened enough cans of worms already). So after extensive research... OK, 10 minutes of looking on Wikipedia... I've found a few likely candidates.
The one that obviously first came to mind is St. Sebastian, the Patron Saint of sport and athletes. Also patron of archers, armorers, gunsmiths, bookbinders, hardware stores, police officers, soldiers, lace makers, and for protection against the black plague. The old school Saints tend to build up a lot of patronages.
A little history on the dude: back in the third century Sebastian was a captain in the Roman guard as well as secretly a Christian. This was the time when Christians who didn't make token offerings to the Roman gods were sent to the gladiatorial arena for execution. Sebastian would offer aid, comfort, and encouragement to those scheduled for execution. Even managed to convert a local prefect (like a city administrator) to Christianity who then released all the prisoners. Needless to say this pissed off Emperor Diocletian, who ordered the Sebastian be tied to a tree and shot full of arrows. Amazingly Sebastian managed to survive this. He later stood out in the open and openly mocked the Emperor as he went by, probably going "Nah nah, you didn't kill me, pbbbt".
That was probably pushing his luck a bit, the Emperor had him beaten to death and his body thrown down a latrine. Plenty of the old Christians got martyred, Sebastian is the only one with the cojones to pull it off Twice.
Now I do have a few issues with old Sebastian as a potential Patron Saint of Paintball. For one...
Not saying he was, well, gay. Or that it would be a bad thing if he was, but still...
And then there's the whole issue with the not dieing from the barrage of arrows. The dude literally played on after getting hit. For a sport where we shoot things at each other a guy who ignores projectiles and keeps going until physically beaten may not be a good example.
The second candidate is St. Maurice, Patron Saint of Soldiers. Also patron of swordsmiths, weavers, cloth dyers, the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, and strangely against menstrual cramps.
And his paintings show him slightly less gay. And yes he was black, I picture Denzel playing him in the movie.
Also from the 3rd century, old Maurice was the captain of the Roman Theban Legion, a group of soldiers from Thebes in Egypt who happened to all be Christian. When they were sent to Gaul and ordered to attack other Christians they refused. Emperor Maximian (who was co-emperor with Diocletian from above, with Max handling all the military stuff and Diocletian doing all the political stuff, when they both weren't ordering Christians killed of course) got pissed and ordered the legion decimated. This was the old school definition of the word, literally meaning kill one out of every ten. When they were ordered to attack a second time Maurice gave them a rousing pep talk, telling them not to give in. So the legion got decimated a second time. When they refused to attack a third time they all got executed. Real "death before dishonor" stuff.
Now I prefer him for Patron Saint of Paintball for a couple reasons. He was a leader, a real team player. He also took his elimination with honor. Also check out the shields the Theban Legion carried...
Sure looks like a paintball in the middle of a bullseye to me.
So cast your vote, or recommend your own choice.