Boy, I didn’t know I had it in me. I’m in Manila for the Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program finals, which formally opens today at the SM Mall of Asia. Last Wednesday, organizers decided to host a paintball competition for participants at Global Gutz (a name that takes the wimp out of anyone) and, for kicks, I joined.
I was initially drafted into the Smart team, which eventually won the competition, but I switched sides when the game was about to start. A Smart team member who was assigned to another team asked to switch places with me, with the pledge he won’t shoot me on the field.
I was bent on staying as far back as I could and play sniper, which is what I do in Counterstrike. I do not have the heart of a Thermopylae warrior and was ready, as soon as we were overrun, to fire all my bullets and raise my hands to indicate I was out of ammo to get myself out of the game.
But there’s something about putting on a combat vest and mask. The enveloping threat of suffocation in soaring heat seems to unleash repressed demons.
My little band of college geeks did well against their nerdy contemporaries. I was actually hit on the first three seconds of the game. The bullet hit me on my hand but it didn’t break and mark me with paint and, by tournament rules, I was still alive. The narrow escape from being the first one eliminated from the game did it. I was murderous.
From the back I started scouting for targets. I saw one hiding behind one of the obstacles within my line of sight and I waited. He got out of hiding to shoot one of my teammates and I hit him on the chest. One geek down. I spotted another who was crouching behind one of the culverts and I hit him or her on the leg. Two geeks down.
I wanted to attack. I actually walked toward where the last opponent was hiding. It is something out of a Lito Lapid film. I sprayed the obstacle where the person was hiding with bullets to make sure he or she couldn’t get up and I was out for the kill (mumbling to myself the instructor’s warning “no hand-to-hand combatâ€? don’t strangle the kid). The person, it turned out, is also no Thermopylae warrior. He ran out of bullets.
We also won the second game against the same set of opponents, this time on a different field. I took two geeks again, this time while perched on a miniature watch tower made of bamboo slats. But Jason Bourne ran out of bullets and I walked away from the field.
Our team was to meet the Smart platoon in the quarterfinals and it was good that I had to leave the game for a briefing and escaped the massacre.
If you’re anywhere near the Mall of Asia today, do visit the Sweep exhibit. The geeks I killed have assembled some amazing applications using wireless technology.