From deep in the woods on a misty day I heard the high pitched giggling of my boy followed by an obnoxiously loud “crap, crap, crap, damn that hurt” as my son surrendered… coming through the trees… gun over his head… smile glowing brightly through his fogged up face mask.
He’d been hit.
The welt on his back his badge of honor… the smile on his face… mine.
We took two carloads of eleven and twelve year olds to Mersey Road Paintball in East River for my son’s belated birthday celebration. He’d wanted to play… and had no problem waiting until three weeks after his actual birthday for his turn on the field and a much anticipated celebration.
We arrived mid-morning. Me driving the carload of girls in various layers of old worn out clothing and much trepidation. The question of “will it hurt” second on their minds to the thrill of a new adventure.
Howard, Jim and Colleen greeted us and went through the rules, then loaded the guns with paint and headed onto the course for the games to begin.
At first they were laid back… getting the lay of the land… the feel of the paint gun in their hands. By game two… it was on!
I saw ducking and running and rolling through barracks, under bushes, around a car, a helicopter, an old jeep… slinking through the woods to find a hiding place behind a pile of old tires, a rock or a wood structure… to then openly run… dodging paint balls and laughing gloriously through the misty air.
The smiles on the faces a testament to the wonderful time they were having… friendships binding tighter with each and every giggle, bruise and scream!
The crowd at Mersey were FABULOUS! Jim and Colleen ref’d a team each while Howard stayed back holding down the “Rat Hole”. As refs… they encouraged the kids to be a little braver, go a little closer, run a little faster… and they laughed repeatedly at the screams (and shockingly enough the odd curse word) that echoed through the forced quiet.
We headed out laughing… the day a success. Stopping for pizza I listened to their stories as they proudly showed their wounds… the way they saw things.
How they retold the adventure… so much better than watching it with my own eyes!