Discover SYR: Paintball at Action Sports Park

By Lauren Tousignant

When we first walked into Action Sports Park, my friend and I almost walked right back out. The large, white warehouse building next to Quaker Steak & Lube restaurant appeared straight out of a horror movie, one where college students get abducted and dismembered. Inside, it wasn’t much better: dirty cement floors, an overwhelming stench of paint fumes, and general sketchiness.

We were greeted by a friendly 20-something-year-old guy. We signed a waiver making any dismemberment legal, and he escorted us to a netted room where Jessie, the 18-year-old senior who’s worked at the park for four years, gave us a bag of paintballs and showed us how to operate our guns. Girls play free on Thursday nights, so the 8-to-3 boy-girl ratio wasn’t all that unexpected. The group of 18 and 19-year-olds—clearly regulars—let us join their game despite our inexperience. They were a bunch of shitheads and gave us a fair dose of taunting, but they were more entertaining than playing ourselves.

I almost pissed my pants as we began the first game. My fear of those little round monsters led me to hide behind one of the huge, inflatable bunkers. When I finally built up the courage to sprint from one bunker to the other, I got hit square in the thigh.

Paintballs can travel up to 200 miles-per-hour, and splatter white paint once broken. Those little buggers hurt like hell once they hit, sending a sharp, painful shiver through my whole body. However, the pain passed quickly and the welts and bruises that formed afterwards upped my bad-ass status.

We played five games in one hour; I got hit seven times and fell twice. My friend and I ended it with a one-on-one battle, where she succeeded in shooting me in the collarbone, giving me the nastiest hickey-esque bruise ever.

I didn’t think that crouching behind large, red bunkers and sliding across a mushy, paint-slicked floor in order to avoid small, gun-propelled balls from hitting me in the ass would be the perfect beginning to my Thursday night. But the only thing that could have made the experience better would have been a bottle of Jack Daniels. I guess I will have to save that for next time.