We scoured the length and breadth of Lagos in search of something different to do during the holidays, and for a while we thought we were going to settle for the usual – window-shopping at the mall, movies at the
cinemas, clubbing, fashion shows, sponsored parties, comedy shows, music concerts – you know the drill, the same familiar cycle repeated over and over again. But then, on Thursday, we received a curious invitation to the Xtreme Sports Media Experience – with no clue what to expect, we headed down to the Oniru – Landmark Village axis of Victoria Island in search of the Paint ball Arena – the venue of this so-called experience.
Like a soldier waiting to receive new recruits, Ibrahim Yusuf, the MD of the arena gave us a tour and some interesting details about a sport that has been used for decades by military and paramilitary organizations round the world for battle simulation exercises – to be honest, at first glance, we were almost convinced we
were being drafted into a secret army, because the arena looked so miliarty-ish and inviting – complete with an ATV track, large battle arenas – with gun shelters, sandbags sniper posts, a gun range, a volleyball pitch, and several ATVs or quad bikes if you prefer the term. Before sending us into the arena like gladiators in a classic Roman Coliseum, the adventurous and extremely passionate Xtreme Sports boss gave us a few pointers – on safety, he said, “our key priority is to make sure the game is safe – that’s why we have face masks, chest protectors, and coveralls – and we never allow anyone into the arena without the face mask and chest protector”
Long story short, we hit the arena – one team dressed in red coveralls and the other in blue. After the safety guidelines and the rules of engagement were communicated by the referee, we all had one task – take out your opponent – shoot to “tag” in the chest, head, or back to eliminate an opponent (the paintballs are released from the paintball guns and break on impact with an object – so if you shoot at someone, the pain “stains” the point where it hit) – but minutes into the game we realized that we needed some kind of military strategy to prevail on the other team, but then we were carried away, and just wanted to shoot at something – by the second game, our team was better organized – as we established clear forms of communication – designed a battle plan – and moved with more calculated precision.
The ladies were by no means left out, as there were at least 3 ladies on each team, and I must say, they had more vicious precision and aim – they had more control and seemed to suppress the need for reckless bravado. So, here goes, a new way to make the holidays count – and a brand new
favorite activity for the new year – instead of watching some action on the big screen, friends could actually make their own movies in this arena – for about the same cost of a premium movie ticket and popcorn – you could relish the experience live at the Xtreme Sport Paintball Arena – now that sounded like a pitch, but the excitement of shooting, ducking, shooting, running for cover, shooting, rolling away from the line of fire, and shooting again is just too had to shake off in a couple days.