Thursday, February 5, 2009

Now for something completely different...

With all of the drama that has been going on, I'm going to step completely away from it all, and recall something from my past.

Because of my mood, it's going to be something fun, and also has to do with shooting.

Back in my High School days, a friend of mine got me hooked on Paintball.

Once a month, we'd save up enough cash to buy some gas, paintballs, CO2 and some spending money to go out for a weekend and play around.

There were 8 of us in this group. I'll give you nicknames, since a couple of them could potentially read this, and assume that I'm talking smack about them and their "game".

There was B-dawg. He was the Alpha of the group. He had the suburban, the guns, and the drive. We were all really along for the ride, and he was willing to drag us along with him. Not a great shot, but he more than made up for it in enthusiasm.

There was NJ. This dude SCARED me. He was sneaky, he was crafty, he was thin, and he was quiet. If you had him on your team, you won. If not, you lost. Nothing else needed to be said.

There was "Pops". This is my brother, and he was enthusiastic, but he made a better target than a shooter. We'd usually send him out to get folks to chase him so we could sneak up on the ones hunting him and his loud sounds. Sad, but quite effective.

There was Egg. My best friend in school, he didn't even know the business end of the pistol from the stock, but once he learned, he got quite good. The consummate nerd, he insisted on keeping his gear so that he could "tweak" things, and he was always tinkering with things to get the most performance out of it. He's since moved on to become quite proficient at World of Warcraft, so you can see how well he's doing for himself.

There was Bubba. Bubba was something of an anolmaly. He was HUGE. I mean it. As a sophomore in school, he stood an intimidating 6'8" tall. However, he was sneaky and quiet. There wasn't much of a chance of sneaking up on him, and somehow he'd get the drop on you if you thought he wasn't looking. He usually found a way to be on NJ's team, but on the off chance he wasn't your team wouldn't lose as badly as it could have.

There was Loafie. So named for his bathroom prowess. This guy was usually placed in an out-of-the-way place so that when his gastular explosions took place, there wouldn't be as many affected home team players. Other teams would be in for a shock, but we'd know where he was, and would steer clear of the area. We also liked to call him "Biohazard".

Deuce. Yup. Deuce. He was the second of a set of twins. His brother didn't like to play, so he'd come along just to see about shooting a few folks, and get his aggression out. Not the best player, but good enough to give a couple of folks some serious pause.

And then yours truly. I was decent, but I preferred to snipe at folks instead of going out and trying to make them find me. I'd usually get killed off by NJ, but only after he'd taken down the rest of my team. On most days, he and I would be the last two standing, unless Bubba had a good day, and then it would be 2-1 against me.

Anyway, we'd usually split into teams by drawing numbers. Then we'd pass out the ammo and reloads, let one team take off for 10-15 minutes, and then head out. We'd play wherever we could find woods. Being in the Pacific Northwest, that meant someone's backyard. Usually Bubba's or NJ's.

The time I'm going to relate is when we actually went out of state, and found an out-of-the-way spot. It was just outside of an Air Force training area, and we were given the "green light" to play to our heart's content up there.

We climbed into B-Dawg's suburban, and took off for a weekend of fun and mayhem.

Little did we know how much competition would be out there.

For those of you who DON'T know about paintball, there are folks who are experts, and those that play for fun.

We played for fun.

Because of this, a couple of us had pneumatic guns, but the majority had these little pistols that would compress air when you "cocked" the gun, and were loaded with tubes of paintballs.

Now, the "real" folks who played had the CO2 cartridge guns, with hoppers FILLED with paintballs. No hand-fed loading, no mess, just serious firepower.

Well, we got to our destination, and were having a serious blast. Folks were shooting and getting shot, bases were captured, and fun was had all around.

Then something happened.

Another group showed up.

With 8 guys.

Apparently this was the place they came to regularly to practice. They were two squads of 4 men teams who would play in local tournaments and such for cash.

Yeah. They were serious players.

And we stupidly challenged them to a round.

I have never been bruised as badly as I was that day.

Arms, legs, chest (even with the padding) my head and ears were even bruised.

Sure, a face shield pretects you from getting stuff in your eyes and mouth, but it doesn't do much for your ears or back of the head or neck!

Fingers and hands were a favorite target as well.

Well, after two rounds of getting just beaten down by these guys, our group came together, and made a decision.

We were going to play NASTY.

These guys were actually getting pleasure out of inflicting pain on us, so it was time to return the favor.

Bubba and NJ made up one small squad.

I was teamed up with B-Dawg.

Pops and Loafie made up another group, and Egg and Deuce made up the last squad.

The idea was to lure these guys into chasing one of the group, and have the other just destroy them. By destroy, we're talking pumping them FULL of paintballs.

Usually, on a kill, you use one shot, and if it hits, they're down.

We were going to show no quarter, and keep firing until we were happy with the painting result.

Each team had one person with a airgun, and one with the "play" handgun.

Handgun folks were the bait.

I had a handgun.

I wasn't happy about the deal, but I went along with it because I wanted revenge, even if it was played through someone else's trigger.

So we started.

I slithered through the wood and brush, listening for any kind of action.

Suddenly, I heard breaking branches, and I stopped. There, just 15 feet away from me were two guys from the "other" side.

They hadn't seen me, because they were actually tailing one of my other groups.

I waved to B-dawg, and we moved quietly to flank them.

I didn't know what kind of impact I'd be able to make with my "toy" gun, but I was determined to at least make one of them feel this big when I got through with them.

B-dawg got in a good spot, and nodded for me to move.

Getting ready, I aimed, and shot the nearest fella right in the groin. Yeah. The nuts. The family jewels. You come up with an analogy, that's where I hit him.

I've never heard a squeal quite like his before, and I'm not sure I'll ever forget it. Falling over, his partner kept his eyes on him, wondering what had happened.

That's when B-dawg took his shot.

Yeah. The butt. Poop chute. Hershey highway. Et all.

It was mean, it was underhanded, and totally unfair.

But we were enjoying the revenge rush.

We found Egg and Deuce, who were the pair being chased, and got our bearings. NJ and Bubba were nowhere to be seen, but we could hear some serious shots going on just past us. We decided to stay in small groups, and see about flanking the action.

We came onto a scene that would've made me laugh if I'd been of a mindset to chuckle.

Pops and Loafie were pinned next to a fallen gargantuan tree, and were trying to find a way to get a shot off. However, the two guys on them had them flanked, and weren't going for the kill shot, they were trying to see who could wind up with the head-shot on them. I know, I heard them talking about it from 10 feet away.

I was livid.

That was my brother.

That was my friend out there, and they were getting picked on.

I took aim, and put a paintball in the nearest one's ear. Deuce started in on the guy on the opposite side. We then stood and pounded paint on these two until we were tired of holding our guns up.

Neon green, Orange, Yellow, Blue and Pink covered the ground, and I'm sure there were two very hurt guys under it all, but from the way they'd treated us, I didn't care. I wanted the rest of the group.

Suddenly, like a ghost, NJ and Bubba were next to us, and telling us where the other two groups were.

Pops, Loafie and Deuce went with NJ, and B-Dawg Egg and I followed Bubba.

We found our group keeping an eye out for a small path that our group had been using. We waited, and soon enough heard the screams from close by as the other group got the drop on the amushers that were left.

The two in front of us decided to move.. Right into our path.

We waited until someone spotted Bubba's shoe.

Then we opened fire.

That day wasn't the most proud day I've had, but it taught me a lesson that I've taken with me.

Never underestimate an untrained person. They might just surprise you.

See you all tomorrow!

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