Yesterday morning I got to go paintballing with my friends Doug and Hugh, and a couple of Doug's friends. We went to a place called Warped way up by Magic Mountain.
Short version: it was fun, we saw Tom Hanks, I got shot in the back by a teammate at one point.
Long version: it's been 10 years since I last went paintballing. I used to be really into it in high school and early college. Here's a picture of my gun that I dug out of an old website I used to have.
I still have the body somewhere, but I've sold all the parts.
So, with that in mind, it was odd being one of the "new guys" using the crappy rental equipment on a field full of little kids and middle-aged men with $500-$1000 electric guns and gear. We were all armed with Tippmann Model 98s, which came out right around the time I got out of the game. We had smeary, scratchy masks that were difficult to see through. One thing I remember from when I used to play is that any bit of dirt or grime on a paintball affects it's accuracy greatly, so with our rental guns that had dirt and wet paint in the barrel, wet paint in the hopper, and wet paint and dirt in the refill pods, our shots beyond 30 feet were all over the place.
But it was still pretty fun. Our first game took place in The Town, which felt closer in size to a large living room. Two teams start on opposite sides and rush to fill in the little wooden closets. You run all of 10 feet before you have to stop and set up because you're coming under fire. Well, I went left to try and get at their flank, but got nailed right in the mask when I turned a corner. Out in about a minute.
Second game took place in the Spool Field. Our team started at the bottom of the hill. Once again, as the game begins, I run up the left flank and BAM hit by a lucky shot to the mask by someone way up the hill raining pellets on us. Again, out in a minute. As for the rest of our team, Hugh had showed up by this point, and even though it was his first game ever, he and another guy ended up winning the game for our side!
Third game, I think, here we go, gonna be careful this time! We switched sides on the Spool Field, and, again, I take the left side. (I didn't really realize until now that I did this every game.) So I get really far down the left flank, get a good position behind a large spool, and am waiting for an enemy to advance too far and expose himself. Then THAP. What the? I get hit in the back! I'm very confused for a moment. No one could have advanced far enough to hit me in the back without getting shot by the rest of my team. THAP THAP. More shots come. They're bouncing off of me, not breaking, so I'm not calling "out" yet. I look behind me and realize they must be coming from someone on our team! I wave and yell, "I'm on your side! Knock it off!" Then I settle back down and scan the opposing side for enemies. THAP THAP THAP. I'm hit, and they've broken. I call out and move outside of the field. Shot out by some idiot on my own team! I think it was one of these little kids who was playing, but come on. If you can see me clearly and you haven't moved from the back-most cover, I'm on your team. There isn't really an excuse other than stupidity.
So that sucked. Three games in, I hadn't eliminated a single player, and I'd been one of the first people out each time.
After that game we took a break and refilled. It was at this point that I saw Tom Hanks walk past me with a bunch of kids on their way to a private party game. So that was neat. I didn't say anything or stare, but I confess I wanted to hear him give out orders to his team in his Capt. Miller voice.
Next up we tried one of the Speed Ball fields, which are my least favorite since the guys with 15-ball-per-second electronic triggers tend to dominate and it's really close quarters. Ironically, I did my best on this field, getting two guys out in one game.
Later we tried The Graveyard, where I really noticed that our guns sucked at long-range. I did get to watch Doug take a guy out while I was on the sidelines. It was great, this guy was peaking over the edge of his trench, and Doug nailed him right on the hand or the top of his head, and paint went spewing out behind him like an exit wound.
The field I really wanted to try, the field I would have been most comfortable on, was Afghanistan. And it's the one we didn't do. It's a long woodsy field, the kind I grew up playing on. Oh well. Next time we'll insist on it.
Fun day. We may go again in a few months. And I want to at least get a decent pair of goggles before next time so I can see.