This SPE started off like all SPE's in the past. With a 12 hour drive to Illinois. I really didn't want to do the trip there in one shot. I have done that before and it leaves you pretty drained. I had decided a hotel room mid way would do as a good stopping point and only give us a little over six hours left to drive the next day. After a constant nagging towards my eldest son to pack his stuff. It actually happened. Thursday came around and He and Jake were ready to go at 4:PM Mountain time. I picked up the kids from school, grabbed Jake and Josh's stuff, dropped off a reluctant Joab at soccer practice(next year bud) and topped off the fuel tank. With all that done, the 2002 Gold Caravan loaded to the brim with paintball equipment, food and drinks was on it's way.
On the road to Omaha we saw hundreds and hundreds of turkey and deer. This didn't help Jake at all since we all went empty handed last turkey season. A few places you could have filled your deer tag and turkey tag in a matter of seconds with a quite enough bow. The normal gradient from the yellow grass of the plains to the dark green of leaves on trees and thick grass back east was very evident. They had been getting a lot of water in the past few weeks. We got thru Omaha and into Council Bluffs where we stayed the night at a 39.99 dollar motel. My two boys were a little freaked out and after getting the room, told me they were pretty sure they just witnessed a drug deal. I told them they were over reacting. If this was the worst hotel room they ever stay in, then they will be lucky. Yea the bed was hard but it was a clean room. We woke up early and headed over to Panera Bread for breakfast. Damn do they have some awesome breakfast sandwiches. Six point five hours later and we're at Spaceman's house for a gathering of the usual suspects. We ran around a bit waiting for other friends to arrive. Gathered some misc beers and other bits. A few beers, six pounds of bacon and a couple taco's later I was a happy man. Sitting on the Spaceman's deck, trading stories, passing around markers and drinking home brewed beer with a bunch of friends I hadn't seen in a couple years( I missed SPE 09). This is why a 12 hour drive is totally worth it.
Up early and headed to the field. Set up camp behind the raffle table with Spaceman, DoghouseDan and a hand full of Canadians. Played with my new Ule pump mag most of the morning. Then after getting my sniper back from Ken I started playing with that for a bit. Huge thanks to Ken for standing behind his work and fixing the little leak my sniper had. You da man Ken! After three years I finally got a elimination with this rig! My two son's had a blast all day. I had wondered about Jake getting tired and not wanting to play in the afternoon. He was back a couple times, just long enough to refill paint and headed back out. While visiting a booth, one of the vendors gave Jake a old Brute paintball marker. He said he hadn't used it in four or five years and wasn't even sure it shot. Jake found a way to put a hopper on it, then sprinted over to the chrono. It clocked in at 275 and shot like a champ. He proceeded to play with it the rest of the afternoon. Josh played with his phantom all morning and then ripped things up with my ule mag in the afternoon, after I started playing with my sniper. He ripp things up really well. Including re-injuring his ankle that he had sprained pretty good the week before at a soccer game. Even with a little limp he still played awesome. Which was pretty evident on Sunday during the tourney. I couldn't be prouder of these two. I just can't wait till next year and the youngest can come with too. Team Olsen will be in full effect. Pump play was std issue SPE. Everyone played awesome, everyone played with respect and honesty. Other then the tourney I don't think we had a ref at our games. I can't say enough good things about the type of play one experiences at SPE. You really have to be there and play to get the full meaning.
Saturday wrapped up and we headed out to get some Mexican food. After a little trouble finding the spot, I ordered a margarita. I wanted a big one and that's what I got. We stayed the night in a much nicer hotel then on Thursday. Soft beds, a pool and most of all a hot tube. Nothing like soaking off the paint in a bubbly hot tub. So we checked in, swam for a bit then relaxed in the hot tube. The boys decided to stay up and watch a movie. Me the minute my head hit the pillow I was out. Sunday we were up early, ate our fill downstairs and then out to the field. The Tourney is on Sunday so we once again got everything sat up and waited on Gumby to show to start taking names for the Tourney. Jake, Josh and I all got on separate teams. Each team played seven games. Points were given for eliminations, flag pull and winning. It should be said no matter what your team you always have fun. Thru the first three games the mag was shooting like crap. Spiraling balls all over the place. I went thru three barrels and cleaned it good and finally got it up and running in a decent manner. In one of our last games I got "dead man" walked. By the time I caught on to what he was doing it was too late. I hadn't tucked a foot in like I should have and that was my down fall. While I don't totally agree with it, it's SPE and that's just how things are. I'm sure I would have been fine with it if I would have been the one doing it. Jake ended up second to last, I got third and Josh's team won first place. Jake and Josh proceeded to play until all our paint was gone. We were debating on if we should drive back in one shot or stay the night somewhere. While debating we got invited to Famous Dave's for BBQ with a small but elite group of guyz. You know who you are. We ate a bunch of BBQ and decided to hit the road and just keep driving. My eldest took the first shift at the wheel. I tried to sleep but was still wide awake with the weekend in my head. I took over at a little after midnight and we pulled it home. We all slept for a bit, except Jake he had been sleeping for 12 hours, so he was ok. Unpacked, cleaned and tucked neatly away for the next paintball outing. Which hopefully is soon.