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Paintball, Mommy style

on June 13, 2012

Playing Paintball as an adult should involve alcohol.  Just sayin.

So, my nephew was turning 15 and my sister-in-law planned a day of playing Paintball.  And she invited us adults to come along.  And then she made us play.  I have never played before, and it had been a good 20 years since my husband played, so I thought “hey, fun!  scary, but fun, yes, let’s.”  I mean, playing laser tag freaks me out.

So, we dropped the kids off at my mother-in-law’s house, and headed to my sister-in-law’s house to get ready and meet the group of 15 year old kids that were going to shoot me with paint.  15 year old boys have no mercy for moms who beg them to be nice at the Paintball field.  I felt like a total tool asking them to be kind.  I think one of them rolled their eyes at me.  So I donned the layers: socks, shoes, leggings, maternity jeans (while I’d like to say it was because I don’t care if they get ruined because, I don’t plan on needing them anymore, the reality is that they’re comfy and I don’t fit in normal jeans, even normal Mom Jeans…maybe those pajama jeans my kids are always talking about when they watch My Little Pony?  darn those commercials on the Hub channel…), um, what else, and 2 long sleeve shirts.  I grabbed one of my nephews’ chest protectors that they wear off-roading and threw it in the car.  I also brought a very large puffy jacket that my sister-in-law picked up at a thrift store for me.  She assured me that it’s bulkiness would protect me from the paintballs.  She’s, um, a liar.

Needless to say, I looked stunning.  My husband dressed like a pro, like he does this every day and twice on Sundays.  So we jumped in our cars and drove an hour or so out to some fields off of some random road way outside of any town.  Let’s just say that should one find themselves out there past dark, you might as well just stop where you are and have a seat cuz, lady, there ain’t no way you’re gonna find your way out of there unless you can read the stars.

Paintball Park in the middle of nowhere…NO WHERE. However, at 1 point, I noticed a pizza delivery service bringing 20 pizzas to the Park, so, if you find yourself there after dark, you could call Dominoes and they’d probably bring you a pizza.

So, we get there and split up into teams: Kids under 17 vs Adults.  Which was awesome because that meant we got my 17 year old nephew on our team, and 17 year olds are full of energy and sort of reckless (they are!) and I knew he’d have no problem shooting the 15 year olds.  I was having a SLIGHT problem with the idea, until I was thrown into the game, wearing my mask and hauling my gun, and then I would have shot my own foot I was so freaked out.  But before I get ahead of myself…

We check in with the Paintball Staff to get our gear and sign some legal documents (not important), and after the clerk asked me if I was over 18 (wha?), I was handed my Paintball canisters, my mask, and my gun.  I carried my gear over to the picnic tables where we had set up camp, and with the sounds of the professional Paintball team playing 30 feet away, we got organized.  Our “Ref” ambled over to give us some instructions and after making us promise to not EVER remove our masks on the field (we got a serious “you’ll shoot your eye out” warning), he brought out the boxes of paintballs and we started to load up our guns and canisters.

“Is the paint color coordinated?  So we know who shot us?”  Silence.  And some snickering.  Probably from the 15 year olds but I couldn’t tell.  The “Ref” remarked, not sure to whom, that only women ask that question.  Ha Ha.  But I thought it was a valid question.  What about friendly fire?  I’d want to know if one of my teammates shot me!  Meh.  So, we were all loaded up (with paint), my marshmallow jacket was on, my mask was on, and we marched to our first field.  After some simple repeating of the rules, (never take your mask off, if you get shot and the ball bursts and “paints” you you’re out, if you get shot and the ball doesn’t burst you are still in), each team was led to either side of the playing field, the “Ref” counted down from 3 (3?!? Really?  Give a lady at least 10 seconds to talk herself out of peeing her pants and running for the hills!) and the game began!

I ran.  I ran and hid.  This is freakin combat.  The field was littered with hollow forts and old rusted cars.  I hid in a fort.  It had huge windows.  I ducked.  And then I started to hate my mask.  It reminded me of playing catcher in softball and why I hated that position.  It was hard to breathe and it was hot and sweaty.  I raised my gun and decided to try it out.  I shot out into the air, aimed for the middle of the middle of nowhere.  Shot a few rounds for fun.  And then the “Ref” yelled, “That’s game!”  Huh?  I stood up.  I think 30 seconds had passed.  I was clean!  Not a hit!  I guess it’s hard to get hit when you spend the whole time hiding.  The other moms and dads and adults on my team had shot all the 15 year olds without me.  So we gathered up and switched sides.  Now it was getting fun.  Ha!  “We” beat the 15 year olds!  Yippee!  And then WHAM-WHIP-SPLAT-BLEH-OUCH right in my boob.  I was shot in the chest.  I had run and hid in a fort, got a little too ballsy and peeked around to shoot someone, anyone.  And of course I got shot.  And it stung a little.  Doh!  My chest plate!  I had forgotten to put it on.  It was still in the car.  Well darn.  So I raised my gun in the air like I was told, held up my arms, and moped to the sidelines to watch the rest of the game.  One by one, the rest of the players wandered to the sidelines, mostly hit on the arms and some on their backs (hello, friendly fire??  would have been nice to have separate paint colors!).  The second game took a little longer and this time the kids won.  By the third game, I found some more courage, and as a result, got hit RIGHT in the gut.  That’s my only bruise I am sporting, 4 days later.  Thanks, jacket.

Throughout the day, we experienced 3 different playing fields, and it was actually fun.  We ran, we squatted, we hid, we sprinted, we yelled “cover me!” like we were in some Arnold movie while we ran to the next hiding spot, and we had a lot of fun.  The 15 year olds proved themselves worthy adversaries and, if we were keeping score, they probably won.  At one point during the day, since I was such a good hider, I discovered that I was the last person standing on my team.  I could hear the other team coming at me so I stood up and surrendered.  A close range shot of paint was not on my bucket list.

The last game of the day was in the middle of a field, with only shrubbery to hide behind, and that was the hardest field to play.  We couldn’t see our opponents, but we could hear them as we crouch-walked through the bushes.  In the end of those games, I was shot in the mask and got a spattering of orange paint in my mouth.  Game over for me.

All in all, it was a great workout and great family fun.  I even suggested to the “Ref” that they should have a scale so people could weigh in before and after playing.  I mean, we played ALL DAY from 11am to 4:00pm!  But of course, any calories burned were easily replaced with ice cream birthday-cake back at my sister-in-law’s house.

Maybe I’ll put together a Mom’s Day Out to play Paintball?  Any takers?  If all Mom’s are like me, I’m not sure we’d finish any games…might be hard to play each other if we spend the whole time hiding from one another.


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