Change #94: Perfecting My Saturday Morning With Paintball & Welts

Workout clothes. Hiking boots or running shoes. Cooler. WATER! Ice. Full length paintball body suit. Armour. Helmet. Paintballs. And of course, you’re paintball gun.

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Prep before.

****

All those questions that I asked, all those months ago, are finally answered.

It happened this Saturday. It was post-walk with LBM at 6 AM, post-showering, and post-wiggling into my tank top, sports bra, and tights. We had already coordinated with our friends Sheila and D. (he asked that I create a fictional name for him, Diego? Dexter? Ok, we’ll just go with D.) about the time we would rendezvous at Delta Force Paintball in Stittsville. We agreed to meet at 8:45 AM.

We were a little late.

There was an overwhelming sense of anxiety that flooded over me as we drove out to the Delta Force Paintball site. I was concerned about hitting someone with my paintball and seriously, and inadvertently, hurting them. I’ve never used a paintball gun before. Was there a chance that I could be so terrible at shooting, that I would send a ball soaring towards a referee critically injuring him/her without meaning to? Or, hit another player in the head sending him into a coma?

Then there was my concern for the three people that I convinced to do this insane event with me: hubby, Sheila and D. What happened if something happened to them? I twisted and turned my hands around in front of me in the passenger’s seat of the car as me, at 42 years old, decided I would play paintball for the first time and had somehow convinced three other people to do the same. (Although I learned later, that D. had already gone before. What???)

We needed to arrive at 9:00 AM as this was our first time playing. We were told that we needed some information before the commencement of the paint games. The information required me to know the following: how to use our paintball guns, how to reload, and how to turn on and off the safety for the gun. Oh, and more importantly, how we were to exit the area with hands in the air after we had been shot. Failure to raise your hands, meant you were in the game still. Yellow splatters would be your new favorite colour.

It was an overwhelming amount of information to take in, attempt to retain, and then recall when necessary, on only 1.5 cups of tea. All this before 10 AM. After 10 AM I would need to use this knowledge that I had been given at the following locations: The Two-Storey Castle, Speedball, and Prison Break. (There were others, but we called it a day around 1 PM). At these locations, I would become both the hunted and the hunter. Purple balls loaded in my gun, they would explode when catapulted into the air and would hit my target. Haha! I would rule the castle!

After I dumped all my paintballs on the ground, I reloaded the holder again. We hadn’t officially started yet, and I had already poured a bunch of balls into my holder, and failed to plug the hole with my finger that would enter into my paintball gun. Purple balls surrounded me, hubby and our friends where we stood. (We were not given our guns until we were in the zone where the games were played.)

My expertise already showing, I then managed to put my armour on top of my paintball body suit. One of the nice guys from the company very kindly and gently pointed out that the armour should go underneath the suit.

“Oh,” I think was my eloquent response. It reflected the depth of knowledge I had about participating in the event I was preparing for.

We finally put our helmets over our head. There are signs that are clearly marked that state you must keep your helmet on at all times while in the playing field. This is for your protection as there are other games going. There is the possibility you could get hit by stray paintballs. The man who delivered our detailed instructions did it with comedic oomph. At one point he explained that after we had been shot you could raise your hands in the air and say a number of different things that included: Out! Down! or …Ow! 

But the helmet thing he was serious about. Not a joke was made. The warning was real: TAKE YOUR HELMETS OFF WHILE ON THE COURSE, AND YOU WILL GET KICKED OUT.

I had on my tank top and tights, the armour that protected the chest and stomach area, and then the paintball suit. I was certain it was already in the 20’s, and when I placed the helmet over my head, and the staff at Delta Force Paintball secured the strap around my chin, (oops….forgot that part) I instantly felt like all the air had evaporated around me. I took deeper breaths in and tried not to panic about not being able to breathe.

The good thing is: I know for certain my hubby felt the same way. So, I was not alone. The trick, was not to panic. More importantly – DO NOT REMOVE THE HELMET.

As we walked through the wooded area, we came across a patch where slippery mud awaited us. I decided to bypass the mud and save my hiking boots by meandering over to the left side where shrubs and trees were in abundance, but mud was not. However, after further consideration about how dense the shrubs were, I forced myself to trample through the muck. The brown slippery mud was safer than the dense shrubs that awaited me to the left. The shrubs were guaranteed to tug and pull at my already overloaded gear that clung to my body, and by the weighted gun that I carried. (If felt like I was carrying bricks.)

Once at the castle, the referee outlined the objectives.  Hubby and I were placed on the blue team, and Sheila and D. were placed on the red team. Blue Team’s mission was this: to protect the castle. Red Team’s mission: attack the castle and raise the flag.

I was going to stay on the bottom level of the castle, but hubby suggested we go to the second level. We made our way to the top and the firing of purple balls started. Me and hubby were perched around the back of the castle, so it took some time before I saw anyone get hit. I was both shocked and horrified when I saw hubby put his hands up in the air, casually walk down the stairs, and announced, “Hit!” several times.

