Paintball is a team shooting sport in “which players eliminate opponents from play by hitting them with spherical dye-filled gelatin capsules called paintballs that break upon impact”. You are learning how to kill people through a supposedly exciting team-sport with bullets that spray cute colours on the victim. Does killing with kindness come to mind yet?

Only three categories of people play paintball; intern armed robbers/assassins, peacekeepers, and prospective serial murderers. As a peacekeeping citizen, I went paintballing earlier this year and here are five things I learned:

1. You are going to die

If you are not on my team, you will die. I will shoot you so much you’ll get out of character and beg me to stop. I will strike you hard that your teammates will have two options, to either come out to rescue you and fall into an ambush or sacrifice you, so the whole team doesn’t go down with you. Remarkably, if you are going to a paintball, the chances of you getting hit by a stray bullet have astronomically increased. Either you get shot by me, by your teammate who is trying to escape an ambush, or by my teammates. But there is only one certainty; you will die.

2. Pain does not become your friend

If I am unable to breathe correctly for ten seconds, I run to WhatsApp and post a shot of Dr Strange telling Dormamu ‘pain is an old friend’. But when a paintball bullet hit me, I forgot for about 76 seconds, how to feel anything. My arm went limp, and my gun dropped. Theatrically, gravity failed me, and my body followed. I was moving between two defence points when the bullet hit me. At that moment, I understood why the girl I emptied a magazine on kept on screaming after every shot hit her. You do not get used to this pain; you become helpless in the face of it. Avoid this pain by staying unborn.

3. Get a hit or die trying

Paintball hits you with hard lemons, and unless you are privileged to own a blender, you might be unable to make lemonades. Once the game starts, your priority should not be to avoid getting hit; it should be to ensure that you out-hit your opponent. I played for almost an hour and received only one direct shot. Why? Because my team outgunned (and killed) everyone on the other team. Also, because I was the General, giving instructions and watching the flanks right from the control room (there is no control room). I let my teammates go first; they draw the opponents out, then I kill them. Sometimes my teammates get hit, but we out-hit them. Yaay. 

4. Plan like your life depends on it; because it does

When we started putting on our gears, the other team (which outnumbered us) were excited. I could swear that most of them would be trigger-happy Policemen with the way they just wanted to start the game so they could maul us. I have been to several wars (Call Of Duty COUNTS!!!), and I know only smart people win battles. I strategised with my team, and we had a simple plan; send panic to the other team and kill them like chickens. A team of sheep led by a lion is better than a team of lions led by a sheep. We were crafty, smarter, and used all our advantages. When the lady in my team dropped out, we set up her helmet to make it seem like she was crouching behind a barrel. It was a perfect distraction. 

5. You Only Live Once

The first time I played paintball was the best paintball performance I had. Asides my team having a strategy, we also understood that it was acceptable to make mistakes, as long as you do not stay too long on the floor; that’s when trigger fingers bang your skin with pebbles. The first few bullets I shot went out with the wind like my virginity vows. They splayed around the arena like a herd of antelope avoiding a predator. By the time I figured out how to hit people on the neck and arm, my teammates were also in good shape. This has nothing to do with YOLO beyond the fact that if you do not know how to shoot correctly in paintball, bullets will badly hit you that you will not have the courage to go a second round. And the truth is, your team can win without you.

So there you have it; how to build your resume for a position with an Assassination firm. You are welcome.

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