I miss a lot of things since I stopped playing. Certain moments you will always remember but can only share with a select few because if you try to tell anyone else, they just look at you like you have three heads. Why would you commit your entire life to a stupid game and spend hours every night talking about one 3 minute game that may have happened three years ago. They will never understand because they have never lived the life. They can see it on television but will never know what those guys feel like before a game or why they get so angry after they lose. After all, its just a silly kids game with some balls filled with bright colors and a toy gun you can buy at Wal Mart. It has a way of producing experiences and a long string of moments that, for some reason, you will never forget, even if you move on to other things. It creates such vivid rushes of adrenalin and fun, beacause you know the right then, that momnet was what you LIVED for. Every ounce of pride, skill, and teamwork built up from a whole career is poured into one weekend, one day, one game, one flag hang, one trigger pull.
It happens on a random Monday. Coming back from an event or late on a Sunday night, right before you get on the plane and your about to be frisked for the third time. You're driving, you're flying, you're sitting in an airport seat with boys from the team. Your drinking stale coffee trying to stay awake. Your explaining a fat welt on the side of your neck to a confused stranger or a best friend.....or running through the sidewalk at LAX, trying to catch a plane. Your coming back to the other life..The one without paintball. Where no one understands why you do it. You're tired. You're working off little sleep and a question creeps up, but all you can do is try to ignore it. Why do I do this? Why the travel? Why the losses? The missed worked, the missed school, the hours of practice and the complaining girlfriend?
Because the lure of living the paintball life is just too potent. The products of the road, the travel, the friends are memories forever of trips, passion, and strange lands with stranger people. At tournaments it feels like for once you get to live as loud as you want. Its worth the sacrifices....its worth all the bullshit. Because you know if you work hard enough, a Sunday will roll around and you'll be in the huddle screaming, your hand in, one among ten, playing for the world title. Suddenly all those cliches you've ever heard make sense, and you are defined. You say it to yourself and it means everything, I am a paintball player and this moment, right here, is my life...
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