The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Paintball addictive to players

Josh Norman is addicted to paintball.

Norman was 13 years old when his father gave him his first paintball gun as a Christmas gift. His father also bought one for himself and Norman’s brother. It became a family sport.

“We were hooked – the three of us,” Norman, now 25, said.

Paintball is addicting for Norman because he said it gives him an adrenaline rush and is a fun way to relieve stress.

Norman said that’s how others who play the sport feel as well.

“That’s the crazy thing about paintball. You’ll either love it or hate it,” he said.

Norman was one who loved it. After playing for years, he decided he wanted to own his own paintball field, which is how Norman’s Paintball, east of Charleston, began.

Before Norman’s Paintball, Norman managed a paintball field in Georgia while he was in the Air Force. When he returned to Charleston he opened the field that he, his dad and his brother used to play on to the public.

Norman’s Paintball

The sport of paintball can be split into two subcategories – woodsball and speedball – and Norman’s Paintball has areas for both.

Woodsball is played in the natural environment and spans across a large area.

“It may be 10 to 15 minutes before you find someone to shoot at,” Norman said.

Speedball, on the other hand, is faster-paced and more of a combat mode.

“Speedball is what gets your adrenaline pumping,” Norman said.

Of those who play paintball, Norman said 50 percent prefer woodsball and the other half prefer speedball. Norman likes both games, but enjoys woodsball a little more.

“I love woodsball because that’s where it (paintball) started, in the woods,” he said.

Paintball-goers at Norman’s fields have a wide range in age. Regulars are the Eastern Paintball Team.

“The awareness level of paintball has grown because of the EIU Paintball Team,” Norman said.

The team, 2007 winners of the Class AA National Collegiate Paintball Association, often helps Norman manage the field.

No matter what their skill level, anyone who visits Norman’s Paintball must listen to safety rules before play.

“Even if they have been here 20 times, they have to listen,” Norman said. “Safety is number one at Norman’s Paintball.”

Despite the paintballs flying at speeds of about 200 mph, Norman insists it is a safe sport.

“There are more injuries in golf in a year than there are in paintball,” he said.

The main rule people are informed of at Norman’s Paintball is not to remove their masks and in three years, Norman has not had any injuries.

Norman’s Paintball is not only safe, but also cheap.

“Norman’s Paintball is so popular because it’s the cheapest in Illinois,” Norman said.

A group can play for $20 per person, which includes a mask, 500 paintballs and a paintball gun. The field is open Saturday and Sundays for reservations and between 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays there is open shoot.

Because the field is outdoors, Norman’s Paintball is open from March to November.

With an outdoor field, the business season is short, Norman said. If it’s below 40 degrees, the filed won’t open because the shells can break in the barrel.

Fly ‘n Colors

Although Norman’s Paintball is outdoors, Fly ‘n Colors, located west of Charleston, is building an indoor field for year-round play.

Fly ‘n Colors owner, Tony Shriver, started playing paintball in 1999 and, like Norman, became addicted.

“You do it and can’t quit,” Shriver said.

Shriver compared it to playing a favorite childhood game of his.

“I played Cowboys and Indians when I was young, now you can actually hit people,” he said.

Shriver continued to say that paintball is a sport of strategy.

“It’s a game of chess,” he said.

He also said paintball players need to know angles and have hand/eye coordination. When Shriver began playing, he was unaware of what it takes to play, and before 1999, never heard of the sport.

The awareness of paintball is growing and Shriver hopes the indoor field will be beneficial to community.

Shriver said the only place that has an indoor paintball field around here is in Villa Grove. The wall frames have been built and laid out for the indoor field. It will have sand indoors to eliminate sliding, and will have heating as well.

“(It will be) more of a close combat-type quarters,” Shriver said.

Shriver hopes to have it complete and ready to open in November. Shriver’s outdoor field for woodsball is currently closed as well because he has been focusing on working for his father’s pool business.

The field in the woods has leftover paintball shells scattered around, and paint is still present on the bridge and watchtower. The bridge and tower are permanent features of the field, but Fly ‘n Colors switches it up on some days.

“We get bored really easily and change it every couple of weeks,” said Dustin Couthan, a Fly ‘n Colors employee.

Both Shriver and Couthan realize the importance of safety when playing paintball.

Couthan had one tip to offer.

“Always walk the field before you play,” he said.

Like Norman, Shriver stressed keeping the mask on, but also a 10-foot rule.

People should not shoot anyone if they are closer to them than 10-feet, he said.

Anyone over 10 years old can play at Fly ‘n Colors. When it opens again, it will have open ball Friday nights, and during the day on Saturdays and Sundays. Visitors can get all the equipment, which includes 500 balls, for as little as $25.

“I’m not looking to make millions,” Shriver said. “It’s all for the love of the sport.”

Norman’s PaintBall

Where: East of Charleston on Rt. 16

Hours: Saturdays and Sundays for reservation and open shoot Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.

Fee: A group can play for $20 per person and get a mask, paintball gun and 500 paintballs

Web site:

Fly ‘n Colors

Where: West of Charleston on 12284 Old State Road

Hours: Currently closed, expected to open in November

Fee: $25 per person gets a mask, paintball gun and 500 paintballs

Web site:

    Paintball addictive to players

    Paintball addictive to players

    Warren Carter, a senior business management major, uses a Dye DM7 paintball gun while at Norman’s Paintball east of Charleston. His padding and gear is also Dye. Robbie Wroblewski/On the Verge


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