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Wednesday, March 1, 2006

What Ever You Do, Don't Do This!

Humble Confessions of Players who have Learned - "What not to do in Paintball"

By Paul Knoch, Bruce "Charon" Johnston, and Jordan F. Ricks

originally published in the March 2006 issue of Paintball Sports Magazine

Everyone's history is stained with momentary episodes of intellectual challenge (a.k.a. stupidity); albeit, some tend to experience more frequent, and more pronounced degrees of ineptitude than others, but as humans, we're all prone to imperfection. However, some of us push the accepted norm of "imperfection" to new frontiers of sheer idiocy, and as a species, we continue to find ways to "go where no man has gone before", or would want to go again.

Like it or not, we've all had our moments that would give Darwin cause to reconsider the direction of man's evolution (or the decline of the ape). In fact, as a society, we provide enough harebrained acts to fuel weekly television shows and a constant flow of fresh material for the Internet.

Naturally, we want to cover up our temporary lapses of sanity, knowing that friends will say, "Dude! What were you thinking?" The inevitable, "Man, do you remember the time that you…." will linger for years, and there will always be one person in the group who hasn't heard the story yet (or wants to hear it again), so reliving a moment that you would rather forget becomes an accepted way of life. Of course, each time the story is told, it grows more elaborate and more embarrassing. To some extent, we all know what this is like.

The problem with keeping these embarrassing incidents secret is that others will not learn from our mistakes. Sometimes I wonder if the whole meaning of my life may solely be to serve as a warning to others. It's a depressing thought, but it may be accurate. Think about how many times you've heard a parent tell his/her child, "I just don't want you to make the same mistake!"

Over the years I have done some pretty embarrassing things on the paintball field and at home with my equipment, so in hopes that some can benefit from my careless miscues and random brain farts, I've decided to "come clean" for the betterment of my fellow paintballers. Hopefully my admissions will save others from embarrassment, pain, stitches, medical bills, explanations to the police, or visits from the fire department.

So with that being said, here are the admissions of some brave paintballers - who want to help you to avoid making the same mistakes. After all, no player should have to begin conversations with his peers by stating, "You are never going to believe this, but..."

When you get your new remote line with a slide check, make sure that the line is closed before you gas it up. If the slide check is open, the end of the line will start whipping around like an epileptic anaconda that has eaten a bag of chocolate-coated coffee beans. The metal end of the line really hurts when it hits you between the eyes (I assume). If you are lucky, you will regain consciousness in time to shut the tank down before the thrashing line of liquid CO2 freeze dries half of your room - and your family pet.

If you get dirt or leaves in your barrel, don't use your finger to clean it out. You might accidentally fire the marker and hurt yourself. When this happened to me, fortunately I was wearing Kevlar tactical gloves but I still thought I had blown off my finger. If you need to clean out a barrel quick, turn your gun upside down and fire off five or six quick shots. Later, when you have more time, remove your barrel and carefully squeegee it clean. Also, never look down your barrel to see if it's clean unless you have removed it from your marker. (It seems so simple…)

When you are walking off the field, before you put on your barrel blocking device, make sure your marker is always pointed in a safe direction. According to my field research, a paintball leaving the barrel of a marker traveling at 290 feet per second, at a distance of 7-inches, will retain enough kinetic energy to break three toes on your right foot.

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