by Baca Loco
I know some paintballers have collected markers. And gearheads want at least one of every part, both stock and custom, for their favored equipment. I know that OG Sandanas are all the rage. (Aren’t they? I heard that somewhere.) It seems like a lot of ballers collect one sort of paintball paraphernalia or another. As a player my son traded jerseys with a few friends and competitors but that was all. I’ve kept a jersey from each team I’ve been a part of–-although I’m missing one-–but I’ve never collected any other paintball stuff. At least not intentionally. So it came as a big surprise when I finally got around to cleaning out the paintball closet (again) and discovered I was, in fact, an accidental collector.
The last time I took a stab at finding the floor in the paintball closet it was to collect all the old guns and parts I wanted to get rid of and I didn’t recall anything else of particular note. As it turns out much of the stuff I didn’t mean to collect wasn’t even in the paintball closet. What I did find in the closet was a few T-shirts. One had red and blue stripes with a Scott logo. I haven’t seen a pair of Scott goggles in years but I have the T-shirt. Wadded up in a box of assorted old CO2 bottles was an Airgun Design minimag shirt with a roaring lion on the back. And a really badly beat up WGP autococker shirt. There were also a couple of very early KAPP brand T-shirts. Curious as to what else might be laying around I decided to search chests of drawers, hampers and other closets to see what I might find.
I found loads of other paintball T-shirts. Nearly three dozen. What most of the shirts have in common, besides, paintball, is that I didn’t buy them. I bought some and the others just kind of appeared. Lots of sponsor product from lots of sponsors. Not all of them but a pretty representative selection. Turns out I still have World Cup shirts dating back to the Paintball World venue in Kissimmee. I remember getting the one from the first year my son played a World Cup but that’s about it. And there’s a bunch of IAO (International Amateur Open) shirts going from the Cranberry Township woods venue of horrendously imbalanced fields to the fairgrounds venue that introduced xball with the Nations Cup exhibition. There’s even an original “new” NPPL T-shirt from the split that introduced 7-man national paintball in the U.S. (Not really all that long ago.) I also discovered both of the T-shirts offered by the on-again, off-again archetypal competitive paintball magazine, P8NT. The popular one was the “paintball is not a crime” shirt. After ten years little has changed except it seems more people are thinking maybe paintball is a crime. Too many others to list. Many of them obscure. A few of them various team T-shirts. Put them all together and it’s a pretty good start on a history of paintball told in T-shirts.
Who knew? All this time I thought collecting paintball junk was a waste of time and there I was doing it. And with a collection as sweet as this one I need to start filling in the gaps. I wonder what’s available on ebay right now.