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The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Target the Tide: Fans can battle former Tide players in paintball tourney

Target the Tide: Fans can battle former Tide players in paintball tourney

Former Crimson Tide star Mark Ingram may be a BCS National Championship winner, Heisman Trophy recipient and NFL running back, but so far, one coveted title has managed to elude his grasp; Chris Rogers Paintball Tournament champion.

On Saturday at 5 p.m., Ingram will journey to Splat Zone Paintball in Cottondale to stake his claim for the crown. Joining Ingram are past and present Tide players Mark Barron, Terrence Cody, Marcell Dareus, Preston Dial, Brandon Deadrick, Will Lowery and Brad Smelley and Olympic medalist Deontay Wilder, among others.

Saturday marks the inaugural incarnation of the tournament, which is named after and organized by UA graduate Chris Rogers, a defensive back on the 2009 national championship team.

He has dedicated the tournament to funding breast cancer research, with proceeds from the event going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama.

According to a press release for the tournament, the BCRFA has raised nearly $3.5 million for breast cancer treatment.

Rogers’ connection to the cause is much closer to home.

“When I first attended UA in 2007, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. That was really tough,” Rogers said. “But she just kept up an excellent attitude the whole time, never complained about anything.”

Rogerss’ mother is now in good health, but her disease and positive outlook while facing it inspired him to take action.

“Something I learned from my mom, as well as Coach Saban, is that you don’t think about yourself. Think about everybody else and what you can do to help them,” he said. “You’ve got to know where you are and what you can do to help people.”

Together Assisting People, Inc. will be hosting the tournament. Rogers founded the program, which primarily targets at-risk youth in Alabama, during his senior year at the University.

According to the TAP website, the organization seeks to facilitate “improvement of the entire community” through “guidance-oriented programs that emphasize the importance of having a sound mind, body and soul.”

With competitors like Terrence Cody participating in the tournament, there’s sure to be plenty of mind, body and soul to go around on Saturday. Each player has formed a team of three, and anyone is welcome to form their own group and sign up to participate for a registration fee of $150 at

Rogers said the teams will compete for spectators, who get in for $5 in a double-elimination bracket format. The tournament will culminate in a championship game at 7:35 p.m., followed by an autograph session with the players.

According to Rogers, the tournament’s relatively inexperienced lineup leaves the championship race wide-open.

“A lot of those guys have never played a day [of paintball] in their life,” he said. “But everybody’s playing Call of Duty now, so they feel like they can strategize and act it out in real life. We’ll see what happens. It ought to be a lot of fun.”

Rogers said despite their collective skill, or lack thereof, mentions of the star-studded roster have frequently been met with disbelief and surprise.

“When I called the paintball guy a while back about setting it up, he didn’t believe me,” he said. “I had to get Mark Ingram on the conference call to talk to him so he would believe it was real. Once he realized I wasn’t kidding, he got excited.”

For Rogers, the excitement stems from the opportunity to return to the University and organize a program for a good cause.

“The University’s motto right now is ‘Touching Lives,’” he said. “For me, being able to come back here and help out and being able to live by that motto is a blessing and an honor.”

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