Saturday midday and my emotions were rather mixed as people assembled in my kitchen as a sort of pre assembly area prior to battle in the paintball arena. I had never participated in this sport before but had been fully trained by my son who had himself been trained by endless hours watching “You Tube” videos. I sensed that the good humoured mirth from my fellow combatants was tinged with a trace of uncertainty so perhaps I wasn’t the only one to be a tad nervous.
At the prescribed hour the usual mixture of British, American & Brazilian substitutes for a Die Hard movie clambered in to vehicles and set off towards Bessa. Now Joao Pessoa has many areas that might be considered dangerous but Bessa is not one of them. Arriving at the Scorpion battle HQ we met up with companion soldiers and found we had a good representative UN army with the addition of Swiss and Norwegian. We soon divided ourselves into three teams of mixed nationality & ability and gave Scorpion Battle Control the names of individual team members, I hoped these weren’t to aid the next of kin. The team captains quickly decided the rules of engagement and what was deemed to be our death. Next up was to don the required safety and protective equipment on offer. Having put on the camo’ boiler suit, neck protection and full upper body protection I realised that I both felt invincible and very, very hot! The next step revealed a complete shock, I was unable to wear both my face mask and my glasses. Now this happens in diving but there the water refraction compensates for any short sightedness and diving is a doddle. However the loss of my glasses on the battle grounds of Bessa was a much bigger disadvantage.
The first two teams took up position behind their defences and I felt the adrenalin rushing around me nerving myself for battle. My team mates looked far more in control than I felt but were they? The referee gave the command and battle commenced. I rushed forward to take cover behind a pile of tyres and felt the temperature inside my suit rise way above the ambient temp, was I really that committed? Well I guess I was. This was a real battle, this was kill or be killed. I heard paint balls thudding in to my shelter and so kept my head down. Brave now that I was still alive I took a look at the field of battle and immediately took a hit on the mouth area of my face mask. Paint sprayed in to my mouth leaving an unpleasant taste and the realisation that I was dead! Raising my hand, rather in the order of a white flag, and shouting “Hit” I left the field of battle. All hell was breaking loose around me as people rushed either for position or for cover but for me I was heading to the safety zone and all I could think was “Heck that was fun!!” I was soon joined by my other team members and realised that we had lost that battle but there were others to come that we would win, the fight was only just starting!!
Once in the safety zone I started to think what was happening to me. I was enjoying it like mad, I was boiling hot, I couldn’t see very well (sorry Paul if I shot you after you’d raised your hand) and I was looking forward to the next engagement. As the afternoon wore on and more battles were fought I also learnt that paint balls hurt when they hit you, Ouch!! Also that the more you play the more confident you become, however being shot between the eyes by your own son is quite unnerving! I think we all enjoyed the afternoon and felt quite drained and knackered by our own exhaustions. Thanks to Dave & Paraiba Paradise for organising it and I look forward to seeing his photographs. I think we all want to go again, perhaps at night, but need to ensure we that we have a clear winning team …….. and I want to be on it.
By Colin Roxburgh
You can findout more about scorpion paintball on their site