Posted Monday, November 14, 2011 by Katie Hippert
If you were to ask Ben Hirsch what his single favorite hobby is, he would readily answer “paintball.” This University student eats, breathes, and lives paintball. When he’s not studying for his grueling mechanical engineering classes, he is dedicating his time to the University of Nevada, Reno Paintball Club.
“I am basically Mr. Paintball on campus,” joked Hirsch. “Everyone knows me as the paintball guy.”
Hirsch is not only the creator of the UNR Paintball Club, but has been president of the club for approximately the last year and a half. Hirsch was a part of the first paintball club on campus in 2008, but then took about a year and a half off to travel and explore the world. When he came back to the University as a full-time student last fall, he decided to give the club another shot. This time, Hirsch was more serious about seeing the club succeed, and planned on running it his way.
Since then, Hirsch has spent countless hours dedicated to the club. New clubs always require an immense amount of time and work to develop, and Hirsch was willing to do whatever it took to stabilize the club.
“Last year I was ready to be everything the club needed me to be. I brought coaches in, picked which leagues we would play, ordered and designed the jerseys, collected money for events…pretty much everything,” said Hirsch.
His hard work has paid off, with the team doubling in size over the last year. This has been great for the club, which now has more people to pick from and roster for events and practice with. Plus, club members have been able to bond and practice with even more people that are interested in paintball as well.
One of Hirsch’s favorite memories thus far was a tournament the team went to earlier this year in Davis. Almost every club member’s family and girlfriends (and even their dogs) showed up to watch the players’ game. To see people show up and support the club that Hirsch has worked so hard to develop meant the world to him.
“The fact that I was able to be a part of an organization that people are willing to spend their time and effort and money on and not begrudgingly has really affected me,” said Hirsch. “It’s even crazier when you see that they have conveyed to their passion to their loved ones.”
His proudest moment during actual games of paintball occur when he is able to overcome the mental aspect of the game. That is, when he knows exactly what he needs to do to take out his opponent without even thinking about it. This skill is the result of long and diligent training.
In addition to paintball, Hirsch also enjoys traveling immensely. During the summer before last Hirsch actually spent the entire three months backpacking the Middle East, an experience he described as “unforgettable.” He has even been to Israel over a dozen times to visit his family. He also enjoys snowboarding, riding his bike, and photography. When he graduates, Hirsch would love to travel the world working as an engineer and playing paintball at the same time.
The UNR Paintball Club is an on campus club that is dedicated to everything paintball. Members of the team range from students just starting out at paintball and those who are at an advanced level. The team participates in numerous tournaments throughout the year and hold regular weekly practices that consist of skill-building activities. Anyone interested in paintball is welcome to check out the club! If you are interested in joining the club, please send an email to Unrpaintball@gmail.com