Today I played paintball for the first time. Never played before. Heck, I’ve never even shot a gun before, except for my old BB gun.

One word review: wow.

Optional second word: ouch.

The paintball outing was with my church’s men’s group and was organized by my friend Steve. In all, fourteen of us went to Revolution Paintball today.

I have to confess that I was pretty nervous, especially never having played before. I paid my fee, grabbed my gun and mask, and picked up my standard issue 500 rounds of paint.

Wow, I thought. That’s a lot of paint. 500 shots?

I went outside to get my gear ready, and I decided to check out the paintballs themselves. They felt hard. Really hard. The guys who had played before had told me that it hurts when you get hit, but I figured it would just sting a bit. But man, that paintball felt hard to enough to hurt quite a bit.

And as it turned out, they do hurt when they hit you.

The first hit I took was to the ring finger of my right hand. I did as instructed. I raised my arms, shouted, “I’m out!”, and left the field. It really throbbed at first, but it went numb pretty quickly, so I stopped noticing and got myself cleaned up for the next game. I was surprised to see my finger start to bleed in a half dozen places, though.

For those first two games, we were playing in a field called D-Day. It was pretty cool, but it was tough to defend the lower ground, so after two games, we went to the speedball field.

We played three games on the speedball field. In the first two, I went out pretty quickly, but in the third, I managed to hold my ground for a while. I also learned just how quickly those paintball guns can fire. Wow, they can really lay down the paint.

Then we decided to play fortress. This was pretty cool. One team was in the fortress and couldn’t leave, while the team was outside the fortress and couldn’t enter. The teams really had to have some strategy and work together for that one. Defending the fortress turned out to be much easier than we expected, and trying to eleminate the guys inside turned out to be really difficult. When I was inside, somebody managed to get a paintball through a crack in the wood, right into my chest.

After that, we took a short break, during which Bill, my friend and pastor, bought a case of 2000 rounds. Not just regular paintballs, mind you. Evil paintball. Seriously: that was the brand name. It’s really weird to see your pastor purchase a box of Evil.

Then we headed for a field they called Big Woods. That was a lot of fun, and I finally started to hit my stride with my first confirmed kill elimination. After a few games on that field, we broke for lunch.

After lunch, we played the jungle scenario, but we didn’t like that one as much. It was too big and there was too much brush. It made it hard to navigate and hard to get around. There was a lot of action, though. Owen shot me, and I shot Owen and approximately the same time. Before that, I shot Steve, and just before that, Steve shot Adam. The problem was that we were all on the same team.

So we headed back to Big Woods, where our ref asked if she could play, too. She asked if we were interested doing the Presidential Assassination scenario, where she plays the president, one team protects her, and the other team tries to shoot her.

At that point, I looked at her and said, “How often do you get shot in this job?”

She laughed and said, “Oh, four or five times a day.”

My team failed to shoot the president. We also failed to prevent her from being shot when we switched sides.

This was the game where I took my biggest beating. I was shot in the head. With an evil paintball. Fired by Bill, my friend and pastor. Man, did it hurt. As I raised my arms and yelled “I’m out!”, I took a shot from behind in each shoulder. These are wonderful friends I have. 🙂

We wrapped with a couple games of speedball, mostly just to get rid of the remaining paint.

All in all, it was a lot of fun. It’s hard not to feel like Rambo when you’re slogging through the weeds, carrying your gun, trying to stay low and out of sight, trying to identify and shoot anything that moves.

The downside? Well, I’m pretty sore, and I have quite a few bruises, but not nearly as many as some of the guys (Tim, I’m looking in your direction). And I have a nasty welt on the side of my head. Otherwise, I feel pretty good. It was a blast.

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