A couple of weeks ago, I spent a weekend in Warwickshire where I went paintballing for the very first time.
To say the least, I was a little apprehensive. I’d seen the bumps and bruises friends had received from previous trips and had heard the stories of particularly painful shots to tender body parts. However, the trip had been organised for my boyfriend’s birthday, so there was simply no way I could gracefully avoid the situation. I was going to be shot at with fast flying paint whether I liked it or not!
My apprehension was not alleviated when, upon arriving at the paintballing grounds (a forest in the middle of the countryside), I was given a padded body protector. This was followed by a boiler suit and a heavy duty helmet, complete with full face visor…
Next came the safety demonstration. I listened avidly, soaking up all of the instructions (“Don’t carry your gun by the trigger”, “Don’t pick up a smoke grenade by the end on fire”, “Don’t shoot someone at point blank range. It will hurt….”) and quickly vowing not to get too close to anyone out in the field.
Then, we were let loose.
We played a number of games out in the woods. One was ‘capture the flag’ where we had to steal a flag from ‘the Tardis’ (a inventively painted portaloo) and run with it into enemy ground. I spent much of this game tactically hiding behind a tree, providing completely essential ‘cover fire’ from a safe, if ineffective, distance.
However, by the second game I was getting more into the swing of things. I’d mastered my gun and even managed to kill off a few of the ‘infected zombies’ heading in my direction without getting shot too badly.
Our last game was a free for all. Finally, the chance I’d been waiting for – an opportunity to fire at will at my troublesome boyfriend who had got me into this situation to begin with. Suddenly, with my new found goal and determination, my aim seemed to markedly improve…!
Paintballing actually turned out to be a lot of fun and not nearly as scary as I had first envisioned. Yes, getting hit wasn’t the most pleasant experience but, to be honest, half of the shots you didn’t notice in the heat of the moment! By the end of the session I had a couple of impressive bruises, but also a giant grin on my face!