My brother is in the army. Which I tell you for two reasons:
The first being. Don’t mess with me. Unless of course you want a Liam Neeson situation on your hands. Jk. He doesn’t even read this blog (savage).
My brother that is, not Liam Neeson. Mr The Grey is a huge fan of my work.
The second reason, and the one more pertinent to this post, is that my Bro Town Jack liked paintball as a kid.
Rambo No. 5
There were a run of years in the early Noughties where it felt like every September (the month of Jack’s birth, in the year of our Lord, 1992) I was having my ass handed to me in paintball.
I remember when I was about 13 we went full Rambo in a jungle (read: there were a couple trees), and it was a blood bath. Well, in that I got hit in the knuckle and it bled blood.
That was also that year I yelled at Jack for hitting me twice in the leg, because semi-automatic. But Luck is a Lady, and she knows the ovaries before brovaries code, and late in the game Jack was hit by friendly-fire.
It was the only time he was shot all game, and it was by his own team.
I was over-joyed.
We also tried some indoor arenas/old factory situations with inflatable obstacles. But the result was always the same: a surly Kate covered in welts.
So as you can imagine, I was pretty much the ideal birthday guest. Super positive, super good energy.
Do you remember, September
It seems entirely fitting then that just days after Jack’s birthday this month, I hit up paintball with a bunch of our Youth from church.
I was not going to go gentle into this good night.
I was going to take back paintball.
I was going to be brave.
And maybe blue.
And basically Mel Gibson William Wallace.
More importantly. I was going to not suck!
The Comeback Kid
As prep, I did what anyone would do.
I watched Olan Rodger’s video, The Comeback Kid.
Which, side-bar, is honestly so funny.
Olan is a storytelling genius with a name that has my autocorrect F-R-E-A-K-I-N-G out. His animated series Final Space on Netflix is LEGIT, and Ghost in the Stalls is still one of my favourite things to ever grace YouTube.
Second side-bar: I just rewatched Ghost in the Stalls for … research, and then remembered how much I love Echoes Through the Wall. So funny. So great. So off topic.
Side-bar: Back to Paintball
I watched The Comeback Kid, because:
A. Paintball references.
And B. Comeback references.
It had everything.
So off I went – with my Katniss Everdeen French braids, because that will help – to take back paintball, and to have a good time. Instead of a bad time. Like every other time.
Kate Rates: Paintball
We went to a fitted out old warehouse to play, which was a little bit murdery, but mainly awesome and full of go-karts.
It was helmets only, not the traditional overalls ensemble, which I felt was maximum bad ass.
And it was so fun.
I took the offensive approach (as in, not hiding, I didn’t shout racist stuff), shot vaguely in the direction of people, actually hit someone (which surprised even me), and when I did get shot I took it like a champ. Because child birth.
I ended up with a sizey welt on my leg, a red mark on my arm, a bit of a bruised hand, and a paintball shaped circle on my forehead where a punk kid got me with a headshot.
Through my helmet.
Which is frankly impressive.
It was awesome.
My only regret was not having more bullets. 100 paintballs in 20 minutes goes a lot faster than you’d think.
9/10, would recommend.
Have we got any other Olan (just autocorrected to Zola – how is that more plausible?!) fans in the house?
What brother birthday parties have you endured?
See you next week!
Ps. I start Improv classes on Tuesday. Dies.