I felt super excited going for my first paintball game. My friend Cassidy had invited me. Though she was not a pro at the game herself; as a matter of fact, she has not been playing before. She just didn’t want to go all by herself, so she asked me along. It was one of the colleagues-at-work, and he wanted to entertain everyone with a paintball game or wanted to be entertained by everyone. He invited his co-workers and a bunch of his friends.
“I feel so out of place right now,” I confided in Cassidy as we stepped into the gear reception where we will be equipped.
“You are not alone, Matt. But what the heck, it’s just a game,” she said
“Hey guys,” the receptionist welcomed us with a broad smile like a visitor he had been waiting for, for a long time. “Are you here for the birthday party?” he asked.
“Yes we are,” Cassidy replied. “Is there a ritual we are supposed to perform before joining others?”
He smiled briskly. “None at all, we just need your IDs, and you are good to go.”
We produced our IDs and handed them over the counter to him.
“This is because you guys are new to this,” he was saying as he was working with the IDs, “after today you won’t need to provide your ID anymore, only the club card you will be issued before leaving will suffice for that,” he explained, even though I doubted in my mind that I would be coming back after that day.
“Can we get injured playing this game?” I asked. I was sure he had been asked this question many times by first timers like me.
“Yes you can, but it is very rare for someone to sustain a serious injury in the process of playing paintball. You will be guided on how to play safe and stay safe in the course of playing. Superficial wounds are the most likely one can sustain in playing paintball.”
“Ok,” I said skeptically still.
During this time we were joined by a guy who had come to complain that his gun was not shooting. You can tell he doesn’t know much about the game too, probably his first time too.
“Excuse me, my gun won’t shoot,” he complained.
Yellow nylon dangled from where the bullet balls were supposed to be.
“Let me take a look for you,” the receptionist said.
Collecting the gun from him, he could not believe what he was seeing. He removed the nylon, opened the bullet casing and emptied it on the counter. Sands, balls, and other dirt dropped on the table. He looked at the man before him with disbelief, while the man also wore an innocent look.
“I didn’t do that,” he protested. “Must have gotten into when I fell.” I could not see any sign that he had fallen. If he had done it intentionally, I wouldn’t know.
“Can I have another gun?” he asked.
But instead of the receptionist giving him another gun, he handed him his old one back and gave him an extra bullet. “It’s working perfectly now.”
“But how can you tell? Could I get a test shot at least?” he asked
The receptionist said no, “You can go and do that at the paintball field.”
The man left grudgingly.
“Sorry about that,” he apologized to us. “Kindly sign here, then I will give your gears.”
We were just rounding that up when two other guys came in. One wearing a ponytail, and lanky. His companion is rather huge with a beard covering half his face.
“Dude, we’ve been doing some thinking,” the one with the ponytail started the moment they came in. “I would like to get an automatic gun.” Then he seemed to go into a trance for about a minute. ‘Would drop so many paints everywhere, gunning anyone, anything before me….oh’ so cool.’
“I will like me a sniper rifle,” his companion said subtly.
“Oh’…. Yea, awesome, sniper rifle dude,” the lanky man agreed excitedly. “Can paintball so many people from a long distance, they won’t even know where it’s coming from.”
The huge man became agitated too as if he had been infected with the euphoria of his companion. “Dude you should really give us sniper rifle, man. We could paint so many people without being shot at.”
All this time the receptionist was just staring at them not saying a word. When they seem to be done, they returned to where they came from.
“They know the procedures; they just like to be like that when they have been shot out of a game,” he explained uninterestingly. “Your game will be at the West Bank field. You will find a direction just after you go out through that door.”
“Can we really have a sniper rifle?” Cassidy asked. “I will like to know how that feels. Plus, I don’t feel up to running around too much. I could just sit in one corner and shoot everyone.”
That cracked the receptionist for the first time, and I did laugh too.
“If you handle it well in the few minutes’ practices, you will be getting before going on to the field, and then, maybe you can have it.” I had the feeling they won’t be giving her the sniper rifle to practice with. But she was happy to go on at that moment.
We were given our gears, and we moved to meet the other guys already waiting for us to start the test practice. I was surprised a lot of us were just new to the game, and seem to have one apprehension or the other about the game. But at the end of the test practice, I for one was feeling confident, and when I asked Cassidy, she said she had a good feeling about the game already, and she’s ready to paint some people she had wished she could shoot in a while.
At the end of the game, we ate some cakes and took some pictures with the birthday boy. At the end of the day, I didn’t feel like leaving, and I was already looking forward to returning.