Monday, April 10, 2006

Well, I've seen paintball now...

My son has been bugging me about it for months. Then this past weekend it turns out that one of dainty nine-year old Bear's friends goes frequently with her father and brother. I reluctantly gave in and ended up with half the boys on the road as well as two small girls. Even though paintball has no appeal for me (who wants to play army with paint when you've done it for real with bullets...), I approached the whole scene with as open a mind as I could muster.

Didn't work. I saw the most pathetic bunch of wannabe losers you can possibly imagine.

I was turned off right away by the sight of tens of thousands of paintballs everywhere. I watched people fill their paint hoppers at tables, dump balls all over the place and simply walk away. The ground was also covered by hundreds of nine-volt and AA batteries. Turns out some of the guns have electronics. The people just threw the batteries on the ground. By the end of the day they'd added dozens of water bottles, paintball boxes, bags, sandwich wrappers and so forth to the mess, despite plenty of trash containers.

They discharged the guns compulsively. Inside the maneuver lanes they'd discharge dozens of paintballs while they waited for the signal to go. After being "killed" they'd stop just before leaving the lane and shoot more. Outside of the lanes they'd remove the paint hopper and walk around discharging blasts of CO2. It got to be annoying very quickly.

The action inside the maneuver lanes was incredibly lame. There could not have been one person in the entire park who had the slightest idea of infantry tactics. There was no fire and maneuver--they would simply walk to an obstacle or tree and stand there pouring literally hundreds of rounds in the general direction of the opposing force. They had two-finger triggers they could jiggle their fingers on and approximate the cyclic rate of fire of an MG-43. With a thousand rounds in the air at any one time, people did manage to get hit, but most of them simply had to leave because they ran out of paintballs. No problem there--they just went back to their table, reloaded while dumping paintballs on the ground, then headed off for the next paintfest.

And one last thing, guys: Desert camouflage doesn't work in a deciduous forest.

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