As a team offsite yesterday, 20 of us went out to the Los Gatos Paintball club for what amounted to 5 hours worth of strategic paintball games. The field was not themed, but rather about a 50-100 acre (I’m terrible with Acres) wooded area with a steep hill at the north side and thick brush at the south. Throughout the entire course, there were bunkers, barrels, make-shift houses, and other things to hide behind.
We played the typical games: elimination, capture the flag, VIP, etc. and it was a blast. My first time out, actually. The paintballs do in fact sting a little — but it’s not something you can’t bear. In my opinion, snowboarding was more painful than this — then again, with snowboarding it’s less painful as you get better, but at any rate…
What was surprising, however, was how exhausting it was. We’d play two 10 minute games followed by a “five minute break” that usually wound up being more like 15-20 minutes. But by the end of those two games, I was beyond exhausted.
From all of the running, hiding, squatting, crawling, and shooting — it’s a tiring effort. Worst of all, though, is the adrenaline. Your heart is racing the entire time as your basically playing for “your life.”
Not to under-value what our troops are doing in Iraq or Afghanistan, but it really gave me a small sense of what it must be like to be in a war zone. The main difference, of course, is that they’re not shooting paint. Thoughts of Iraq, Vietnam, World War II and other wars came to mind as I exited the playing field so out exhausted that I could barely hold my gun above my head as to indicate that I was “dead.”
I now understand what basic training is all about — and more so, I have a new understanding of the term “War is Hell.”