There are few things that seem more manly than the great outdoors and guns. That is why some genius decided to put them together in a non-lethal way. The trick was to combine small capsules that would explode when shot at a low velocity to reduce injury. Those little capsules were later known as paintball.
I remember my first encounter with paintball when I was 9 or 10. I was looking in the garage for a ball when I came upon a duffel bag full of little tubes with tiny marble sized balls in the tubes. I originally thought they were marbles and opened a tube. I poured out one or two and realized they weren’t marbles. They were soft, so I squeezed them together and splat. Paint sprayed on me. I ran inside to ask my dad about the little balls. He then described the activity of paintball.
A few years later my dad played paintball with his friends. When he came home he had little paint patches all over his clothes. He told me how much fun it was and he would show me his equipment. He took me outside and lined up some cans and then taught me how to aim and shoot the paintballs.
I used to play paintball when I was in middle school. A couple of kids I was friends with had semi-auto and pump paint ball guns. We always would pick teams and I was generally picked toward the top. One thing I never understood is the reasoning behind picking me. Everyone would say they heard I was good at paintball, but I don’t know how the rumors started. From all the memories I have I was terrible. I don’t remember landing a shot on anyone, but I do remember taking a bunch of them. I do remember having fun!
A few days ago, for a work event, I went paintballing. I knew anything I had learned when I was younger was forgotten. Most of the people I was going with didn’t play or hadn’t played in a while either. We all geared up and took the safety course. Everyone seemed a little uneasy because no one could remember how much the balls hurt. When the training was done we headed to the field.
We picked teams. I was picked at the top again, but someone made a joke that being from Kentucky I had an advantage. This is true, I have painted the town red before but it was normally with bourbon and not a paintball gun. Each team took their sides and discusses strategy. It was exciting. you know it is going to hurt when you get shot, but you don’t know how much it will hurt. You want to go on the attack, but you don’t want to leave yourself vulnerable. I found a good spot at the beginning of the match. I could see the playing field and the insanity that was happening. 9 v 9 matches are intense, and there is a lot of sound going on. While trying to shoot at someone across the map to provide cover for a teammate, I see another teammate get shot by a couple “enemies”. Since the person I was providing cover for was safe I decided to flank the “enemies”.
I ducked down and crawled through a ditch and came up on the side of 3 enemies. They weren’t in plain sight but they were at a spot I could hit them. I started shooting, and took one out. The others weren’t sure where the balls were coming from so when they moved it didn’t cover them any more. I kept firing and took out another one. The third finally spotted me and returned fire. I got hit straight in the neck, and it was not pleasant. I was about to call myself out when I felt the shot location and realized the paintball did no break and I was still in the match. When I looked again he was gone. I made my way toward the center of the field when our team took the flag and won the round.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing paintball and hope to do it again soon. There is a big facility about an hour north of Columbus called Splatter Park. There is something about being outside and experiencing chaos. The thrill of not knowing if someone is right around the corner about to light you up, or the excitement you get when you are providing cover for someone who wins the round. The feeling of accomplishment when you hit someone you’ve been in a standoff with and the feeling of agony when you are unexpectedly hit on the side by someone you had no idea was there. Humans are meant to feel and paintball brings out a lot of those feelings. You may get a lot of bruises, but the fun you experience makes it worth the pain. Honestly, I hardly remember feeling the pain when I was shot because I had so much adrenaline during te matches.
If anyone is interested, let John or I know. We were thinking it would be a fun experience. They have had a couple of groupons and even at $45 it isn’t that bad for 5-6 hours of calamity.