I spent part of my Sunday running through the woods shooting at friends and strangers. The place: Outdoor Adventures Paintball. The occasion was a friend’s 29th birthday. Paintball has changed quite a bit since I first tried it as a sophomore in college. There are college and professional leagues now (my alma mater apparently has quite a good team). There are corporate sponsors. They even have TV coverage on ESPN2 and the Versus network.
For novices like us, it was a great time. We teamed up against a group of what looked like undergrads from the University of Maryland. In three rounds of matches (3 games per match), we won each 2 games to 1. Usually it was by killing all of them off, but at least a couple of times we captured their flag and moved it all the way down the field. The “center flag” variant of the game (one flag midfield that a team must capture and move forward through their opponents) was our least favorite. We had a really long field for it in the second match, and our strategy didn’t work that well at first. The one thing I would differently the next time is buy more ammunition. Even though you have to pull the trigger for each shot, I ran out of ammunition before our third match was over.