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Monday, April 3, 2006

Thundering A5s

By Austin "Juno" Flaherty

originally published in the April 2006 issue of Action Pursuit Games

I crouched quietly behind a series of fallen trees, watching patiently as the enemy players moved into positions at the bottom of the hill. I gripped my Tippmann A5 tightly and looked across to see my teammates in similar positions. We knew the woods like the back of our hand; every bunker was mapped out and all the angles were covered. We were in the position to strike.

We stood up and began to fire. Paintballs came down on the enemy like torrential rain. The sounds of our A5s were like the thunder of the storm. Markers and hands rose up out of bunkers and players walked off the field. At the end, we were left standing and no opposition remained. The "Tippinators" were victorious.

That is a typical day of woodsball for my team. Exaggerated stories aside, we're just normal recballers. We are part of the rising A5 community at our field, which is rapidly growing. Flatlines, stocks, cosmetic kits are all pieces of gear we carry with us every week and our markers are constantly evolving.

At our first speedball tournament (described in nearby story), we were hoping to be able to wait a few rounds to watch and get some ideas as to what we would do. That was not the case. We were approached and told that we were on double deck (in the second match). We picked up our markers and gear and headed down to the chrono station. We were quickly set and waited. I was a little nervous.

I knew the concept behind the game, I understood I was going to step out behind a series of inflated bunkers and would be shooting at players just like in woodsball.

We entered the field and were instructed by the great referees from Team Primal. The walk from the chrono to the far dead box was interesting. My mind went into a sort of overdrive. The adrenaline wasn't there yet but I hoped that as soon as we started it would make its appearance so I would be able to play.

We were now at the dead box. "One foot touching, square up." I thought to myself. I stared up to the sky and took a deep breath. The countdown started and then the whistle blew. We spun and fired, heading for our first series of bunkers. Bruce went left, Scott went right and I went to the middle. Everything seemed to move slower than normal, which I suspect was the adrenaline finally catching up to me.

I stood at a "Dorito" shaped bunker yelling out positions and firing. I glanced over to both Bruce and Scott. They were doing the same. I do not remember anything other than shouting and shooting. We took two of their players with us, but all three of us ended up behind the dead box.

As their final player came down to hang the flag, we cheered him on and congratulated them on a good match. This continued all day. We won a round against '902' (the team that came in first overall) and we were shown the same sportsmanship. In fact, all the players that day showed us great sportsmanship and respect.

The referees were great with us all day considering it was our first tournament, and we cannot have enough good things to say about them. We came away from the day in last place, having learned a lot about speedball but also showing that we were not just a push over. We did not sit down for anyone; everyone got the same fight with us.

Coming up with the maximum of 100 points per game was not the important factor; it was showing that we were able to compete as well as anyone else.

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