Monday, October 15, 2007


I'm not sure who first brought it up or when, but the idea had been raised that we should go play paintball together as a division. The guys have been raring to go for a few weeks now, and I'm totally pumped as well. I've never done it before, the scariest thing I've shot is a water gun, but I am SO in! John insists that I am going to get killed, and although I protest that I can take care of myself, I kinda have the same thought. At 5'2", most of the guys tower over me, and I weigh much less then they do. Ah well, I figure that'll make me faster and a smaller target, perhaps I won't get hit as easily. Besides, I'm tougher and more feisty then most people would ever assume.

The gun is surprisingly heavy, but looks so very cool. I've always wanted to learn how to shoot, but this will have to do for now. John isn't playing, so I torment him for a while about being too scared of me, which he just laughs off. The first field looks amazing, two steep hills meet in a valley, with long grass, trees and bunkers spread throughout. Each team starts on the top of a hill, but as we are out of range of each other, we have to charge down the hill into the valley to start the shooting. Crazy!

I start on the side of our hill, crouched down in the long grass with my heart rate just flying. I'm so excited, it's insane. The bullets start flying and suddenly my excitement turns into terror. My head knows that it is not real, but I have never been shot at before, I'm having trouble convincing my body that it's not about to die. Jack spies me and starts firing, my heart is literally pounding in my throat. Paint pellets rain down on every side, hitting the grass with an unmistakable 'THWACK!'.
Ouch! Shoot, that hurt! I just got one in the thigh, it didn't break though, I'm still in the game. I force myself to fire back, half running, half falling down the hill towards better cover. I'm firing wildly, I just want to make it out alive. Suddenly, *WHAM!* I get hit right in the face mask. Spitting paint everywhere, I raise my gun, holler "I'm hit!" and make a beeline for the safety of the boundary line. The terror has subsided, now I'm just excited. Wow, that was incredible! I give myself a mental kick in the seat and promise myself that next time, I'm going to fight for all I'm worth. After all, I got hit a couple times this round, and once the initial sting wears off, it really isn't that bad. I start to grin, my game has only just begun.

The next round takes place in a forest, with fortresses at either end and a car in the middle. I take a deep breath as I hear the ref shout "GO!". Time to knock these guys on their butts. Still learning, I do my best to hide, provide cover fire, and knock out the enemy. I look around after my last ally staggers off the field, a paint-riddled mess. It's me vs. three of the enemy. There's no way I'm going to win this, but I'll try my darnedest to take them out if I can. Hiding behind a tree, I see one sneak up on either side, but can't see the third. I guess they're out after all. I fire to the right while dodging incoming from my left, then reverse. I get hit in the hand, it bounces off, no paint. I step around the tree and fire wildly at the enemy to the right, I know the left enemy isn't in a position to shoot right now, I think their gun has jammed. Suddenly I get hit right in the kneecap, I feel my leg buckle. I look down to see if it broke, forgetting to cover myself. A bullet ricochets off the top off my head, leaving me seeing stars. I raise my hand to see if there is paint, once again forgetting that I am exposed. All three of them - drat, there were three left! - open fire and I am hit for good this time, a giant blue splotch shows up on my leg. I raise my gun in surrender and limp off the field, still seeing stars. That was awesome, I actually held out the longest of my team!

The other two girls are fading fast, one of them takes herself out for the rest of the night, fearing injury. The other stays in, but in sniper mode, hiding behind impenetrable objects and just trying to pick people off. Perhaps I'm a bit stubborn, maybe it's pride, or possibly just the red hair, but I want to show those guys that I can fight just as well as they can. They may be twice my size, but we all have the same gun. The next few games are fast and furious, we refill paint and air multiple times as we all get a little more winded, a little more bruised, and a lot dirtier. This is soooo much fun, I've pegged a few of them off, made a few good moves, I'm loving it now. We shoot up the frontier village a few times, then move on to 'The Fortress'. Sounds good to me!

The Fortress looks fun already, it's a different style of game then all of the previous ones. Two men, Roy and Jack, hold the fort, the rest of us have to take it. We win when they're both dead. These two have been the leaders all night, mobilizing their teams into action. Now that they're on the same team, there is a huge leadership void. I think I can fill it! Haha, this is going to be good. We start at the end of the field, too far to pick them off from here, they have some great defenses. I start to move forward, yelling at my team to follow me as I charge. Jack peeks his head through the tower window and sees me running across the open. As he raises his gun, I throw myself through the air, it's my only hope to make it to the bunker alive. I land hard as paintballs fly overhead and thwack against the wood. I fire at will, trying to pick him off as he tries to nail me. I need to get closer. I do the same crazy charge again, making it over halfway up the field. I've lost sight of Jack, but I spy Roy off to the other side, trying to pick off one of my partners. I try to nail him, angling myself behind the boards to protect from his fire.

