- Ethan Gabriles
Surrounded by thin air, screams, and lost hope, my mask comes off so I can breathe easier, my boots in the mud, eyes looking down at my gun which I can barely lift, my gear is weighing me down, my back is starting to ache. I hear the two-minute warning siren signaling it’s almost over. No one wants to sum of the courage to take one for the team. I drop my gun, take off my gear, and put on my mask. I knew I was going to be in a world of pain, but a world I will never forget.
The goal of the Paintball match was to capture a flag in the middle of the field and bring it back to your home base, the hard part about this is that there are approximately seventy-five other players on the other team with the same goal in mind. At the start of the match every paintballer has the same intention of claiming glory by running and grabbing the flag as soon as possible, but, that plan is quite literally, shot down by the remaining players who didn't run for the flag.
After the first ten minutes have gone by both teams start to slow down, sit behind bunkers and take a few shots here and there. A few courageous players run for the flag and get covered in welts, paint, and bruises. Twenty minutes pass by, yet no results for either team, players grow impatient, some start leaving the field and others just sit in their hiding hole with hopelessness in their eyes. Twenty-eight minutes into the match the Ref calls the two-minute warning. The life of the game has been revived by his siren.
I drop all of my gear for it will only slow me down, I start yelling at others to give me covering fire as I move up the center of the field slowly but surely. With each switch from cover to cover, volleys of paintballs fly towards me pelting the ground and barriers around me. I get tunnel vision and spot the flag laying on the ground, the players that have been providing covering fire have followed me for this long and they recognize the flag as well and they all know what to do. In seconds, a storm of paintballs erupted from both sides, the sounds of the guns firing in unison was deafening, but I had a job so I bolted out of cover and slid into the same vicinity as the flag, both sides are distracted with each other so I crawl over and grab it.
Running away from probably thousands of potential paintballs hitting you in the back is exhilarating, believe it or not. Again, I am running from cover to cover I was almost at my home base until I ran directly into a cross-fire. Getting shot from both sides, in the ribs, arms, legs, and neck, I collapsed to the ground and drop the flag. I couldn’t breathe nor could I barely move I mustered up the strength to crawl out of the way. The cross fire I ran into was won by my team and they ran out to grab the flag themselves and return it to our base.
Hearing the siren to signal the game has ended was like music to my ears, and even though I didn’t win the game for my team, I knew that paintball was going to be one of my favorite hobbies. Since then I have played hundreds of games and dozens of games without my gear to reclaim the glory of winning for my entire team.
Paintball has become a major part in my life and I highly recommend anybody try it at least once in their life.