HARKER HEIGHTS — Robert “Old Man” Matthews was happy to be home and in his “backyard.”
“It always feels good to have a home-court advantage,” said Matthews, team captain for the Harker Heights Outlaws paintball team. “It really helps out with the confidence on the field.”
Eighteen five-man teams, some from as far away as Odessa, but several local teams like the Outlaws, competed in the Central Texas Paintball League round-robin “race to two” style tournament at Comanche Badlanz Paintball.
The event was the second of four “race to two” tournaments in the series run by Central Texas Paintball League. The round-robin format has every team play each other at least twice, with one team needing two wins against the others. In case of a tied series, a tiebreaker game is played.
“We’re having a great turnout at our events,” said Regan Land, founder of the Central Texas Paintball League. “It’s great to see the turnout here, too. This is the farthest north we have an event.”
It doesn’t hurt to have a military base down the road, either.
“The military background helps out a lot in two really important areas — confidence and communication,” Matthews said. “You have to communicate well on the field to win, and you need confidence so you don’t get scared out there. We’re doing pretty well today. We’re communicating well and moving the way we should be.”
Besides playing at Comanche Badlanz, many of the Outlaws team members also assist with charity events and volunteer at the facility as needed. The K-Town Kaos, a relatively new group put together by team captain Mark Walden, also competed.
“We’ve been around for, maybe a month,” Walden said. “We’ve got potential to be a good team. We really need to work on our communication, but that’s to be expected with a new team.”
Like many other teams, Kaos is made up primarily of military members.
“We just started showing up and decided to make a team out of it,” Kaos member Bryan Damasco said.
Although Comanche Badlanz owner Bill Clay encourages tournaments and tournament-style play, he said it’s the recreational paintballers who keep the lights on.
“One time we had 103 people out on the course, and you didn’t have to leave when you got hit,” Clay said. “You just stayed in there until you couldn’t take it anymore. In fact, we even have a birthday party coming in today. I’m not sure where I can put them.”