My husband shot me in the head; I have the bruise to prove it.
I should probably mention that he shot me with a paintball marker, not a real gun. It stung — a little more on the emotional side than the physical — but I bounced back and decided that he would be the canvas for my masterpiece. I didn't have the chance to paint him up during Allstar Paintball's grand opening event last month, but I have him in my sights for next time.
As one of the few indoor paintball fields in the country, and in its convenient downtown location, Allstar is primed to be the place for local paintballers. With a smaller area of play (98 feet by 150 feet), Allstar specializes in speedball, which is a fast-paced style wherein you shoot as quickly as possible to get your opponent out first.
For those used to the style of play offered at outdoor places like Dragonman's (the only other paintball place in town), indoor speedball may be a game-changer. Instead of the tactical planning, hiding and sneaking around of scenario play, it's balls-to-the-wall shoot-and-try-not-to-get-shot. More rounds are fired, and AstroTurf makes it easy to knee-slide to get down as quickly as possible when moving from bunker to bunker.
(Though it may sound intimidating, it's actually a great start for beginners, since speedball pretty much forces you to participate and improve.)
So the games are quick and fun — exactly the opposite of David Copeland's first attempted opening of Allstar, last year.
"I thought I was being arrested," says the 25-year-old native, remembering how the police, fire officials and a city official came in to shut him down.
As it turns out, there was a miscommunication with zoning; the building, vacant for 10 years, still needed some work. So Copeland got the building up to standard, and after only a month of business, he's already talking about expanding beyond friendly-family games, to regional tournament action.
Speedball has been the standard for tournament play since the 1990s. And indoor facilities offer one big advantage: You can control the terrain features, making it easier to level the playing field for competitors. If both teams get the same number of inflatable bunkers, for instance, you know they're getting equal coverage.
"What we're trying to do here is something on the next level of paintball — change it up and rewrite the books," says Copeland. "Having an indoor field allows us to kind of customize [our tournaments]." He plans to structure his more like other sports do, making them span several days rather than the usual one, which may be easier on the competitors.
Though many people think of paintball as a madman's free-for-all, one longtime player describes it as "adrenaline chess." In order to win, you must strategize. Watch your opponent, stay one step ahead of him, and then tag him out before he even has a chance to think.