Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: San Marcos, TX
I have a lot of experience in starting private clubs and even teams in public schools, and I can tell you that this will be no easy task for you. Paintball is still somewhat frowned upon by school administrators in the wake of numerous school shootings and paintball-gun-related crimes (i.e., shooting pedestrians from a car). You may be better off just posting flyers around school looking for players and form a team completely unaffiliated with the school. However, if you're absolutely determined to start a school club or official team, you will be most successful if you prepare accordingly and are responsible about organizing your request.
First and foremost, before you bother trying to start a club at your high school, make sure that there are other students interested in joining the club. There is power in numbers, and the more students that are willing to join and play, the better.
Secondly, talk to your parents or teachers about being a team sponsor/organizer. This seems obvious, but it's worth stressing. You will absolutely want to have an adult involved in this well before you talk to your principle.
Thirdly, once you have an adult sponsor and potential teammates lined up, write up a mission statement for the club. This is probably the most important thing to do prior to submitting anything to your school administrators. Remember that paintball, to the casual observer, is nothing more than a bunch of kids running around and shooting each other, and the mission statement is your best chance of proving that the sport is more than the sum of its parts.
Some (but not all) of the things to include in the mission statement are:
1. Team name and roster, complete with captains and adult sponsors.
2. A brief description of what paintball is and how it is played. (You may want to take the opportunity here to discuss how paintball has been portrayed in the media and how that is not indicative of the sport as a whole. For example, make a comparison between violent crimes committed with baseball bats and the sport of baseball.) You'll want to talk about the marker itself, the types of propulsion used, hoppers, protective gear, safety issues, etc.
3. How would having an official school paintball team positively influence the student body in general? List multiple reasons (i.e., increase the number of students involved in sports, better physical fitness, more recognition for the school if the team is successful, etc.). Bear in mind that unlike other high school sports, many paintball tournaments offer cash prizes. Consider offering to use any cash prizes to first offset the team's cost of playing, then donate the rest of the money to the school's other teams or clubs, or to charity.
4. Details on how practice will work. Most schools will probably frown on you painting up their campus, so you'll likely have to practice at a local field. (On the plus side, depending on how generous the field owners are, you might be able to work out discounts on field fees and paint, or even field sponsorship.) You'll want to discuss transportation to and from practice, if a bus will be required or not, supervision and coaching, etc.
5. Discuss how tournament play is going to work. Will you be playing strictly locally, or will you want to go to NPPL and PSP tournaments? How will you plan to pay for hotels, field fees, tourney paint, etc.?
6. A per-semester budget. If your school is going to be expected to defer any of the cost of playing (similar to supplying football pads, or working with local businesses to provide gear discounts), they will absolutely need to know how much things cost. You should have two components to the budget--the one-time initial cost of joining (membership fees if applicable; the price of markers, tanks, barrels, and hoppers; protective gear; etc.), and long-term total cost associated with playing (field fees, paint, gasoline to get to and from the field, etc.). If the team members will be expected to use a particular marker/mask/jersey, include that price in the one-time cost section.
Again, that is by no means a comprehensive list of what you'll want to include in the mission statement, but rather a few of the main points that you will absolutely need to include. If the principal is willing to entertain the idea, he will most likely have to submit the idea to the school board and PTA, and the better informed they are, the better off you'll be.
Finally, BE INVOLVED. Go to your public library, pick up a copy of the ACLU Student Handbook, and read anything relating to teams and clubs. (Consider that to be insurance, in case stubborn board members refuse to let you start the team out of ignorance.) Offer to attend school board or PTA meetings to discuss any concerns they may have about paintball in general. Be prepared to show video clips of tournament play and discuss the strategy involved in being successful (DerDer DVDs are a good source for this, or the PB2X behind-the-scenes show on Fox Sports Network on Tuesdays at 4:30). But don't sit back idly and expect to get what you want. You will definitely need to get involved in the decision-making process.
I hope this has been helpful. PM me if you have any other questions.
Last edited by GrrPi : 07-24-2008 at 05:02 PM.