To change up the pace of practices and since we are in the beginning stages of this season, we spent last Saturday bonding. This was aggressive bonding as we went to play paintball at a ranch about 45 minutes north from our pool. Although we passed by my university, so I obviously have been in this area, I have never seen this route from the road. I was most impressed by the looming sierra and how much snow was still on the mountains. This ranch was also not directly off the main road and led to much fun as we attempted to find it amongst all of the muddy dirt roads and small tiny european cars, thank goodness for gps. Eventually we found our way through the backroads and parked our cars in the muddy grass parking lot and walked over to the site.
We were all ushered over to the main desk under a tent to sign the general waivers that we would not sue if injured, and were briefed on the proper procedure for using our weapons, not that this was a practical tutorial, just the theory of here is the trigger. Our two captains, Javi and Pablo chose teams and were outfitted in gear. My team was in a nice shade of gray suits, that were built for someone with shorter legs than mine and a much larger waist. But of course it was not a day to be a fashionista…
There was no crash course in aiming the weapon, instead we walked to a “scene” as they called them, and separated each team on one side and then away we went. In the first scene the goal was to get as many people alive as possible to the other end. My team lost. (Both rounds, you play in sets of two, each starting from both sides)
Then we moved onto the rock formation and played defend the rock. Nothing too incredible happened during the first battle, I believe that we held off all advancing forces. However, the fun began when we were trying to attack. We had claimed that the someone had to run down the middle as a diversion, and we chose two little boys to make this attack while the rest of us tried to go around the sides.
About halfway through the round I was shot which means you must go back to the starting point but then you can join back. We were at a stalemate and so I thought, what the hell I will make a run for it. In the heat of the moment this was all extremely clear and logical. Looking back I am not sure if it was my brightest moment.
Basically, I made it to the base of the rock without any difficulty. Supposedly no one saw me, something I still find amazing, since I am not a graceful runner. And so sitting at the base of the rock I realized that I actually could make it through the formation, since they technically could not shoot within 7 meters. So there I went, running like Forrest Gump, for those who need a visual.
Needless to say, I was sited. And mercilessly shot. The 7 meter rule is nonexistent. I believe that I received 7 shots to my shoulder as well as 5 or 6 to the face mask. This was within one second since I quickly raised my hand in surrender. I think the worst part was having to walk back down the hill unable to see where I was going through all of the paint. At least I can say I tried. I think I also learned that I will never be a spy.
We still had one more scene after my debacle and of course now I had no fear. I mean I had been shot enough what was one more bullet. It was not the bullets that would take me out in the last round, but the mud. In an attempt to run towards cover, I slid down the hill as if the rug had been pulled from underneath. I have never been so glad for our attractive jumpsuits that spared my clothes from the mud, (unfortunately not the water).
It’s a good way to go I assume, fitting for me since I tend to fall and trip over inanimate objects with great frequency. Firing our last bullets we returned to the tent to hand over all of our sweaty dirty paint filled jumpers.
After spending a few hours boiling in the sun we devoured a barbecue and soft drinks. It was a typical spanish bbq in the sense that there were all kinds of meats roasted and then placed into fresh bread as sandwiches. No sauces, no burgers, nothing that an american would relate to a bbq. That being said, it was delicious. We ate until we could eat no more. And then we loaded up our cars and drove home. A successful day of bonding for Real Canoe!!