A few summers ago a group of us decided to try our hand at paintball! There is a fairly large park nearby and they had a Groupon special for 8 people complete with rental guns. That was good since we had nothing and neither did our kids or friends. I had always thought paintball looked fun and had just never gotten around to trying it.
So anyway off we go, myself, wife, both of my boys, oldest son’s girlfriend 2 brother in laws and a sister in law. To start we get there and have to sit thru a ‘safety meeting’ where they tell us all the rules. A big one they say is no shooting people in the head or face. Or at least I am pretty sure that is what he is saying because I swear the kid they had talking to us was high. He was slurring his words, forgetting what to say and seemed uninterested in being there. Whatever dude. We also had a sheet that listed everything he was supposed to say so we got the gist of it regardless. Now, off to get our rental stuff!
They had a pretty big area for rental stuff but the guys handing it out were pretty rude. They just looked at you for a second and then shoved a gun, helmet and goggles at you and yelled ‘next’! OK, WTF do I do with these? Goggles were way to small for my fat head and no amount of adjusting them was going to get them to fit. Same for the helmet. So I went back and tried to tell them that and got nasty looks and finally new stuff that fit. Two other members of our group had the same issues. This is going GREAT so far.
So now we are in the staging area where we are all trying to make sure again our equipment fits and the guns work. We see all these weekend warriors there with their high priced fancy equipment, body armor, huge backpack things of CO2 or air or extra ammo and so on. They look like they are having fun, so perhaps we will too! They had a test range there where we all tried our guns. Out of the 8 of us, 4 had guns that did not work. So we looked around for someone there to ask and after about 20 minutes finally found someone. “You’re out of air”, he says and points us to a station to fill it up. Nice job, assholes, give us guns that don’t work. So we fill the guns, they actually now shoot, so off we go to try our hand at paintball!
Well just our luck this place had a large amount of private groups that day taking up a few of the fields, so open play was limited to just 2 of their areas. I noticed that there were no ‘beginners’ fields or anything so right away figured we wouldn’t last too long. NooB and weekend warriors alike in the same area? Yeah, I’m gonna get shot pretty fast. So they shove 50 of us on this one field, 25 on each end. There were buildings and things to hide behind, a few burnt out cars and so on. We get ready and the refs again tell everyone to not shoot for the head and face area and if you are shot to raise your arm and walk to the nearest edge where you are required to then walk along the fence to the exit. The whistle blows and we begin! Not 10 seconds into this I get his in the neck with a paintball from someone on the other side of the field. That HURT! I can’t even see the bastard who got me and had yet to pull my trigger. Oh well, pocket that knowledge for next round. I raise my hand and start walking. On my way to the fence I am hit 3 more times. I look at the ref as I pass him on the way out and yell about it at him and all I get was “move faster”. Well fuck you too, buddy. Maybe 1 minute later all 8 of us are outside having been shot, 4 of us in the head area. Not a great percentage when it is supposed to be off limits. So we wipe off and get ready for next round.
This round I start off behind a building. I am going to last longer than 10 seconds! I see a member of the other team in a building across from mine so I start to shoot at him. ‘Thump’ I hear my gun go, but the paintball itself didn’t go very far. I could SEE the ball just drop to the ground before it gets to this guy. Meanwhile I have incoming paint balls whizzing by my head faster that traffic on the Dan Ryan at midnight. OK, seems my guns is waaaaay under powered. I am aiming about 15 feet ABOVE where I want to shoot just to get the paint ball near my target. Now I have confirmation that our rental guns suck. While I am trying to arc my shot and nail this guy, I can hear my wife behind me shooting when her gun all of a sudden goes into machine gun mode and just starts shooting rapidly until all her ammo is gone in about 10 seconds. But even with the ammo gone the gun is still going off, just expelling air each time. She looks at me and I am clueless. She looks at the ref who looks at her like ‘what do you want me to do?’ In the mean time, we both end up hit, me in the back of the fucking neck. Now I am mad and as I raise my arm I turn to the ref and say “I thought that was against the fucking rules?” He just smiled at me and pointed to the fence. Asshole. Wonder if he has ever heard of fragging…
We try a third time and it is as bad if not worse. My oldest son lasts a few minutes but mostly because he is hiding and trying to pick off people as they move in on him. Nobody else lasted longer than a minute, with one brother in law having got hit in the mask and head 3 times in the last match. This sucks. We have all decided that we had enough. We didn’t have any armor, just a few layers of clothes, so we all have welts of various sizes on us and we are done. We still have paint balls left so off to the range we go to finish them up and then leave. This was NOT something for the unprepared or unskilled.
A week later we got an email asking us about our experience, so I told them pretty much everything above but kept it pretty nice. I did mention that I liked the facilities and perhaps if we knew what we were doing it would have been more fun, but with our low skill levels it just wasn’t fun for us. I also pointed out the faulty equipment that didn’t help. I am pissed that I don’t have it anymore but the manager of the place had the balls to email me back and in a nice way call me a pussy, suggesting that I try one of their other courses or something else altogether, and then insisted that his rental stuff was ‘up to standards’ and that any outside equipment was supposed to be limited to a certain amount of power. OK fucktard, now this goes on Yelp, Yahoo and every damn review site I can get. Way to insult potential new customers and misrepresent your equipment capabilities. Or the ability of your staff to monitor what people bring in. Either way, the rental guns you provided us were shit and could not compare to the personal stuff brought in by almost everyone else. Every person on your staff that we interacted with was either indifferent or rude and I still think the one guy was high. Small consolation, that place is now closed and no longer in business. Good riddance.