Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Tucson Paintball

This is Andrew and Chris donning some hot pink paint splotched in front of one of the paintball fields by the end of the morning.

So it was Chris's birthday (the one on the right) and he wanted to play paintball so off we went to Sudden Impact. I had never played before, so I really had no idea what to expect.

Andrew (on the left) and I went to Goodwill to buy some clothes that we could get "paintballed" without fear of staining and that would give us some protection. He wore army fatigues and I, a vinyl coat a la Trinity from Matrix. Ridiculous.

Anyway, it turned out to be much more fun than I would have expected. There were a lot of people there, 99% male, and with a ton of gear - which was a little intimidating, but everyone was nice to us (especially nice to Liz and I - perhaps because we were two of five or so token females present.)

We rented our guns and bought our ammo there, which had its drawbacks. (My gun for example, was not working, which I didn't realize until the third time I got out onto the field. Note to self: check your gun at the target practice before you go into a game.) We got a brief training spiel from staff but it didn't stick - I got reprimanded a bit for poor etiquette, so this is what you REALLY have to know:

1. Put your mask on before you get on the field and don't remove it until after you have entirely exited the field. This is hard to remember because it's hot and the mask gets dirty so it obstructs your vision and it kind of suffocating. You'll want to rip it off before you should. Also, part of the problem is that sometimes you might think the sidelines are not part of the field, but let's face it, if you can still get shot in the eye by a stray paintball, you should really have your mask on.

2. Put your barrel bag on as soon as you're out.

There were at least four different fields, so by the time I was semi familiar with all of them I was exhausted, but getting to know them was exciting. I think the best advice would be, once you know the layout of the field, within the first few seconds of the game sprint to a spot that will give you an advantage. Don't stay in the back in hopes of moving forward eventually because you might never get that chance and then you'll miss out on all the action.

So perhaps your big question is, does it hurt? I would say it depends on from how far away you get hit. Usually, however, it does not really hurt because you are so into the game that you hardly feel it, but yes, it leaves a bruise. They get bigger and develop more interesting colors as the week goes on.

Of course, it was hot out there, which was a little exhausting. In the winter I imagine you would be much more comfortable because you would be able to wear more layers of protective clothing and you'd be at a better body temperature - less sweat would run into your eyes under that damn mask!

Yee haw. So, paintball was hot, dirty, mildly painful, frustrating for me as a novice and a little intimidating, but all that said, I still had fun! Strangely enough, we were quite literally bruising each other, but I didn't find it particularly violent. I don't know exactly how to explain that...

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