Paintball championship returns to Oak Forest this weekend

OAK FOREST, Ill. — Oak Forest is about to get a little messy this weekend as the Midwest Paintball Championship descends on Gaelic Park.

Thousands of professional and divisional players packed into netted arenas Friday in hopes of leaving the competition paint-splattered and undefeated.

"It’s 100-percent tunnel focus," Joseph Barrett said. "If you’re not 100 percent there ... that could be the difference."

This isn’t your strip-mall paintball. In fact, for many of the athletes, this is a full-time career that takes them all over the globe.

Amanda Setzer is part of the growing legion of female players. She said she's been hooked since she was 16, when she first watched a divisional team practice.

"Not a lot of people know about this sport unless they’re really involved in it," Setzer said, "so when people hear I play nationally and internationally, they say, 'We never knew you could do that.'"

The Midwest Paintball Championship runs through Sunday at Gaelic Park in Oak Forest with the top teams advancing to the World Cup Finals in Florida this November. There are professional sessions, as well as divisional games for up-and-comers.