The guy in the red mask is about 20 metres away. I’m not sure who he is, but right now he’s the enemy who’s trying to hide behind a stack of tyres. (It was later revealed he’s actually a close mate of mine). Three swift trigger-pulls later on my marker (aka paintball gun), and the third chocolate-ball-sized paint-filled blob, travelling at a blistering 280 feet/second, splatters slap-bang into his visor, covering his field of vision in a mustard-coloured goo. No doubt whether that was a direct hit or not. A rush of accomplishment floods my already adrenalin-filled arteries. I’m having fun – lots of it.
All sounds pretty macho on my part … the ringworm-shaped welts and concentric rings of blue and purple on my body – which appeared a few hours later – tell a different story.
The game of paintball – what a fascinating concept. No matter your age, somehow running around in a fenced-off area filled with wrecked cars, up-turned crates, wooden hide-outs and stacks of tyres, shooting balls of paint at your friends, magically brings out our carefree inner-child. Stick a bachelor-groom-to-be in a French maid’s outfit, with fishnet stockings, out on the paintball field, and the game becomes immeasurably more enjoyable. Yup, our day out in Somerset West at X Paintball was for a friend’s bachelors, but no excuse is really needed to enjoy a game with mates (or colleagues).
Admittedly, there weren’t a lot of females of our species scampering about on that now infamous Saturday morning, trying to defeat opposition and sting and bruise them as much as possible. Though, women and girls are certainly welcome! Perhaps it’s some sort of primitive male behaviour that makes this sort of thing more appealing to guys. Or perhaps, underneath our groomed exteriors, we’re actually just a bunch of rowdy schoolyard reprobates. I reckon it’s the latter.
Follow Mark Samuel on Twitter @MarkSamuel_ZA
Where First gate on the right after passing Farm 50, Sir Lowry’s Pass Road, Somerset West
When 7 days a week, session times are 8:30 am, 10:30 am, 12:45 pm and 16:45 pm (duration two hours)
Cost R140 per player (package 1: 200 paintballs, paintball marker, mask), R240 per player (package 2: 500 paintballs, paintball marker, mask), additional costs apply for extra paintballs and protective clothing
Tip Wear heavy long pants and a thick long-sleeve top, that you don’t mind getting dirty
Contact X Paintball, Alistair Hill, +27 73 217 5972, www.xpaintball.co.za
Photography X Paintball