The day dawned with a cool promise. Like many spring days in Texas, the promise was that the cool morning would not last long. Still, it was the kind of day when one might contemplate a long bike ride or a picnic in a park overlooking a lake or river. Those things were not in the cards for one hero, Ryan. He and his clan had things to accomplish on this April morning. Leisurely bicycle rides, lemonade and picnic blankets would need to wait. This was a day for battle.
Yes! There were scores to be settled and coup to be counted. Some would rise and some would fall, but battle would be joined on this day. The battleground was chosen. The champions had been picked, and weapons were ready. Ryan and his clan knew their mission and were prepared to triumph or fall, whatever the gods of battle willed.
The conflict would be joined on neutral ground in Dripping Springs, Texas. It was far enough from the families of the combatants to ensure neutrality but close enough to reach easily. The opposing forces gathered shortly after 10:00 to make final preparations. Weapons were checked and rechecked. Armor was donned depending on the preference of the individual warrior, though some armor was mandatory.
As with duels of old, there were rules to the impending battle. It was to meet certain standards and conform to certain guidelines. This was not a battle to be fought in chaos. Otherwise, it was little more than a riot and no honor could be won. Neutral forces would carefully monitor the battle to assure the rules of war were maintained. By 10:30 the opposing forces were in position and the battle was joined!
Okay! It wasn’t a real battle. Warriors would fall, but only temporarily. They would rise to fight again. Indeed, it was a paintball battle for Ryan’s twelfth birthday party. Still, there were many elements of real battles and real challenges. The opposing forces were all friends, parents or grandparents, but the tension was real. As with any preparation for confrontation, there were nervous laughs and false bravado.
The folks who ran the paintball range were serious in their briefings and clear about the consequences of not following the rules. Paintball guns are not lethal if used properly. That does not mean those hard little balls of paint don’t hurt. Many participants had welts, bruises and other sundry injuries to show at the end of the day and the following week. It is certain more than one preteen girlfriend’s heart fluttered when her hero showed his battle scars.
OneOldCop can attest to some of the pain endured by those who were well past their preteen years. However, it was not the welts from paintball hits or dives for cover that made this aging warrior limp. Unless one has been there, it is hard to imagine the pain one can feel from squatting, duck-walking and running crouched over when one does not perform those feats regularly. OneOldCop’s glutes have not hurt so much since basic training.
Folks who are opposed to having kids play violent games such as tag, dodge-ball and cops-and-robbers will undoubtedly flinch if they read this. How could parents and grandparents let their preteens participate in such a barbaric activity? Groups of children, and some adults battling each other with guns just for the fun of it! What justification is there for such a base endeavor?
First, it was great fun for all involved! Ryan was grinning from ear to ear after the four battles fought by various configurations of the participants. One of his friends told him this was the greatest birthday party ever. That made him happy, but he was even happier about taking out OneOldCop in the last game by a well-placed sniper shot.
How many kids get to shoot their grandpa in battle, and get a hug from grandpa for a job well done?
© OneOldCop 2013