Monday, October 23, 2006

Stag - Part I

Saturday morning. 5.30am. I was sitting on the edge of the bed rubbing my eyes and yawning before ambling to the bathroom. It was pitch black outside. Raining. I dressed and made my way downstairs. I poured myself some cereal and turned the TV on. I chewed slowly on the food, even the crunch inside my mouth seemed to be too loud. I managed to get half way through the bowl before running out of time. I pulled my shoes on, grabbed the umbrella and made my way into the dusk. It's an interesting time of the day because there is little sound at least in an urban context and the orange glow of street lights adds a surrealistic aura to the surroundings.

I met Colin and we made our way to Central Station. There was little activity inside although it was positively buzzing compared to our journey with everyone shuffling about or sitting waiting for the boarding of the train. Everyone arrived and after introductions and purchases for the train we were away. I read a hilarious article about Deal Or No Deal inbetween laying my head back to close my eyes in a vain attempt to catch 40 winks before reaching our destination. By Newry the sun had peaked over the horizon and the passing fields outside were covered in early morning mist and even the cows looked like they'd rather be somewhere else - I've always wondered if they're happy spending their whole lives in an acre of grass surrounded by hedges or if they dream about breaking out. I suppose if they did they would eat their way through the hedges and make good their escape. Ergo they're happy or just plain unintelligent enough to concieve such a notion.

We arrived in Dublin a few minutes ahead of schedule and after finding our bus stop we realised that we would never reach our destination in time and so we legged it back to the train station and hopped into two taxis. Interesting to note that both vehicles set off from the same point but one charged 12 Euros and the other 17. The difference is perhaps that I queried how much the journey cost. He estimated 15-20 and it came to 12. The other just charged 15-20. A lesson if you're ever in Dublin.

Our first activity of the day was paintball and we were led to a cabin where we were instructed on the rules of the game. Mainly no shooting within 20 feet of your opponent and no head shots. After kitting up and donning our masks we were led to the combat field and handed our weapons with 200 shots already loaded. We were separated into two groups and led off to opposite corners where our bases were. The aim of the game was capture the flag. After a few tense moments the whistle was blown and the hunt was on. I remained in the base in clear sight of the flag until most of the team spread out around the course. As fellow comrades were shot I ran down the embankment into the foray and hid behind a few barrels. Peaking around the corner I could see movement up ahead and fired off a few shots. I made a dash for the a couple of tractor tyres stacked on top each other but was struck in the face. Luckily it didn't count and I circumnavigated my around the perimeter. I spent the rest of the round peeking out of the top of my defence but did not manage to hit anyone but I didn't get hit again either so it wasn't too bad.

The next round the bases were reversed and I made it out behind a few tyres but my glasses and visor steamed up and I couldn't see anything so I spent the time peaking out at an odd angle allowing me a meager 10 degree clear vision and although I fired at a few movements I wasn't anywhere close to hitting anyone.

The third game had our team holed up in a base and it was our opponents job to circle and shoot all of us. Brian and I crouched down behind a barrel and tractor tyre and targeted anyone coming around the side. Unfortunately this meant taking focus from the front and after sticking my head above the barrel I took a direct hit to the forehead and left ear which stung like a bitch. I managed to hold out another few minutes but due to our dwindling defence I was exposed at the rear and took about 5 shots to the back which really hurt. Game over man, game over.

Now with the roles reversed, I relished in bombarding the other teams base with short bursts of fire. As we had just come from there, we knew where the hiding places were and focused our ammunition on key areas and I believe made shorter work on the other team than they did on their turn.

With the games over we were told to line up and those whose stag party it was were picked out and instructed to run across from one point to another while everyone else shot at them. Unfortunately Keith only made one dash before being struck in a sensitive area counting him out for the remainder of the bombardment.

After returning to the cabin, we were in high spirits and recounted our own tales and showed off any injuries we had picked up. Our hair was covered in flecks of paint. Keith suffered a fair few welts to his side and back while Colin collected a swell on his upper temple. I was lucky that my strike to the forehead didn't produce anything more than a temporary red glow.

Next up was Karting. More on that tomorrow with more following throughout the week. Trust you all had a great weekend.


Anonymous Skry said...

That was a really good weekend. Can't say that I enjoyed getting shot in the nuts or the multitudinous injuries I suffered at the end of the paintballing (I still have several nasty welts on my back!) but it was great fun to do that and the karting.

Also I think if I ever own a cat I'll have to call it Smitty :P

10:42 pm  

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