March 25, 2019
When I first heard of the Fish Out of Water stories, I was immediately interested. The first idea that came to mind was skydiving, but I was on a budget. I had selected possibly the next best thing: paintball. My mindset at the time was just finding any out-of-the-ordinary activity. When I started to look into paintball, I was pretty confident that I would be able to do it with at least some success. Keep in mind, I was in Boy Scouts, Taekwondo, and JROTC for a short time. I had the pretense that I had some valuable “experience” under my belt. How could I have been so ignorant? On February 24th, I experienced physical and mental pain, the likes I had never known before.
Ok, maybe most of that pain was my fault and maybe I am exaggerating. It was definitely my fault that I wore my favorite shirt to go paintballing. I decided to go when it was cold and the pellets were hard, frozen little balls of ice, due to my poor judgement to leave them in the car. When they hit me, it was significantly more painful than, what I can only guess, a regular paintball would feel like. The grass was still partially wet from when it rained, so I was slipping everywhere I went. Running was out of the question at that point, leaving me to tiptoe wherever I stepped. The goggles did not help a whole lot either, as it was pretty hard to see through the tinted visor. It was cloudy as well, so that didn’t help my vision. And yet, despite all that, it was still very fun.
Despite the hours that I have devoted to Fallout 4 and other video games, I still had pretty terrible aim. Regardless, running through the woods picking off strangers with neon paint was the highlight of my weekend. Being surrounded by people I have never met before was awkward to say the least, but they looked like they were having a good time. Shooting me, of course.
The forest was a pretty awesome setup. A few of the strangers were kind enough to take me in on their team. The closest thing I have ever really done to paintballing was laser tag. Even with that knowledge, I had no idea what it would be like and I tried to keep it that way for authenticity. Luckily, I picked up on how to use the paintball gun somewhat alright. The only embarrassing part was that I had no idea what I was doing with it half the time.
The objective of the game was to capture the flag. The ref had strongly recommended that I just play defensively, as I was a newcomer. My strategy was to camp behind a tree and wait for people to come by. Let’s just say that a lot of people came by. Unfortunately, I never even came close to touching the flag. Yes, I was that bad. I genuinely feel bad for the team I was on, but it all worked out in the end since we won. I was more or less happy for them because I had not exactly held my weight during the game. Don’t get me wrong, it was awesome that our team won, but the spoils of war would have tasted just a bit sweeter if I had actually known what was going on.
Even though I did not do as well as I could have, I would really love to go again, maybe when it’s warmer and with some friends to help watch my back. Although I felt sore all over my body and my shirt is beyond repair, I would definitely recommend paintballing to anyone who can survive it.