Out of nowhere, a Mack truck slams into the side of my neck, instantly compressing my airway as I'm dropped to my knees. I feel wetness as I raise my fingers to my throat, hoping to God that it is paint. I'm having trouble focusing, and I suddenly realize that I'm still in the middle of the battlefield, still being fired upon. I fight off the urge to faint and stagger off the field, trying to hold my gun in the air, but I seem to be lacking the strength to do either. I pass the ref, who steps towards me and asks, "Need a medic?" Half joking, he knows who we are, half serious, I look half dead. I don't answer, I just want to get to the group. I collapse into the grass near Amelia and try to calm myself. I can breathe, and I'm pretty sure it's paint I'm covered in. I'm on the verge of tears and try to settle myself down before anybody notices, I hate creating a fuss, especially in front of people I have so much respect for. Amelia kneels down beside me and asks if I'm ok. We're great friends, I don't have to act brave with her. I gasp out what happened, and she pulls back my hoodie to take a look. She starts, then hollers, "Blood! There's blood! Red's bleeding!" Riiiiight, so much for playing it cool. John drops to his knees beside me before she has even finished, he tends to be rather protective of me, it's very sweet. He takes a look, and proclaims it not that bad, a bit of blood, soon to be a nasty bruise, but nothing serious. Amelia does tend to get excited about things, but John, being a paramedic, sees things with different eyes. He offers to clean it up for me when we get back to the trucks, and I calmly agree. Once the initial shock wore off, it really isn't that bad. I'll take a few lumps to have this much fun, any day!

Jack swaggers off the field, he and Roy won, so they're happy. He sees me on the ground, and quickly realizes it was his shot that put me there. His demeanor changes instantly, he is also very protective of me, and is quite upset that he hurt me. He broke the rules on that shot too, they were supposed to stay within the confines of the fortress, but he says he couldn't take it anymore, and charged us, totally forgetting the rules. He's kicking himself now, cursing his testosterone-fueled mad charge - his words, not mine! I hop to my feet and give him a quick hug. "Jack, it's not that bad! Besides, it's all part of the game." I give him a grin, "You just better watch out next round!" I follow the group to the next field, I'm not quitting anytime soon. I notice that although John proclaimed it to be a non-serious injury, he stays close to me for the rest of the night, watching, always watching. I pretend nothing happened and we head back to the hill and valley course to use up our ammo and end our evening, as darkness is falling quickly.

The ref calls for anyone who still has ammo, and I step forward with Jack and three other guys. They all look at me in disbelief, "You're playing? Seriously?" I just grin. "Of course! Somebody has to get Jack back for that shot!" It is much harder in the dark, the sound of shooting is the only way to pinpoint a location. It doesn't help that all of the ammo-less people are firing their empty guns at the ground, just to make noise and cause confusion. I keep firing widely, pegging one guy in the head a few times before he yells mercy. Hey, I wasn't sure if they broke, so I kept shooting!

Jack and I are stalking each other through the gloom, everybody on the sidelines is shouting tips at me. I move up, ducking and dodging, trying to be as silent as the grave. I really want to nail him, no hard feelings, I love the guy, but I still want to get him. I duck behind a large crate as the peanut gallery starts to shriek with more intensity. He's close, and in a better position then I. I check one side, then the other, and see no sign of him. I start to raise my gun as the hair on the back of my neck stands up straight, I have never been hunted like this before. I decide to charge the area where I last saw him and raise myself slowly, silently, up from the ground. A sudden movement overhead catches me off-guard, I swing my gun up and come face to face with Jack. He has thrown himself over the top of the crate and now holds me at point-blank range. His finger quivering over the trigger, he asks, "Mercy?" Knowing I have no chance, I raise my gun. "Mercy." He grins. "Gotcha again!" Grrrr......I need to get him so badly! And he's out of ammo to!

Ah well, I still have paint left, so I head back into the fray. Me against two others, I decide there is no way I am NOT going to win this. I start firing as I charge, then see two figures emerge from the grass, headed towards the group. I stand alone on the darkened field, bruised and bloody, sweaty and filthy. I just grin.

I am given a nickname later that evening, as the guys chow down, discussing each game, the injuries received and who played the best. It is decided that I got the best injury, the light of the restaurant reveals it to be a giant bloody welt. It is also decided that they never want to face me mad, I guess I was a tad intense. Haha, that's awesome. They now call me G.I Jane. How cool is THAT?

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