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- Team Sports
Competition can get kooky
Paintball is an aggressive sport. Kinda has to be, since it is an activity that involves shooting each other. But most of the time, we really just want to have fun.
When I was on a rookie team called Nor*Cal Fury, our captain initially took the tournaments lightly. Fresh team, pretty green to the competitive side of the game, so he felt we should focus on having a good time rather than getting too serous.
So he created a point system, just among us Fury members. A list of specific actions that, when performed in a game, earned a certain amount of points. Member with the highest points at the end of the day won. They were "The Gummy Bear Games."
These point-earning actions varied in difficulty and appropriateness, from shouting an inspirational quote to an opponent we shot out or yelling "i love you" to a referee, to dry-humping bunkers or dancing our way from bunker to bunker.
In the end, it was less about winning the trophies and more about having the best time of our lives possible.
Mike is a paintball prodigy
A fellow named Michael, one of my many cousins, is responsible for getting me in this sport. At the time, i thought he was an occasional player. A weekend warrior. He didn't even remember how long he'd been playing. But later, after piecing together a few tidbits of history, it turned out Mike had been playing for years! After a few more years of playing with us, he had become really good.
Michael had been playing at our usual spot, Sherwood Forest Paintball in American Canyon, CA, for quite some time. Long enough to be known as a regular, and familiar with all the referees. This field had a policy of separating players by marker type, which isn't the best policy since gear does not adequately represent skill, but rules are rules.
So we were lumped with high-end marker owners, and rentals & low-ends played separately. The refs would rotate us on & off the field, then the other guys on & off the field, and so on. But our games went faster, which didn't sit well with my cousin, since he had seemingly endless energy. So he asked to hop in on the low-end game. Refs allowed it, but only as support, no marker. The best Mike could do was tutor players on the field - and tag opponents out with a squeegee.
Thus, Mike played a game armed with just a squeegee and his teaching skills. He spends part of the game coaching players, trying to get them to make moves, advance up the field, and close out the game. But no one really listened. Everyone just hung back, shooting at opponents they couldn't get good hits on. Same with the other team. There were a lot of people, and the game was running long. This, of course, is not my cousin's style.
Michael took matters into his own hands. Since no one really covered angles or coordinated efforts, he managed to move up. Little by little, bunker by bunker, my cousin made it halfway. Some key opponents were shot out by chance, and he managed to make it all the way up.
Squeegee in hand, Michael tagged out half of the remaining players before getting splattered. A total of 6 people. With an object that looks like a big, fluffy pipe cleaner.
Bad paint can be hilarious
Shooting crappy paintballs can be frustrating. They don't fly straight, they don't always break on target, they can lead to a bad day. But sometimes, well, bad paint can lead to odd situations.
During a particularly warm day, a lot of people were having troubles with bounces - paintballs that don't break, they just bounce off. This was happening between me and another guy, and neither of us could believe it. So after a dozen or so traded shots, we both took a step out to examine each other's unmarked selves. Realizing we were both still in, and consequently rather exposed to other players on the field, we scrambled back to cover under hailstorms of paintballs.
In a similar situation, but much more up-close-and-personal, a guy ran up on me to tag me out. We ran in a circle around my bunker trying to shoot each other, until finally i took a hit. So i stop. Then he stops. He thinks he got hit, too. We check, and we're both clean. I put another shot in his leg, bounces right off. He puts a shot in my leg, bounces right off. After a confusing couple seconds, we both shrug and just walk off the field.