Paintball is a good way to keep outdoor skills sharp

I haven’t played a lot of paintball, but I do enjoy it. Or at least I should say I enjoy it when I’m playing with people who have the same understanding of the rules that I do.

My son wanted to go to a paintball course for his birthday, and I was immediately on board with that. When I got married, I had a paintball game with about 20 friends for my bachelor party, and I haven’t played much since. So I was just as excited as Logan to go play paintball again. But there was a big difference between my bachelor party and Logan’s birthday paintball game. All the people in my bachelor party game knew each other. But for Logan’s birthday, we went to a paintball place and jumped in on games with 30 complete strangers.

Pardon me for saying so, but if you’re playing paintball, you’re not Rambo. It’s a paintball game. You’re not storming the beaches of Normandy. You’re slinging nonlethal balls of paint at 16-year-old kids wearing Sketchers. Lighten up.

But at least those overzealous paintball warriors usually have a sense of honor. When they get hit by a paintball, they yell, “I’m out,” raise their hands over their heads, and go out of the game. And if they hit YOU, and YOU yell, “I’m out,” they don’t keep shooting you. Yes, I make a great target when I stand up and put my hands over my head. But that doesn’t mean you should put 14 more welts on me.

Some of the other players we faced were in this category. I watched a paintball explode on one guy’s shoulder, and he just kept shooting. And then he missed my kid, but yelled at Logan that he’d hit him. Another guy yelled, “I surrender!” when I came around a rock and had him dead to rights, then he shot me five times.

I think I’ll stick to playing paintball with people I know from now on. It can be a lot of fun, as long as everyone plays by the same set of rules.