Paintball!

This weekend I went North to an annual ‘Boys Weekend’. A bunch if guys (too old to refer to themselves as boys) get up to whatever guys do at a cottage when freed from family and work obligations.
Now, the cardinal rule of this tradition is “what happens on boys weekend stays on boy’s weekend”, so details will be sparse and obscured, but I wanted to discuss the only fitness/outdoor activity of the weekend: paintball!

Faces have been obscured to protect the identity of the… well, I can’t say innocent…

I’ve played paintball a few times before, but most of the time the day goes as follows:

  • Show up at the facility, rent used equipment.
  • Then, get your group of novices mixed in with weekend warriors who are there weekly, know the terrain and have superior skill and equipment.
  • Get overshadowed or simply slaughtered by these same warriors

On this weekend, I was looking forward to playing on a more level playing field. Some guys had used the experience of previous years (I’ve missed a couple of years due to the births of my kids) to get motivated to buy better equipment and get educated about the mechanics of the guns (which are officially known as ‘markers’ and that’s how I’ll be referring to them from here on in). So maybe the playing field wasn’t perfectly level… For my part, I bought a simple starter kit at Canadian Tire, but ended up shelling out a little more for extra ammunition and a light camouflage jacket.

I’m not a big risk-taker, so in prior games, my desire to put myself in a situation where I could get a drop on an opponent leads to a lot of hesitation; being over-cautious means missing out on the action. This time, I vowed to be more aggressive, and I think I can report mild success on that front, though I don’t think it netted any kills.

We played a few rounds, switching up teams and objectives. It’s notable that each round, someone would have to eliminate themselves due to equipment malfunction and we would burn a lot of time between rounds cleaning the internals of the markers or checking the carbon dioxide tanks that act as the propellant. It’s hard to maintain momentum and/or a calorie burn.

A funny thing happened during a game of ‘Capture the Can of Beer’: my marker malfunctioned, and the usual ‘pull the pin back and forth’ didn’t clear anything up, so I was left with nothing to lose. I simply decided to make a run for the can (heh… can) and see what would happen. I made it! Turns out, the marker
can be a hindrance to my enjoyment of the game. You catch a first person view of that round below; I mounted my camera to the marker – yes, I am a geek. Warning: I do use a bit of bad language right as I decide that the marker is not fixable during the game and decide to go for it.

In fact, I am such a geek that I also wore a heart rate monitor while playing. I knew I would wind up huffing and puffing and wanted to know how much of that was due to the emotional excitement or the actual exertion. A snippet of the data (representing the round shown in the video) is below.

Occasionally pushing 90% of max HR

So, looking at the rest of the data, you could conceivably burn 600-615 calories an hour doing paintball, though that’s probably being generous.  Maybe not the greatest for a fitness activity, but it’s better than most male bonding activities (like golf or poker), and it’s what I’d rather do.  Have you ever played?

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