Yesterday, we went paint-balling for my husbands birthday. We drove out to the dirty-d (Durham) and showed up at this place situated in the middle of nowhere. Intimidation immediately set in as soon as we saw the port-o-potty. These people are for real.
Quiet came over our group as we walked up to the building to sign in and sign our lives away, passing camouflage covered beasts of men preparing their guns.
"why did I ever, ever purchase this Groupon?" I thought to myself.
We signed our waivers, which basically says, "If something happens, it's not our fault and don't come back".
We put on our masks, which were last cleaned in 1987, and waited for instructions.
IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: We had the option to purchase Neck Guards for only 3 measly little dollars but we all opted out. This information will make more sense later.
We were grouped up with another group of 13, whose ages spanned from 10-24. And the youngest ones were little girls. Toughies.
We walked through battles that had already begun. Everything was in slow motion as we made the trek deep into the woods to fight the strangers we had nothing against.
The first battle field was littered with barrels and blockades to hide behind. **phew**
We run out, find protection, and begin to fire. The other team had practice. We had none. So our goal was just last as long as we can. Some of the braver ones in our group made their way forward, asking teammate to "cover them" as they ran closer to the middle.
My husband Justin had the notorious "paintball exploding on the mask" hit, and our friend Matt got hit in the knuckle. So they were out.
My sister in law Kelly, with her fierce desire to win, turned to Byrd (friend of my sister) and said, "cover me", and then took off toward the next barrier. Byrd shot, trying to deter the enemy from hitting her new friend of 1 hour, like a maniac. Kelly made it within feet of the barrier before she was hit.
In the neck.
And she was out. Now that $3 neck guard wasn't looking so pointless. **more on this injury later**
The rest of us fought as hard as we could and ended up winning out first battle thanks to Chris and another teammate who I never actually met.
The day continued, fighting battles, crawling through dirt and fallen trees, and we dominated over the other team.
The last battle was when I was finally hit. My sister Lauren and I were in the tower, defending against the attackers. This placement was, I thought, strategic. That's until I realized we were going to be ambushed. Immediately after the game began, paintballs came flying into the windows of the tower. We were not safe! Somehow my back got hit about the same time her collar bone got hit. So we were out.
More scary than being hit? Trying to walk out of the game! You had to raise your gun above your head and scream "I'm out! I'm out!" But people kept firing. We waited for the ref to escort us to the safe zone, and it was there when we decided that that was our final game.
As the day wrapped up we were all exhausted. The girls drove back to the house, while the guys stopped to pick up our pizzas.
As they returned, they shared with us their forensic analysis of the "neck hit" on my sister in law.
"So, Kelly. You were running to the right?" asked Justin.
"Yes", Kelly said.
"And Byrd was behind you?"
". . .yes. . ."
"And you were hit on the right side of your neck?"
"Yeah, Byrd definitely was the one who shot you in the neck."
After the lightbulb went off in all of our heads, apologies came flooding out of Byrd's mouth. Kelly, being the great sport that she is, was laughing at the entire situation. As were the rest of us.
"So when Kelly asked you to cover her, she didn't mean to literally cover her in paint, Byrd!"
And the jokes began. Poor Byrd, we were all laughing hysterically at the situation while she was feeling awful. But thankfully, she caught on quickly that Kelly did not care one bit.
The worst battle wound of the day came from friendly fire.
All in all, the day was filled with laughter, adrenaline, and sweat. There was a good time had by all.
However we did decide that that was going to be a One and Done type of event. We did it once. And now we are done.