Paintball is a very diverse sport, and most people start out playing in the woods for fun. As many of us move forward in paintball, we sometimes forget exactly how much fun playing in the woods can be. Tom Cole’s UWL, the Ultimate Woodsball league, was created with the original roots of competitive paintball in mind. Paintball Access’ Matty Marshall brings us into the finals at the UWL held earlier this year.
This is part two of his story. Read Part one here.
I’m sizing my options, mind racing, flipping through possible attack alternatives, here, in the deep end of the UWL finals, playing the Assassins, Bobby Long’s team. Our left side has been blown open and everyone is dead. I can see them in the deadbox, biting their teeth, antsy and fidgeting, waiting to watch the flag station battle about to go down. Oliver Lang is our last player alive on the right side of the field, and when I raced back to do damage control, he was in a gunfight.
I have no idea if he’s still in the game. Things don’t look good for us, to say the least.
Dave Bains and Terry Fong have already raised our flag. I can’t see this because it’s out of view, but it must have happened, because they are already past that location. In the UWL, there are four flags, two in the flag stations and two around the 50-yard line of the field, near the sidelines. The flags are on poles attached to strings, and when you get to one, you raise your color up and in the process, push the opposing teams flag down. Every minute your flag is raised you get points toward your total score. So every second that goes by with our main flag down, we get closer to losing the game. However, this is only the first of three ten-minute periods, and if I can prevail in this situation, shoot both Dave and Terry, hoist our flag back up, and then run back to reinforce Ollie, we still have a chance. In UWL you get your eliminated players back at the end of every ten-minute period. So I just need to win this fight, run back to a hopefully alive O-Lang, and hold out ‘till the troops arrive.
From my position, hiding behind a dead tree trunk surrounded by half thick brush, I can see them, moving in. I count just the two bodies, but there could be more. I don’t really have time to think about where, or if, Dave’s got a few more players around him. I have to push the attack right away, while they don’t expect it.
When you clear a side of the field, you normally can just run around to the other side, and feast on necks, backs, and packs. Sometimes there may be a landmine in or near the flag station you’re moving into, but not normally. In woodsball, just like tournaments, the best defense is a good offense. It’s still in the back of Dave’s mind though. I know this because I know him, because he’s played a lot in the woods and I can tell by the body language of the two, that they are unsure of the body count. They are moving slow and deliberately, guns half up, eyes scanning the brush and trees around them. They are also going to be slightly winded, as the side of the field they just pushed through is on riverbank, with thick sand sapping your energy. And their own heavy breathing, magnified by the constraints of a goggle, will mask the sound of any movement I make in launching my attack.
Based on their incoming trajectory, I decide to wait until they move up another 10 yards so, which will put them right in my line of fire. I have to shoot the first one fast, put a solid burst of four or five shots into his chest, and then move my gun quickly to the second before they know what hit them. Lucky for me, they are very close together, maybe 5 feet, which will make it easier to eliminate them both, before the second guy can get a bead on me. All they should see is paint flying at them from the bushes and it will be hard for the second one to find me in time, before I can get a shot to break on him.
Terry is slightly ahead of Dave so it looks like he is going to be first to get lit up. In the 30 seconds I had to survey the scene, I noticed another set of thick brush right in front of me. I make a quick move forward, raise my gun and aim tight, blocking almost all of my body within the framework of the cover, and let a burst go.
Terry has no idea what hit him, as three or so shots find their mark and take him mid mass. One down. I immediately turn my gun to Dave, and put shots into him as well. He’s reflexes are lightening fast; he already had started to roll his gun into where he thought the paint was coming from. But he guessed wrong, and the paintballs pass by, harmlessly, to my right.
I tighten up and zone in, letting a continuous stream of paintballs fly. Not all of my shots get through the brush, but I can see some of them hitting my mark. Dave must have thought he shot me though, because he doesn’t stop shooting. I know I hit him first, but now, since we’re both letting go extended streams, and I’ve been firing for more than a few seconds, he’s starting to get shots through. But I don’t stop shooting, and neither does he. It devolved into an old fashion game of Pain-ball, and no one wants to be the first to tap out.
So we stand there for a few beats, just letting each other have it.
Tune in for part 3 of Matty Marshall’s UWL adventure here on Paintball Access next week.