Cousins Dean Del Prete and Paul Sattler started playing paintball for fun in 1986. Noticing a lack of places to play or find equipment, the pair took advantage of this business opportunity and founded Cousins Paintball the following year, creating a one-stop shop for players. They started out with the only paintball field on Long Island, and since then, they have grown to encompass 10 New York locations with scenario and speedball fields. Today, teams equipped with full mask and semiautomatic paint markers wander across their 20- to 80-acre spaces, searching for the opposing team's flag. Eco-friendly paint ensures trees do not suffer lasting damage, and themes such as hide-and-seek and cops and robbers add variety to a full day of games.
The Survival Race’s 5-kilometer track challenges racers to navigate a gauntlet of mud-laden terrain. Staggered waves of up to 300 runners each conquer military-style obstacles, wade through murky water, and slide through muddy trenches before reaching the finish line to celebrate at a shindig awash with delicious eats and smitten swamp monsters. Afterward, a Facebook album aids online nostalgia by showcasing dirt-caked athletes and their marshy feats.
43,000 square feet await airsoft players at Strikeforce Sports' indoor, close-quarters combat field. Once games start, that space starts to feel like an entire city. Foam boards have been transformed to look like buildings of brick and stone. Among them, obstacles such as trash cans and cars are the only things standing between players and their opponents. Strategy plays a key role here, as players choose whether to sneak slowly around corners, go through crawl spaces, or storm in and face their challengers head-on.
Away from the competitive space, Airsoft pistols and rifles, along with other gear, blanket the walls of the onsite pro shop. Here, staffers help players customize their airsoft guns with add-ons, including red dot sights. In addition to restocking their equipment, players can refuel between rounds at the full-service restaurant and sports bar.
High-school social-studies teacher Anthony Pennino Sr. played his first round of paintball in 1985. By the following year Tony had gathered 20–30 friends and kin for paintball bouts on his family's private land. As demand for paintball guns and safety gear grew among his brigade of marksmen, he converted his basement into a makeshift store, supplying paintball accoutrement from home until moving into a storefront in 1990. Within two decades Tony and his clan formed the lauded paintball team the New York Dogs, opened their own indoor arena, and eventually combined that arena with their largest store yet.
That facility forms the backbone of Island Paintball, where a sports turf field hosts Model 98–brandishing players. In between games, players can watch other contests from behind the staging area's Plexiglas viewing windows or browse Island Paintball Supplies' gun wall and 12 massive showcases of paintball gear. An in-house gunsmith repairs any malfunctioning guns, which patrons can wield at open-play sessions and private parties.
Lifelong paintballers Glen Kapostas and Eric Schreiber founded Yankee Paintball with the aim of introducing new people to their favorite sport on a safe and fair playing field. Their 50 acres of paint-strewn battlegrounds include five different fields, each with a distinct layout and environment. Inflatable obstacles are scattered throughout the Airball Field, the layout of which changes every few weeks to enhance replay value. The 10-acre Castle Field—the largest of the bunch—spans the length of a small hill. Its battlegrounds light up with multi-colored crossfire during team games in which players crouch in bunkers, take shelter behind trees, and hide in the crowded nests of woodland critters.