My legs ache. I don't think deciding that it was time to start swimming a few times a week to get back into shape just before heading out on a friends "Paintball" stag do was the best decision I have ever made.
But it was a decision that, quite stupidly, was made so here I sit because it is all I can really do today and tell you all the tale.
I shall start the tale with our dashing groom who decided that the best way to spend the daylight hours on a Saturday was to run around the woods shooting the hell out of anything that has a heartbeat to celebrate the upcoming nuptials with his beautiful Bride to be. I should also point out here he is full of life, fit as a fiddle and doesn't seem to ache after strenuous activity. The way none of us did in our mid twenties.
I was cordially invited along with half a dozen or so other mugs I mean friends to join in the fun and I genuinely thought "Yep, I have done that before and it's great fun so Hell yea I am in!"
What I failed to remind myself of is that the last time I partook in this sort of adventure would have been over eighteen years ago. When I was in my mid twenties. A minor point if I had had the sense to give it a fleeting thought but it may have planted a slow down seed for the day somewhere in my mind.
So the day arrived brisk but dry with wall to wall blue sky! We all arrived on time, apart from our groom who somehow managed to get lost on route to the venue even though he was the one who had booked it! We were soon donned with a set of comfy overalls that fit easily over all of our clothing. It was now I noticed that everyone else had also donned up in lots of extra layers.
"Have you all done this before?" I asked
"Yep, not getting caught out again" was the basis of all replies.
You see if you have ever been paintballing you know that it can smart more than a touch when you get shot and the best bet is to layer up increasing your padding whilst dropping
down on the sting effect of taking a hit.
This is a lesson that only needs to learnt once. The large round bruising itself from where each paintball has exploded on your skin is like a lesson to your youth that you are not as big and strong as you think you are when you are young.
Luckily for us today though it was pretty much on the cooler side of things then add to that the shade of the woods and us older folk had to give no reasons as to why we were wrapped up ready for a polar expedition.
So we were all stood in our camouflage overalls lined up ready to get issued masks and weapons when the organiser, who was stood at the front of all of the groups who decided that today was a good day to pay to suffer, asked "Who's the groom?"
With big grins we all with raised pointed fingers picked out Richard who was given a rather limited choice of onsie's that he would have to wear.
He chose a Superman one.
Hmm still seemed a bit manly that so thanks to some foresight by one of our group we soon had him donned in a more appropriate attire of Fairy's wand, wings, pink hat and a rather fetching sash that on the front said "Stud Muffin" and on more importantly on the rear said "Shoot Me"
How lovely he looked! A princess get up that any five year old girl would have been happy with.
So with our stag suitably attired along with a stag from another group dressed up as Duff man we all funneled through a small walkway with full face masks on to be issued with our weapons.
A quick tutorial on how not to shoot each other within the compound, I mean where's the sport in that? It's much fairer to pop us all into a slightly larger compound before we got around to that sort of behaviour. We stood all macho laughing at how easy it was going to be to see the stag in the woods and how we were going to obliterate our opposing teams! It was then we recalled we had been split up onto opposing teams but that would just add to the fun wouldn't it.
A short march onto our first site that would have us fighting for control of a bridge. We were instructed that we could not shoot each other at point blank range, "Thank God" I thought at that point as well as not to pummel each other with the butt ends of our rifles. Then off we were sent to our "bases" at each end of the fenced off area to wait for the shout to begin.
The wait was not a long one before the marshall hollered out "GAME ON" and we all started to run towards what was now the enemy....