War Paint

“I’ll come for one drink, but I’m not getting drunk, I’ve got to be up early for paintballing”- Me, around 8pm on Friday night.

“Let’s do shots!”- Me, around 12:30am Friday night/Saturday morning.

Paintballing while hungover is one of those things that sounds like a bad idea. Possibly because it is a terrible one.

My alarm seemed to be blaring at me mere moments after I’d stumbled into bed, and while a quick pressure washing from a hot shower blew some of the cobwebs away I had that uncomfortably hollow feeling coupled with tiredness. Part of me was hoping the storm would hit early and the outing would be cancelled, as much as I wanted to see my mates, my uncomfortable standard issue mattress suddenly seemed like heaven on Earth.

On an empty stomach I waited for my ride, trying to work out whether the urge to hurl would be too much for me to fight.

Luckily the drive was mercifully short and I soon started feeling pretty decent.

Mrs Page didn’t raise no fool, though. I knew what was going on.

I was still drunk.

It didn’t take long for us to reach our destination, Delta Force, named for the US special forces team immortalized on screen by Chuck Norris.

delta force

We got suited up and were given some body armour which covered the front and back of your torso and ensured that everybody aimed for limbs and sides.

Then came our masks, everyone got these helmets, but do to my massive bonce I was given a mask which left the entire back and top of my head uncovered. My massive head was now not just irritating but putting me at risk.

As we sat around listening to the safety briefing I glanced around at the three distinct types of paintballers in attendance:

  1. Gung-ho Goons- Seriously, dude, who rocks up bringing their own balaclava? You’re just messing about in the woods, Bravo Two Zero, chill out. This group of guys take it far too seriously and clearly fancy themselves as badasses, and I’d bet some join/apply for the TAs.
  2. Average Joes- I think I fit in this group. I was there to have a laugh, shoot a bit, get hit and just enjoy myself.
  3. Cannon Fodder- People who looked a bit lost, these included a gaggle of kids celebrating a birthday and what appeared to be a hen party of women who looked unimpressed by the mud.

And then we were off. Our two marshals were tidy enough, studenty-types who clearly enjoyed their job of larking about in the woods watching people get hurt and the freedom it gave them in having hair like a troll doll.

I was asked if I wanted to attack or defend a castle first, and against everyone else’s wishes, opted to attack, figuring I’d rather get the running up a slippery, muddy hill out of the way sooner rather than later.

I’m no military genius, but the deck was stacked against us. Firstly, they held the highlands and could just wait behind their walls and run down the clock, whereas we had to push forward to grab the flag.

Not helping our course was a gaggle of Chinese guys who spoke very little English and were a liability. I asked for two to cover me only for them to leg it off to the left and get blasted. I wound up stuck behind a board firing at the only enemy I could see, a dude in a window. I caught a glancing hit just above my mask (head shots didn’t count), which stung and left me with a coloured streak in my hair like Knives Chou.

What Knives is saying is probably what my opponents were thinking.

What Knives is saying is probably what my opponents were thinking.

Realizing I needed to get closer I legged it forward and caught one in the upper thigh. It hurt quite a bit, but I was just glad it hadn’t been two inches to the left or the Page line would’ve ended there and then. After respawning I ran out of paintballs and so sat on the sidelines where I chatted to a petite girl who clearly hadn’t chosen the activity and was terrified of getting hit.

I also had to shout at one of the Chinese lads to keep his mask on, regardless of how hot he was.

Defending the castle should’ve been easier but half of green team just hid behind a wall so within moments I’d been hit in the shoulder. Brown team then raised the flag and we lost. Apparently in the castle my Chinese friend had taken off his mask to pick up dropped paintballs and been told off by the marshal.

Back at base camp we divided up our paintballs and realized we were going to run out pretty quick. Another 1000 paintballs would set us back £70 (£14 each), and while some of the group were keen, I was happy to just have another couple of games until we ran out and call it a day. My hangover was starting to surface and as fun as it was, I was keen to leave relatively pain free.

Small hope.

I caught two in the leg in the next game. I’d tried to take cover behind a barrier only to sink past my shoe in muddy water and before I could reach the next spot of cover had been hit in the knee. I’d yelled “Hit!” and raised my arm to leave the field only to catch one in my arse, which didn’t seem all that sporting of the brown team.

On the sidelines I watched my team win but was distracted by the Chinese guy who again tried to take his mask off. The marshal yelled at him and I concluded that Byker Grove hasn’t made it out East yet.

"I cannae see, man!"

“I cannae see, man!”

We lost the last game, although I was eliminated early on having been hit in my left leg again. I stood around chatting away as more greens joined us until a white hatted member of the brown team won it for them, despite about four members of our team being fairly sure they’d hit him.

Each of us had about half a tub of paintballs left and it was decided we wanted out. Luckily our marshal let us run about and shoot at each other until we ran out. And really, isn’t that the real appeal of paintballing? Getting to shoot your mates and acquaintances?

I got hit a couple more times, but I’m fairly sure I hit someone. I had tried to be smart and gone for the high ground, but realized that due to all the fog in my visor this just meant I had the same limited, cloudy vision but from a slightly different angle.

This was the most fun part. No objectives, no strangers, just you running around shooting at people you know, all in good fun.

Part of me was just glad to get the hell out of there, sack out on my Mum’s sofa, drink a big mug of tea and watch some TV. Don’t get me wrong, Delta Force have great staff and a good set-up, but hungover you just want to put your feet up, watch music TV and drink gallons of tea. Oh, and recover from your wounds.

paintball 002

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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