Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Paintball Diaries

Friday 4/15
7:20pm - After hearing about a friend's experience playing paintball where he got hit in a place where you don't want to get hit, I went to Target and bought a cup. I was very excited that I now own a Major League Baseball authentic cup.

Saturday 4/16
7:35am - I leave my home wearing a long-sleeve Blockbuster shirt (from my days when I worked at Blockbuster), black sweatpants with the number 109 on it (from when I played soccer at high school and "forgot" to return it), a pair of white New Balance shoes and a green University of Rhode Island hat that has seen better days. My rationale for wearing all of this; I decided I was OK with all of these items potentially getting ruined, although I struggled with possibly parting with the sweatpants.

9:15 - Arrive at the paintball place. Surprisingly, everyone seems to be wearing camouflage. The white shoes may not have been the right decision.

9:30 - Safety briefing time. I learned that wearing the mask and goggles is good. I also learned that you can surrender. Finally, you should not shoot animals. The guy leading the briefing shared a story of a guy a few weeks ago who tried to shoot a deer as it ran through the course. The briefing guy made gun sounding noises (pow, pow, pow, pow) while explaining the story. How has this guy not won a Grammy for best spoken word album?

9:45 - I am very happy to be with a private group. Many of the walk-on paintball players look scary and have extremely sophisticated paintball gear and weapons. My group and their equipment didn't look nearly as scary. Plus it's nice to know that the group I was with are working or have worked to defend the country and are not part of a militia. The paintball demographic is an interesting one.

9:50 - Someone in the group has extra camouflage. I now look like I fit in. Well, except for the shoes.

10:00-1:00 - The early session. For the most part, I am just trying not to get hit. Almost all of the games are capture the flag on several courses as big as 100 yards long by 50 yards wide with trees, rocks, barriers throughout the course. I think it was 12 against 12. At one point, I got hit and leave the field. When I got to the "dead zone," I realized that the paint didn't break, so I didn't have to leave. Oh well, too late for me. Mostly, I played on the defensive of things. During the entire morning session, I hit exactly 0 (zero) of my opponents.

1:00 – I was smart enough to bring my lunch. The snack bar selection doesn't look very appetizing.

1:30 – Getting really frustrated by the group of teenage referees. They are burning cardboard boxes in a fireproof barrel. Of course, the ash is blowing right into where everyone is eating. Plus the fire is right next to the canisters of CO2. Not very bright.

1:31 – Fortunately, the CO2 is not flammable. Nevertheless, why is there a fire when the temperature is in the 60s?

1:50 – Before the afternoon session starts, there seems to be swarms of junior high and teenage boys. I’m a little scared that this is the future of our country.

2:00 – Afternoon session begins. I notice that the kids are walk-ons, and am happy that I won’t be joining them. They start on one field where it appears to be 40 versus 40. Even I would be able to hit someone with that many people.

3:00 – I’m doing much better. I actually hit someone on the opposing team. Unfortunately, even though I managed to hit the guy two or three times, the paintball didn’t break, so he was able to stay in…just in time for he and another person to hit me.

3:15 – After another capture the flag round that ended in a draw (in which I was not shot), I learned that I somehow hit an opponent. It turned out that I hit my friend who brought me. Even though it was a lucky shot and I don’t think I aimed, I’ll take it.

4:45 – Definitely my best game. I got the flag for my team, although before I grabbed it, I did ask the ref it that was really the flag. On the way back to base, I did hit someone on the other team when I was trying to.

5:10 – Day over.

5:30 – I had to give back the camouflage. I felt somewhat cool wearing it.

7:00 – Much needed shower!

8:45 – Celebrated the day with a frozen strawberry margarita and dinner.

Overall, it was very tiring but fun. I still cannot aim, and I realize that I did my best when someone was telling me where to go. I think I’m more sore now than I was this morning. I’d play again, but I’ll wait a while.

No comments: