A Flip Side Collection

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The Sporting Side

Paintball is the only activity for civilians in which you actually simulate warfare without maiming one another permanently.

In this respect it is probably the most unusual "sport" ever invented. Contradicting any other sport, you donít have to have enormous muscles or be quick on your feet. The only muscle needed in paintball is the index finger of one hand, which can be excercised quite conveniently (for some of us) by clicking the remote control of the TV.

But, all of us canít be paintball champions just because of our well-built fingers and vast knowledge of daytime TV. Because if that was the only requirement, Americans would be the best paintball players on the planet. One other necessary trait translates into success at the game. You need one other muscle: the brain.

Well, now that I mention the brain rule, you can see that most people are unqualified. For me, it was a different brand of game.

Thereís nothing like walking on the field with a gun freshly loaded and pumped, ready to shoot the first thing that moves. (HEY! Just like the hunters around my house!) But stepping on the battleground and having a paintball already whizzing by the head, well, that brings forth the adrenaline of battle.

On the battle ground stalk upwards of two referees, usually to make sure no foul play takes place and to make sure close-range shooting at heads is avoided. The players each carry a paintball gun, which resembles a real firearm but shoots marble-sized paint capsules at very high speeds. Each combatant is given a face mask and told what game the group is playing. Capture the Flag, Every Man for Himself, etc.

The rules are stated clearly, teams are made, if necessary, and flags and bases set. The whistles are blown, and then war commences.

The only way to survive is to play moderately and conservatively. Sorry, no kamikaze trash effort ever worked in paintball. You will be shot in the ribs as soon as youíre up and starting to run. Teamwork is important, and working together will be the backbone of the war effort. Good luck.

As I walked on the field one dreary Sunday, it turned into a different world. It was a war. I could remember, having one enemy run at me without knowing I was there. I shot him about four times in the stomach as he came barreling over the knoll. In another, I just dove behind a bunker when about 10 shots went past my head. After the onslaught, we kept shooting back in forth into the otherís position, until he ran out, and I sprinted over to shoot him. But my gun failed (along with my heart), and I was killed after he reloaded.

No other feelings except excitement and panic are felt on the field. Boy, does it sting getting shot, but it feels great when you rub out an enemy.

Even though itís just like getting shot in the wallet every time you go (it costs upwards of 25 dollars a head), itís a great experience if youíre into that kind of game.

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© By Paul Adams