Harrodsburg paintball tourney benefits Relay for Life

May 10, 2004|EMILY BURTON

HARRODSBURG - Dead men drank Sprite and displayed their war wounds Saturday morning at Anderson-Dean Park. On the shimmering battlefield, the calls were relentless. "You are eliminated! Dead man!"

After a strong showing at Mercer County's Relay for Life annual paintball competition, the team Heavy Metal Monkeys sported its elimination wounds with consternation. A splatter of neon paint on a foot or arm marked them as out.

At 11 and 12 years of age, the three-man team was the youngest of six entered in the benefit competition for the

American Cancer Society. Last year's event raised about $400, said organizer Sue Abrams. Once, she had joined the fray on the field, she said, but last year's thrill of battle couldn't outweigh the pain of loss. "Once you get hit once or twice, you learn to hide better," explained player Michael Abrams.


"It hurt. We thought, yeah, we'll take these 10-year-olds, and it hurt," said Abrams with a grin.

Long after paint splatters had been washed away, welts or bruises reminded them of that last hit.

All in the name of paintball supremacy; but if not that, then at least for a good charity, said Monkey fan and parent Tammy Reed.

"Anything for cancer research. It's for a great cause," said Reed.

"And plus, we get to play," added Monkey member Logan Hahn.

In the depths of paint warfare the mood is anything but playful. More like "shoot and don't get shot", said Monkey member Tanner Reed.

"Balls flying, heart pounding, quick pace," described Michael Abrams.

"I'm surprised the team on the other side of the field can't hear your heart pounding," said Philip Clark. "It's a rush."

Under the rattling stream of cover fire, team members duck behind wooden spools as they dart toward the central flag. Capturing the flag brings instant fame and 15 points, more if it gets planted behind enemy lines. Eliminating an enemy combatant increases the team's total score by five points. At the end of 10 games, the highest-scoring team will take home the trophy.

Last year, the Monkeys defeated a team of police officers but did not place.

After Saturday's first round against the owners of Garrard County's Paintball Hill gaming field, the prospect of a Monkey victory this year looked to be a challenge.

"They say they're going to keep coming back until they win. It's kind of hard when they're the smallest team," said Tammy Reed.

Behind her cluster of painted Monkeys, a cry of "dead man" rang out. With hands raised, another paint-splattered soldier walked off the field to the tent.

"What do you have to drink?" the dead man asked.

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