I can now add Combat Photographer to my resume! Who would have ever thought? Certainly not me.
Technically, I'm not sure I meet all of the requirements for combat photographer but I came pretty close.
The Oldest Island Boy was invited to a paintball birthday party on Saturday and dads were invited too.
You know neither the Island King or the Oldest could pass that up.
None of the other kids invited resisted either.
So at noon they were gearing up and getting ready to shoot each other.
They got a safety and rules lecture from the ref
And onto the field they went.
The 9 boys decided to team up against the 3 dads and were confident they'd kick some serious old man butt.
A little while later they came back off the field and were not happy that they'd been beaten by 3 old dudes.
All the way to the party the Island King and the Oldest kept trying to talk me into playing.
And all of the way there I kept telling them that I'm a girl, paintball hurts and I would embarrass them both when one of the paintballs hit me and I started crying.
After they came back out the first time one of the refs walked up to me and asked if I'd like to go in and take pictures of them playing.
The Island King whirled around and said "You can NOT take my camera in there!"
Before my disappointment set in the ref said "I'll give her a ref shirt (no one is allowed to shoot at a ref) and I'll personally guard her and the camera."
What? I'm going to get to go in and watch and won't get shot because I have a body guard?
As I was walking off with my guard I heard the Island King muttering about the camera but at this point he's got no choice. I'm going in!
I got suited up and was a little worried about taking pictures through the mask but that didn't seem to be a problem.
And I wasn't worried a bit about me or the camera because I had my own personal body guard.
Do you see the size of this guy? All I have to do is step behind him and I've got complete coverage. And he's an amateur photography buff and appreciates the camera I'm taking in so has agreed to protect me.
Of course the Island King told him not to worry about me but to protect that camera.
Hero one day, rat the next.
Rat or not I was in and ready to document everything.
I had my moment of glory when we got to the field and my guard told the boys that if anyone shot me that he was going to stand him up against the fence and unload his weapon on them.
It was like being Queen for a moment LOL
But then the action started and my lack of combat photography training reared it's ugly face.
It was the boys against the dads again and all of the boys went behind the far bunker.
I guess my bodyguard didn't realize my lack of experience and we hid behind a bunker.
And then he took off running across the field.
Later I learned that I was supposed to follow him but seriously, his legs are twice as long as mine and he's physically fit - a department that I could be considered lacking in.
So I stayed hidden beind the bunker. I was watching the field but a huge part of the game is for the player to stay hidden as he advances.
I couldn't see anyone and then I heard a lot of gunfire.
Immediately the ref calls "Game!" and apparently it's over.
I saw NOTHING but shots were fired and the game is over.
Turns out the boys all stayed hidden behind their bunker so the dads advanced on them and then came around all sides of the bunker at once and slaughter all of the boys instantly.
So the ref gave the boys some pointers. Advance, split up and try and spot the dads as they moved across the field.
They start the next game and after being beaten two times in a row they followed the ref's advice and started moving forward.
I started moving around a little more but had completely stopped trying to follow my guard. He's running and squatting behind barrels and then running again and there was no way I was going to be able to keep up with him.
The dads were waiting for the boys as they approached
But the boys did really well and split up. These two ended up in the bunker I was in and were able to get off some good shots as the dads approached.
In fact someone hit this dad in a very sensitive area and he went down like a sack of rocks. Had to be helped up and then limped his way off the field.
The other boys took out the Island King and the other dad and the boys were victorious. They were really pumped up and ready to take them on again.
Only this time they wanted to play on the speed course, which they had avoided like the plague until now.
This is an open field with barrels in it. One team starts behind the last barrel on one end of the field and the other teams starts behind the last one on the other side of the field.
My guard tells me I can stand on a hill off to one side and see everything without being in the line of fire.
Except that they run real fast from barrel to barrel.
There's pretty much someone behind every one of the barrels.
Out of about 50 pictures I did manage to get a few that actually had people in them.
I'm not even close to being a good photographer but can you imagine how hard it is to take pictures of people who are hiding?
This kid spotted the Island King and a shoot-out began. Finally, one that I could see.
This is more like it.
The Island King took the kid out and continued running towards the other end of the field. Because the teams need to be even the dads were split up this time and as the Island King was running the other dad started shooting at him.
Which caused the Island King to come sliding in right in front of where I was standing.
And then I realized that I was now in the direct line of fire from the guy after the Island King.
See him standing over there behind that barrel?
The minute he squeezes the trigger a paintball is going to come flying straight towards me.
And if it hits the camera my husband is going to kill me.
My guard, who was standing a few feet away realized the same thing and started towards me. But I was standing on top of a berm so I turned tail and flew down the other side of that berm - out of the line of fire.
Whew - that was close!
The other guy shot the Island King and the game was over.
They went back in several more times but by this time I'd realized that unless I was willing to run around just like everyone else was doing I wasn't going to get any good pictures.
And I was terrified that if I started running around I wouldn't be able to keep up with my guard and the camera would get shot.
Being pretty sure that my death would follow a paintball hitting his camera I opted to sit outside and chat with another mom.
Combat Photography may not be my thing. It's a lot harder than it sounds and there was quite a bit of fear involved - and the only bullets flying were paintballs.
But it was really a LOT of fun to play at it for the afternoon.
And I applaud the guys who do that stuff for real.