Without going into too much detail, let me just say that I avoid confrontational situations at ALL COSTS. They bring out the worst in me – I get easily upset and things get hectic. And yet, somehow, I agreed to go paintballing with my friends last weekend. (We surprised a friend for his graduation – it ended up being 3 girls and 5 guys and a LOT of fun).
Before you start yelling and screaming about how this is The Sydney Sports Blog and this post doesn’t really fit this blog’s M.O., let me say that I get where you’re coming from. I debated writing this post. But the muscle pain in my back, legs and bum(as well as the fact that I have yet to catch my breath from Normandy) convinced me that yes, this is a sport, and being located in Sydney, it totally fits the purpose of this page. Not to mention, this is the AFL off-season. The Ashes doesn’t play EVERY weekend – you need something to do in your free time, RIGHT?!
So let’s get to it.
You get a group together (or just grab a partner – you COULD go by yourself but it’s so much more fun when you go with a possee) head to the website an book. You have to put down a deposit, but if you’re like me and don’t get any extras or any more paintballs, that’ll be your whole cost. You go to the field (BE ON FREAKIN’ TIME) and they’ll talk you through the rules and safety and prices. You get your overalls and your mask and stuff and head out onto the field. They’ll teach you to use the gun and divide you into teams randomly.
Then you play games. The length of the games vary and they have different ones for different sized groups, but you’ll play about 2 1/2 hours worth before heading back. You can buy extra paint and water while on the field and once you’re back, you head to the counter to return your tag (which keeps track of how much money you owe) and pay up. Now for the rating system…
Location – 3/5
It’s far. Like, really far. If you don’t drive, forget it. And there are flies. HEAPS OF FLIES. But it also sort of makes sense for a paintball field. You couldn’t exactly take up that prime real estate in the CBD now could you?
Staff – 4/5
The staff were really great. They helped us out when we needed and made sense – not like those people who have been paintballing for 20 years and forget that people are beginners. The girls at the counter were super sweet, too, and gave us gals these protective vests. Why don’t they get a 5/5? Because one of the guys threatened someone that he would put his foot in a very uncomfortable place (he was quoting Red Foreman from That 70’s Show) if he didn’t put his mask back down (lifting your mask, by the way, is grounds to get you removed from the game – apparently you can die this way (not really, but they made it seem that way)). I mean, I didn’t mind, neither did the people I was with, but it kinda changed the mood of the group and there were some young kids there. I’m not saying they haven’t heard swearing before… but we don’t need to shove it in their face, do we?
The Games – 4/5
Ahhhhhh. So much fun. And the best part, in my opinion. There were a few different scenarios that you get to act out and then you reverse roles and go again. They had some really fun ones. My main issues, and the people in my group echoed this, was that there were just too many people. You knew from the start that you couldn’t win if you were the attacking team because there were just too damn many people defending. Same if you were defending… you were almost decorative. You didn’t have to do much to win.
Ambiance – 1/5
There were flies (I know I mentioned this before, but they were really bad – it’s worth mentioning again). It was hotter than… something really hot. You and your friends got split onto different teams. People yelled at you. People tattle-taled on you (one particularly annoying white mask-wearing loner was the main culprit). There were fire ant EVERYWHERE – even in the places you needed to lie in order to avoid bullets. You could never lift your mask (which I KNOW is for safety reasons but MY GOD IT WAS HARD TO BREATHE – he is lying when they say it’s the same with the mask on and off). Not to mention, when I got home and took out my ponytail, a spider fell out. A pretty sizeable one. Plus, you were forced to buy bullets, essentially. If you ran out of bullets before the end of the games and didn’t want to buy more, you just had to stand and watch – they wouldn’t let you back in.
But the main issue I had with this place? The water.
Saturday had to be about… 27 degrees? Maybe hotter? Now, when you play paintball you have to wear massive overalls that cover your entire body, plus a mask. Gloves and a bandana are optional, but running around with a heavy gun and dodging bullets while yelling strategy at your teammates? NOT OPTIONAL. And yet, despite the situation and the heat, we were only given water once, even when people were asking repeatedly. I’m sure I don’t need to explain how dangerous refusing people water can be. On top of being refused water for the majority of the game (which lasted nearly 3 hours), the one time we took a water break, we had to pay for water. I know that this is a business, but again… dangerous. They even used tank water in the bathrooms so you couldn’t fill your water bottle up there. It’s like festivals that don’t have free water – YOU ARE ASKING FOR PEOPLE TO GET HEAT STROKE. I even threw up when I got home and my and the boyfriend each slept for 12 hours. Signs of heat stroke? Yea… probably. Seriously uncool.
Value for Money – 4/5… but variable
For me, it was great. I only went through about 200 bullets (I was sick, to be fair, so I spent most of my time “sniping”) and that, with the gear they gave me was $40. I did buy water, though, which came out to $6. The guys though, all bought more paintballs, which can start to add up – although the boyfriend bought more bullets and spent $70 total, which he was completely happy with (the tolls he had to pay to get there? NOT SO HAPPY ABOUT). Most of the guys liked having extra because they got to shoot like crazy. You know men… The bottom line though is that it depends on what kind of shooter you are. If you plan on attacking everyone a la Rambo? Get bullets. A lot of bullets. Then get more.
And for some reason they give girls chest guards as part of the deal, but they don’t give the guys a cup. As the guys pointed out after the games, it’s hard to get hit “there” because of the positions you’re normally in (crouched or laying down or in an all-out sprint) but still. How can basic safety gear not be included?
Fun-ness (that’s a word – I said so) – 4/5
Honestly? There are only two things that made it a four instead of a five. The first: I was sick and had no idea what to expect. I had no idea that when I went to play a game I was going to be out for nearly 3 hours. The second: the water. I am LIVID about the water situation. Sort that out? And you got yourself a solid time. Quick. Grab the friends. Just make sure you’ve had enough sleep. We had a few non-sleepers with us and they suffered. Big time.
Total Score: 20/30
Just think of how awesome it would have been if they would have given you water?!
1) Be on time. We ended up in a big group which, like I mentioned, put a damper on some of the games because you just couldn’t get through. I blame that one on us, though, because we were about 15 minutes late. I’m pretty sure they divide up the people who pay deposits to make sure there’s an even amount and we missed being in a smaller group.
2) Go with a friend and share paint. It’s cheaper for one person to buy 400 extra bullets and give you 200, than for you each to buy 200 additional.
3) CHARGE. Honestly – it doesn’t hurt THAT much (unless you get hit somewhere horrible like the collarbone or the neck) and you’ll regret hiding in the back. Well, maybe. I don’t know you.
4) Talk to your team. I wish my team had plotted. Lots of people did their own thing and maybe we could have won if we would have known what they were up to and could have helped. Maybe…
Interested in playing? Go HERE and check it out!