Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Does anyone where a cup to protect their genitals? I wear a cup when I play hockey and people aren't even trying to hit my with the projectile. I was very nervous to play Paintball but it was going to be at a reunion for a high school that I worked for, so I trusted the crowd.

There's no way to tell who is on what team particularly because I was one of sixty armed amateurs. It's dark, your goggles fog from your panicky breath, and the identifying armbands declaring who-is-on-what-team are as effective as wearing tiny chameleons. Everyone was wearing the provided dark coveralls and black protective mask -except for my brother who was wearing the coveralls, the mask, and a suit jacket. He looked amazing and secured his status as a legend when, in round two, he found the best hiding spot behind enemy lines and proceeded to eliminate half of their confused team single-handedly.

It hurts to get hit by a paintball but it needs to. I was so hopped up on adrenaline that I wouldn't notice anything less than a sharp whack. Only three hours after playing did I realize how fatigued I was, how my joints ached from throwing my body around, and how my wounds were bruises.

We played four rounds. The first two were basic go-shoot-the-other-team and during the last two one team was assigned to defend a "building" (basically a two-story facade. The structure was long but only about one and a half meters deep) while the other team tried to attack it.

Round 1 - The game began so suddenly. I was surprised how terrible the visibility was. Shots were being fired around me and could see nothing. I was firing at any movement. I stumbled upon someone and I was shot in the fat under my left arm as I shot them in the shoulder. It has left a nice bruise that has lasted for three days. It hurts to press but not to brush on things.

Round 2 - I wasn't shot. I was pinned down a lot of the time and watched as paintballs exploded against the wall behind me. I could feel how tense my body was becoming and had to consciously make a decision to relax. Thankfully, from my position I had an excellent view to watch my brother become a god. After this round everyone on the opposing team was talking about "needing to get the suit jacket guy".

Round 3 - I was shot in the knee as I ran for cover to advance on the building that the other team was defending. It didn't really hurt or bruise. My brother had paint all over his crotch. He was shot in the groin and had to sit down because of the pain. I was shocked how dangerously close it was to his Carl Sagans. He informed me in would have been better if he was shot in the gennies so we would know what it would be like. For science.

Round 4 - My goal for this round was to get shot in the face. I saw other people who had paint on their masks and it looked fun. But I lasted too long. I was one of the last people left trying to defend our building. It was amazing. We were trapped on the second floor as they flooded in. I had no idea what I was shooting at, I fired at any foggy blob that moved. After a long, fun, tense shootout I was hit in the wrist. It didn't bruise. Once outside, I saw my brother who showed me his mask. He had been shot in the face. Lucky guy.

1 comment:

Simon said...

All through the story I was trying to work out which brother it was. The athleticism sided me to Paul, but the jacket and science pushed me to Andy... my decision, Andy!
In a related story, in Cambodia I was offered the chance to shot an AK-47 for $30 per round. I didn't do it, I think mostly because I had just been to the Killing Fields and I didn't see the point. I wonder if I would have if I didn't just come such a devastating place.