My mouth open, I stood there. I was alone. It was me and the few others that remained to defend the castle. I wondered how exactly this had happened? How was it that I remained? I saw someone from the red team hiding behind a barricade in front of me and I began shooting, shooting and shooting. We weren’t allowed to shoot blindly, nor were we allowed to shoot in the head. From an elevated level, the rules that I adhered to sure made it difficult to take my target out. I tried and tried to get a shot at the person (man, I think?) but I don’t believe I ever did.

From that way or this way, or yonder, or over there, a paintball EXPLODED and hit me in my upper thigh!!!!!!

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Welcome to paintball.

Did it hurt!

Holy SH*T! You Betchya!

This was my introduction to my first paintball hit.

Question Answered: Does paintball hurt?

Yup, it sure does. 

The Red Team killed us and raised the flag. Then, we switched it up and we killed them, and raised the flag. (Not me, other people. From my team. People who play paintball better.)

After this there was Speedball where our Blue Team lined up against a fence, with only barrels between us and the other team. The Red Team stood against a line of trees. I thought briefly of those war movies, where you had a courageous hero that would charge down the center screaming, and would get several hits in on the enemy taking their people out, before the hero would succumb to a fatal blow. I wanted to be that person. I would be a shock trooper.

But my first paintball hit still stung. I was never brave enough. I made it to the first barrel and hung out with some kids. Then, I got clipped on my collarbone. It didn’t hurt as much, and I don’t think the paintball exploded. But, any injury counts, so I walked out.

When we switched sides, I got clipped on my finger. That hurt. And I was out again.

We had completed 2 rounds. I was sweating so much my body armour clung to me inside my paintball suit.  I wobbled off the course with my helmet firmly affixed to my face until it was safe to remove it. Once we made it back to where the picnic tables were, I pulled down the paintball suit to my waist to cool off and felt the refreshing breeze on my arms. (I had my workout clothes underneath.)

Sweat dribbled down my body. My hair was stuck to the back of my neck. I also found myself fading a little and decided it best to head to the car to grab water and a granola bar. We had all agreed to one more round. Nourishment  and hydration before the start of it, was a much needed requirement.

I swore we had more time. When hubby and I got to the car I gobbled my Kashi Bar down and gulped some water as my ears heard the words, “Red Team & Blue Team…”

I turned to hubby and said, “What? I thought we had more time? We finished our last game early?”

We pulled and yanked at our suits, and suited up for our last game of the day. As I pulled the helmet that covered my face on, I felt this: air-can’t-breath….air-can’t-breathe….air-can’t-breathe….

We walked through the woods again to our destination. The heat soared. Water dripped from my nose. I hadn’t even begun to shoot my heavy  gun yet. (Did I mention that? The guns were SUPER HEAVY! I must get to the gym and work my upper body.)

Thump, thump, thump, thump.

My heart. Can’t breathe.

The paint game commences again. I start from the back and run to a barricade. Then, the unthinkable happens. My gun jams.

I hunch down behind the barricade, waiting to get shot. I’m unarmed and trapped. Then, I say something like, “Referee, gun jam!”

I start to walk over to where the refs are and amazingly, no one shoots me.

Once there the referee examines my gun, turns to me and says something about me popping the air off an I think I hear, “you must have done it when you were running when you were scared.”

I can’t help but laugh.

I go back to my spot. I take a few more shots. Then someone hits me on my right knee. A second later, two more shots hit me on my left knee.

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Did I mention that the knee shot broke skin and I was bleeding? Not a lot. Just a little.

I yell, “Hit!!” And slowly walk to the barrel that I am to touch and then rejoin the game.

I have the option to go back, but I linger by the barrel for awhile. My hubby sees me and motions that I can join the game again. (In this game you get multiple lives, it’s not always the case. But right then, I could. However, at less than 5 minutes, you don’t get to come back.) Reluctantly, I slowly walk back to the barricade.

I’m tired. I’m hot. I can’t breathe. I think I’m hungry.

I hide behind a barricade and I have no idea if I got shot again.

The game is over. I can’t remember if we won or not. I don’t think so. Then, we switch sides and do it again. Once on the other side, I get shot again and I go hang out with some of my team mates that are lingering by the trees because they ran out of paintballs.

I’m hot. And I’m tired.

From what I know, no one else stopped playing before they needed to. My hubby stayed in the game right to the end, perched behind a bus. I don’t know about my friends as they were on the opposite side. But, I bet they played until they couldn’t play no more.

I am apparently the biggest wimp.

Would I do it again?

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The Pushing Boundaries Blog Team

Absolutely! It was one of those days where your mind is in a constant state of working hard trying to figure things out. I struggled to reload and load my paintballs each time. (I dumped my purple paintballs several times) I exerted myself physically running, crouching, hiding, and trying not to get shot. Sure, it hurt.

But, without the pain I would never have this experience. A bruise here and there, and I’ve decided, it was worth it.

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Sorry Sheila about your arm. I hope you feel the same about the bruises.
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