Today I was invited to play paintball for the very first time. A business in Lebanon, TN called Extreme Paintball was the location and I was one of a select few individuals invited to a friend’s birthday celebration. I was honestly a little iffy about going because, as I said, this was my first time playing the game and I was concerned about the potential pain. A marble-sized ball of paint hurling at you at 200 mph from a pressurized air gun is going to hurt, especially if it doesn’t give and burst on impact, as I found out.
Let me say that paintball is super fun. This particular business had 3 mini fields set up with unique layouts for each one. One had automobiles scattered about it and tires stacked up here and there to hide behind, around or under. Another had the body of an old, rusty private airplane angled against some supports for cover as well as tin and wood lean-to’s and makeshift buildings. The third was a series of heaped tires and wooden walls about neck-high to duck and cover. Each field was completely surrounded by a mesh netting that went up pretty high around the perimeter of the fields.
There were several different variations of games offered, but we played mainly two game types: President and Free-for-All. President worked out pretty good because there were five of us at the time, so we split into teams of 2 and the fifth person was the President. The President stands in the middle of the field and the teams start on either end. The first team to reach the President has to tag him/her and get that person back to their base camp without getting hit. The opposing team must take out the other team without hitting the President in the process. If they hit the President, they automatically lose. I’m proud to say we almost won the first game (a gun malfunction paused it and we had to restart). And the second game I sacrificed myself for the better of the team.
We played 3 games of Free-for-All, one with double respawns, which means you can “die” twice. After the first death, you go stand in a neutral area, count to a specified number then run back into the combat zone. I had a blast on all three of those, although the last one was junk because I was hit a second after the ref started the game. I thought the guy a few feet over and I had a unspoken agreement that we were good. The sharp stinging burst against my left rear side said otherwise. The match went something like this:
Ref: “3 … 2 … 1 … GO!”
Me: “AAAAACK! !@#$% I’M OUT!!”
Paintball was a blast, I repeat again. Fun, fun game. I’d love to get a bigger group together and just go wild out there. My tips to other folks wanting to give it a try are:
- Wear several layers of clothing. Make sure at least one of those is a long sleeve shirt.
- Always keep your mask on (that’s a field rule) because you will get hit in the face at some point.
- Wear a belt or something with a waistband that won’t slide down on you. You’re going to have to run and crouch.
- The paintballs do hurt, whether they burst or not. Bruises will be left. The least painful hit I got was actually on my left hand, on the knuckles. I felt it, but there was no pain or sting, just wet messy paint.
- Finally, during the Summer months, with all those clothes on, drink lots of water. It’s gonna get hot fast.
And in closing, I’d like to say to the group of pre-teen kids that kept challenging us, and to their parents who laughed because we were newbs, we’ll take you up on that challenge next time. Y’all may be younger, faster and more experienced, but we’re older and much more sadistic then you could ever imagine. Suckas!