Last Friday I and a number of teachers led the Christian youth group from our school, FUSION, to an after school session of “paintball”. Paintball is that military style game where you have guns that fire paint bullets (actually a hardened talcum powder) and you essentially run around and shoot each other.
After a 45 minute bus ride we rocked up to the paintball camp which is in a rural area of Hong Kong. As we traveled I thought about how, after all my years in the territory, I am constantly amazed to find little hidden areas of Hong Kong I didn’t know existed. At the top of a hill we entered the facility that, at first glace, looked like one of these camps in America where scary militia guys train to fight imaginary enemies. Makeshift firing ranges, guns on racks, military paraphernalia littered the area. These city kids weren’t going to know what hit them…
Our first scenario was in a maze of concrete walls and bunkers in the middle of a field. My first “kill” was a 14 year old girl. (Yeah, not exactly my proudest moment) She came out from behind a wall and I fired, hitting her in the leg. I had been told that although the “bullets” were not dangerous, they still hurt and I could tell from her reaction, getting shot was painful.
I turned a corner and confronted a friend of mine who is one of the principals at the school. We both fired…my gun jammed…his didn’t. I felt this pain hit my leg and I knew I was “dead”. I put my rifle over my head to declare my status and walked out of the scenario. Man, though, my leg hurt. As I write this two days later I have a fair sized bruise at the top of my leg.
That was the ONLY time in the evening I was “killed”. We had subsequent scenarios in a “street” setting with cars and other hiding places to find cover in. The sun went down and a single flood light gave enough ambient light to continue.
Oh yeah…suddenly all those years watching Arnold, Bruce, and Stallone 80’s action movies was paying off. Many a surprised student (and a teacher or two) were added to my ‘body count” that day!
We went on to a “capture the flag” tournament which was a lot of fun and then it was time to go home. But the kids were already talking about the next time they would get to come out and, if they were lucky, possibly shoot a teacher or two.
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