My son and I love adventure – he’s Finn to my Jake. Whether it’s racing across sand dunes in New Mexico, climbing rocks in Colorado, or catching frogs in our backyard, we enjoy seeking thrills together. Although we always end up sweaty and dirty, we don’t mind. It’s all part of our father/son bonding.
I’m fortunate because I work at home and I spend a lot of time with my kids, but many dads, especially single dads, miss out on bounding time because of work and other obligations. That’s why I decided to plan a Father/Son Paintball outing to give my friends an opportunity to hang out with their sons. In addition, I invited a couple of boys who are like sons to me (note: I challenge all men to mentor young boys).
We gathered at Tanks Paintball and chose sides. My son, his classmate, a friend from church, and I formed the red team. My cousin, his son, and one of the teenagers that I mentor formed the blue team. After donning our gear and selecting our weapons, we entered the playing field like gladiators to commence our game.
We chose to go with the SplatMaster game because someone told us that the pellets don’t hurt when they hit you. Let me clarify that statement – the SplatMaster paint pellets don’t hurt as much as the bigger pellets. A shot in the middle of my chest made that point clear to me.
Our game was fast and furious. I was the tactical leader of my team and I navigated the troops towards the Blue Team’s position. We were able to strike first, but my son tripped and gave the blue team an advantage. We tried to save him, but to no avail. When he returned to our post, we discovered that his backside was covered in paint.
Over the course of the afternoon, our battle grew intense. With the hot Texas sun turning the playing field into a furnace, we decided to retreat to the comfort of the cool seating area and have some pizza (note: don’t schedule an outdoor physical event at 1pm during the summer).
As we munched on slices of pepperoni pizza and guzzled bottles of water, we recapped our battle with a few embellishments and trash-talk.
On the way home, my son couldn’t stop talking about the event.
“Daddy,” he said. “That was so much fun. Let’s do it again.”
I chuckled and told him that we have many more father/son adventures ahead us.
But the best part of the day for me came when my wife read a text from my the mother of my son’s friend, whose dad isn’t around.
“He had so much fun,” she wrote. “Thank you for including him.”
As much as I cherish the time with my own children, I feel even more honored when I can share a part of myself with another child.
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