So, once again, I accompanied my sister and her friends to this paintball field in Ithaca, New York several weeks ago. It was in the middle of the woods. The roads were narrow, enough to fit one SUV, that stretched on for miles.
Inside this paintball place, two sections of nets towered high to the sky, half the size of a top golf course.
Before we got shooting, we entered through this small wooden shed that sold camouflage uniforms and paintball-proof vests.
From there, we chose our helmets. Our instructor warned us about leaving our masks on. And should we even remove it, we were automatically eliminated from the field.
It was my first time holding a paintball weapon – a loaded one with that.
Before long, we headed out to the field. Our form of defense were large floating devices pinned to the ground.
I fired a round at one of the floats, as it reverberated and blue paint was smeared on it.
We got to our places. The referee blew the whistle. We were off. I felt like I was in gym class all over again, playing a game I had no interest in.
I camped behind a floating device as one of her friends fired at me. My knees were still sore from climbing the steps in Watkins Glen State Park the day before.
Shots continued to fire off. Her friends were approaching. Should I charge?
Shots flew above my head. And one round hit the back of my wrist. My only naked spot. It stung so bad that I felt it for a week. I was out.
I held my weapon in the air, covering the opening with my hand – in a surrender mode.
“Make sure the safety is on,” someone yelled.
“Do you want to wear my sweater?” my sister offered me before the next round started.
“It’s okay. I’ll just sit this one out,” I replied.
I was feeling a mixture of emotions. I was bummed that I was out. And at the same time, the pain stung. I was a weakling. I decided then and there that was the end of paintball for me. Call me a coward or what you will.
But I was done. A $35 loss.
I placed the paintball-proof vest on the picnic tables, and I slapped the safety on the rifle before leaving it on the table.
And I just walked and walked outside of the property. Down the narrow road, away from the echoes of the shrapnel. At least there, I could embraced the solace.
Have you done paintball before? I hope you’re cool. 😉
All images and videos were shot on the iPhone 12.