We were playing simple elimination with about five or six players on a team. The field was a few acres in size, so the game consisted of moving between stands of trees, using the ditches or small hills and trying to out-move the other team. On this particular game I found myself starting on the lower side of the field moving diagonally across the field.
As I moved across the field I could hear people firing at each other at the far corner of the playing area. Since I wanted to get involved in the game I started to move toward that area and started to move behind a stand of scrub oak. As I worked behind the stand, maybe fifteen feet wide, I heard something and froze. I had heard what I thought was a footstep so I slowly crouched down and started to look down the field, trying to guess what was there. I was hidden in the shadows of the scrub oak and looked past a few trees and could see another stand of trees about forty feet ahead. This smaller stand was the only cover that was within what I would consider earshot, so I stared at it. I couldn’t see anything or anyone, so I wondered whether the noise I heard was an animal or, if it was a player, if they had fled into a ditch or moved away.
As I looked, I saw one place that I thought there maybe could be a person hiding. It wasn’t that I saw anyone, just that I saw a place that if a person were behind the trees, that’s probably where they would be. I had been moving pretty quietly across the field, so I thought there was a pretty good chance that I hadn’t been seen, yet. That meant that if I decided to shoot, then I would instantly give up my position. If I wasn’t trying to stay concealed, I would have just shot a few times where there may have been a person and then moved on. I sat for probably ten seconds (which felt like much, much longer) considering what I should do.
Finally, I decided that it was worth it to shoot and then run. Since I figured that the my position was still pretty well hidden, I decided that I would only shoot once – that way I would give away the stand of trees I was behind, but probably wouldn’t give away where I as behind the trees. I also had to keep in mind the leaves in front of me, since a paintball brushing against them would instantly break before it crossed the 40 feet of open space, and the stand of trees where I thought the player might be hiding.
I aimed at where I thought the player was and slowly squeezed the trigger. I watched the paintball leave my barrel and instantly knew I had not aimed well. The paintball went high and to the side. As I watched it, though, it went through a small gap in the trees and I heard a solid “thump” and my opponent yelled out “HIT!” and raised his gun and walked out. It turned out that what I thought could have been a player was nothing and what I had assumed was a tree trunk was actually the side of the player. He was so well blended in that I had no idea he was there, but my bad shot had somehow scored a direct hit.