My legs muscles hurt. As do the muscles in my feet. So sore I can barely walk down steps. I'm covered with little stingy welts and bug bites. I'm kinda hungover and generally achey all over. Besides that, paintballing was very cool. 15 of us caravaned up to Plattekill, New York around 7:45AM on Saturday. I picked up an H&H Bagel and coffee for the road (h&h rules). The car I was in of course got lost on the way up and we arrived late... and last. I was responsible to bring the directions but they decided to stay behind in my printer tray.
Right away I knew there were two types of people at the paintball place. The real deal folk who know paintball and paintball often. Prepared. Focused. Serious. And the other side. Dopes like us. Unprepared. Noobs. The type that fall over when trying to step into their coveralls. The type that has to be warned every 10 seconds NOT to remove their goggles while playing, and has to be repeatedly shown how to properly hold the paintball marker.
The type that gets hit by friendly fire all day long. The type who ask dumb questions. And jokes all day long about 'balls' (you stepped on my balls! you got no balls? etc..) or general jokes about getting hit in the balls.
When our group finally got set up and led out onto the first field (in the woods), the instructors gave us much needed lecture about everything. One guy in our group stepped away during the lecture to pee off to the side. The instructor informed us that he just peed in the middle of our field. Then the instructor told us that if we filled up our pockets with extra paintballs the paintballs were now soft and ruined because of moisture. I looked down at my bulging pockets and frowned. We split up in two teams and right away I knew I was on the losing side. Their side had an ex-marine and people who were in shape. My side was a bunch of dudes who compared bellies, wore glasses and the wrong shoes. When we discussed strategy (the game was capture the flag) we all wanted to 'hang back and protect the flag'.
Time to goggle up and lock and load! I made a last minute strategy choice to right off the bat run straight for the enemy flag, grab it, and run back and win the game. I figured they'd be busy setting up position or whatever that they'd never expect someone to run straight for the flag right away. Maybe I'd catch them with their pants down or whatever. The whistle blew and I took off running. I soon realized my strategy was flawed for a number of reasons.
1. I am in bad shape and sprinting gets tiring after like 10 steps. 2. I was wearing my glasses under my goggles and the mist of the woods caused both my glasses and the goggles to fog up. 3. There was no straight line to the enemy flag due to trees and logs and stuff. So in retrospect, my strategy was to clumbsilly half-run serpentine style all blind straight into enemy territory Without firing a shot I was hit right in the goggles with a paintball. More blinded. Then peppered with other shots. I went down. Then called myself 'out' and went to wait out the game in the 'dead zone' and rethink my strategy. The rest of my team joined me soon enough to rethink theirs.
As the day went on I got better at paintball. We played on different fields with like 'city structures' and obstacles. And once I was out of the woods my goggle fogging situation got better and so did my aim and stuff. It was kinda nervewracking to be hiding behind something and pop up and shoot at someone not too far away. Then dropping back down and hearing the pop pop pop of paintballs hitting the thing I was behind as they returned fire. Then popping up and firing back while running to hide behind something else.
Also throughout the day we couldn't help talking about real soldiers. And really being at war. Imagine? With real guns. Carrying real equipment. In real heat. With real threats. Fighting with real bullets. With real balls (m or f). Without any 'time limit'. And I appreciated being able to think about what our soldiers go thru in more of a physical sense as opposed to the glossy scrubbed up image we get from the news. Of course, I realize that what we were doing was nowhere in the realm of what real soldiers go thru. But that just made me think about what they go thru even more... considering how intense it was when I was getting shot at... and how exhausted I was after just one day.