"Keep a cool head, girl...with the odd look back!" So many times as a child I heard my Dad, Mickey, give me the above advice. It became our little joke whenever I’d ask him “What would you do if you were me? " Before he had a chance to answer, I’d jump in with “Don’t tell me. Keep a cool head with the odd look back??” 😂
Although I’d laugh, in looking back now I can see just how sound that advice really was. On so
very many occasions, it stood me in great stead over the years; particularly when I needed to strategise and think clearly. I was always going to be a person where brain would be relied upon over brawn. Having had childhood asthma, which often triggered wheezing when exercise-induced, I was never overly-athletic. Back in the day, treatment advice wasn’t as enlightened for asthma as it is now and I was told not to over-exert.
I was therefore somewhat of a bookish child. Let’s just say, I would never be picked for the team to play a game of Red Rover….and when called over I’d never be expected to burst through the line! People who read books for entertainment are usually the kind of people who identify more with Bruce Banner than with the Incredible Hulk. We’d like to solve our problems by being smart and adroit, rather than transforming into a giant green monster and solving our problems by smashing them. 😂
So it was when I came to Dublin in the early 1990s. Many's the time I had to think on my feet. No more so than on a team-building paintballing outing with Arthur Andersen where I worked as a Taxation Senior back in the day. Off to Kiltiernan in the Dublin Mountains I headed with about a dozen colleagues. Our group was about 50:50 male:female, all in our mid-20s. Me not really relishing the thought of being chased through the woods getting splattered by paintballs!
To explain, paintball is played in a forest where players are divided into two teams and they battle to defend and attack positions in game areas with different scenarios. Each player is issued with a camouflage suit, protective facemask and goggles, a padded hood and a paintball marker (gun), which fires a coloured paint pellet.
This could hold 440 rounds of paint within reach in a comfortable pack around the waist. Another pack fitted around the small of the back giving easy access to extra paint in the heat of the battle!
The Paintballs used were all the colours under the rainbow, and with a little practice were bang on target shot after shot after shot.
The most important piece of equipment of all was the Mask. These Thermal Goggles designed for both safety and comfort, provided full face protection.
Our Camo Overalls were designed to fit comfortably but because they were unisex I found that mine “swam on me”. Nevertheless, it helped me to blend in with the natural surroundings….we sure looked sweet in these!
I soon found out that average physical fitness is sufficient. Perspiration and a few aching muscles in muscles I didn't know I had! There were welcome breaks between games. Each player found his / her own level of participation; be it all-out action (the guys) or a little more laid back (the girls)!
Our group was divided into two teams. Each of the five game areas had a different scenario so the winning team’s success depended on what that game involved. Some games involved both teams trying to storm each other’s camp simultaneously, some were attacking and defending over two legs with the quickest attacking time determining the winner. I soon got into the swing of things…joining forces with some of the girls on my team.
The one thing I soon found out though is that although the paint pellets are not dangerous, they break on impact and are seriously sore when you get hit …..with a stinging sensation for a short period. The objective of the game is to win each ‘mission’ but only by compliance with the strict safety codes of practice, which do not allow shots that are too close. But I was still left with some crazy yellow and purple bruises for a week after; particularly in the unprotected area where my arms met my shoulders.
How to Play Paintball Like a Boss
Although paintball is a thoroughly enjoyable activity for everyone who takes part, I found it’s more fun if you’re on the winning team!! If you’ve never played before, it’s easy to assume that it mainly consists of “spray and pray” carnage. But in reality, I found it’s a sport that requires tactical thinking, communication, patience and precision. Four things to remember:
And the surprise of the day ….to my open-jawed colleagues…..was that I helped my team to WIN by capturing the opposing team’s flag. I was presented that evening at our team dinner with my “tongue in cheek” winning prize; “Stormin’ Norman’s” book. For those who've never heard of "Stormin' Norman" he was Norman Schwarzkopf, the US Army general who led all coalition forces in the First Gulf War 1990-1991. I still have the book after all this time. Looking back I can now see the two main reasons I won.
Bucket List Items Ticked Off in the above Blog post
Number 8 - Adventure - Play & Win a Game of Paintball
Other Blog Posts
Blog 11 - Sydney, Australia
Blog 12 - Hong Kong, China
Blog 17 - Beijing, Xi'an & Shanghai, China
Blog 19 - California, USA
Blog 20 - My Seaplane Adventure
Have you ever played paintball? Tell me about your experience in the comments section below.
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My name is Mary and this is my bucket list blog ...having survived a near-death experience. I hope it encourages you to "live your best life". See how I'm completing my own bucket list items. And let me know how you're getting on with yours!