This summer has been a hot one, and even when the temperatures rose to near triple digits (Fahrenheit) and the humidity hovers at 100%, people are still hitting the fields to play paintball, and so am I.
|It's was this big... honest !!!|
My summer started with one of my favorite paintball experiences each year, the Line-of-Fire Celebrity Paintball Camp. This year they decided to focus on the growing interest in scenario paintball, so they asked me to come coach a three-day scenario paintball skills camp. I brought games designed to teach everything from first ball accuracy to field awareness to formulating then executing a plan of attack. We ran drills, missions, and simulations of common game situations, and when the heat got to be too much, the field owners cooled everyone off with slices of ice-cold watermelon and freeze pops. We capped off the experience with an awards banquet where I got a chance to speak about the amazing progress each student had made. Thanks go to Planet Eclipse for their support of the camp! The campers took home more than skills, memories, and welts; they got some sweet Eclipse shirts, lanyards, hats, and other assorted swag as a bonus. If you’ve never attended a paintball camp, give it some thought. The money spent on the experience is worth more than most equipment upgrades because you’re upgrading the most important piece of kit – yourself.
|Foolybear explains the next drill.|
I had a chance to see how much my campers had learned later in the summer when we met up on opposite sides of The Walking Dead scenario. My team, Capital Offense, had a strong showing to support the Governor in his fight against sheriff Rick Grimes and his group of survivors. Capital Offense’s own Rick “Mamba” Money took on the role of the Governor, and while we had some great teams on our side, the majority of players who registered identified with Rick or wanted to be a part of the zombie horde. Yes, this three way game featured zombies who could only be eliminated with a shot to the head or chest, and their base was inconveniently located right in the middle of just about route on the field. There was no avoiding the zombies.
The Governor - Rick "Mamba" Money of Capital Offense
With that in mind, Rick and the Governor formed a shaky alliance at the start of the game and promised to stick to shooting zombies for the first hour. Mamba tasked Capital Offense as his official zombie hunting squad, and we were all over the field, ferreting out pockets of the undead and blowing them out of the bases they occupied. Fun stuff! Command Decisions, the host field, is well known to be physically challenging. Every base feels like it’s uphill from every other base, and with temperatures boiling the mercury, the game offered more challenges than many were prepared to take.
Foolybear takes a break to show off one of his ETHAs.
Paintball Soldiers put on the event, and they did their best to make it as immersive as possible. They even brought a white box truck full of players on the zombie side to simulate the “zombie bomb” from the TV series. In the final battle a mannequin, dressed like the character Hershel, was placed in a central base. Rick’s team had to defend Hershel, and the Governor’s side had to get their leader within striking distance so he could take the old man out in the same way that he did in the show. We swarmed the base and Mamba swung the sword, but that victory wasn’t enough for us to pull out the win. Rick’s team had accumulated enough points from earlier in the game to put them ahead even after losing the final battle. I’d like to think that my camp students who played for Rick made the difference. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.
Foolybear on the Front Lines
My favorite moment from the Walking Dead game came about halfway through. Capital Offense had been ordered to take firebase Rex, a hilltop base surrounded by trenches and open ground. The zombies had taken control, and Rick’s team was leaving them alone. Not only did we have to run across ground, into their guns, but a flanking move would expose us to fire from Rick’s soldiers.
Regardless, a squad of players bursting from the treeline with LV1’s spitting streams of paint can even the odds quickly. I broke to the right, dove behind an embankment and crawled along the side of the trench border. Behind me the players who joined Capital Offense in the charge were getting chipped away as shooters with hard cover in the base picked them off. I had to break open the situation before our charge was whittled down. I hurdled the trench, bolted for the center structure in the base, turned the back corner and ran down three players as my teammates rushed from the left. In a flash we owned the base. There are few feelings as good as a crushing base capture in a scenario game.
Foolybear plays scenario paintball for Planet Eclipse and as part of Team Capital Offense. His Instagram (@foolybear) is a steady stream of pictures of his paintball adventures. You can also keep up with his travels on Twitter (@foolybear). His next event will be Turf Wars at The Swamp. Check his 2014 game calendar for more information.
Thanks to Toby Joe Gilreath. for some of the pics..
Thanks to Toby Joe Gilreath. for some of the pics..