I've always enjoyed a good round of paintball, but I'll be the first to tell you that I don't take it that seriously. Plus, I suck at it, so that's what I'd like to call a Double Whammy.
About 6 years ago, Heidi and I were living in Ogden and we had a lot of good friends. One friend in particular was a large truck-driver like man named Jason, who LOVED paintball. He wanted me to share in this love and we thought it be fun to take in a round or two at an outdoor paintball course.
Jason arrived at my door one afternoon dressed in camoflauge, looking like he was ready to run some sort of special ops mission. I think I was wearing shorts and a white tee-shirt. Again, I suck at paintball. When we pulled onto the course there were a ton of younger, more agile kids running around with their guns and gear, so we asked if we could join them. One of the kids was about 17 and is what I would classify as a Loser, or better yet, someone I would love to see given a bazillion swirlies.
Anyways, this dude could not stop talking about how he was the greatest paintballer to ever live and that if I were smart I would see to it that I got on his team, because if I didn't I was going to feel real pain. Hello, I was wearing shorts... I was ready for pain. Of course, this kid had a poor vocabulary and chose to use all manner of profanity when he spoke.
By the luck of the draw, Jason and I were on the same team which was not on Joe Loser's team. I had never played before and I was a little nervous. Everyone kept telling me that the paintballs hurt like a mother and my mother knew how to hurt! I have permanent fly-swatter scars on my backside.
The game started and right from the get go I could tell that Jason was a little too serious. He swore, he screamed, he barked ridiculous orders in some military jargon, he cried, he laughed hysterically, he ran sideways, he crawled into holes for no particular reason and what really was the problem was that he was a terrible shot.
I couldn't see a dang thing because the sun was starting to go down and we were running in that direction. Plus, my mask was all scratched up and I was sweating profusely. Several times, I jumped up only to squat back down in frustration because I couldn't see two feet in front of me.
Jason suddenly exploded in an all out sprint, running passed me and I was able to see him go a short distance before disappearing entirely in some ditch. Right after that he started moaning because he had twisted his ankle. I ran over there to help, but he quickly waved me away.
"Don't worry about me! Just get those guys!" he shouted through tear-streaming eyes.
"Dude, seriously, it's not that big of a deal," I answered.
"It is a big deal, brother! I'm going to get us out of here!" Jason hobbled to his feet and after limping, he ran off in another direction. This was nuts. It was like I was suddenly transported to some bizarre scene in Deliverance.
Not knowing what else to do and the fact that miniscule paintballs were whizzing passed my ear, I followed Jason. I found him crouched behind a large concrete pipe.
"Lay down some suppressing fire, while I move to a closer position," he ordered.
I didn't know what the heck suppressing was, maybe it meant hopelessness, but I understood that I needed to shoot my gun. As I stood up, still unable to see jack squat, I noticed several people moving way off in the distance. I quickly fired on them, but my bullets didn't even come close. I later found out that they were people watching in the parking lot. Man, I needed some training.
Jason made a run for it and the other team started firing. I watched as my big Baloo Bear-like friend dove into the only thorn bush on the entire lot. Thorns were everywhere. I couldn't help but laugh as he writhed on the ground, but as I tried to help, he pushed me away.
"Take my gun!" he shouted. "You're almost out of ammo!" How he knew that is still a mystery, but I guess the dork was counting when I shot. Who knows.
I took his gun, and in one final attempt, I stood up and emptied my hopper in the direction of where the other team was supposed to be. I think I shouted like Rambo as the paint balls faded away and shortly after, the other team returned fire and hit me several times. One shot that hit my bare shins drew blood.
Our team ultimately ended up winning and as I exited the course, I saw the Putz kid from earlier completely covered in paint. He was wincing and whining from his injuries, but when he saw me he had to congratulate me.
"You're a lot better than I thought, man!" he said, swearing of course.
When I asked him what he was talking about, he explained that apparently when I stood up and fired all of my paintballs, I hit him like 10 times.
I felt triumphant and figured that 10 paintballs, a couple of which nailed his unmentionables, was way better than a bazillion swirlies.
For those that want a long bedtime story, click on this link to read Nostalgic moment #9. Be warned, it is by far my longest post to date, but it is an instant classic.