The Paintball Team at Caltrans
Teamwork, camaraderie, productivity, and good fun brought these folks together
A paintballer armed with a paintball gun creeps behind a barricade, silently plotting his next move. He hears a noise in the bushes nearby, he sees his target then… weez, ow, splat, bamb, click-click-clack, oooww! A hail of multicolored paintballs is flying everywhere. These are some of the sights and sounds one might experience in a match with the paintballers in Environmental Planning.
The motley crew of environmental planners on the fourth floor of the District Office building have created something a little different from the usual office softball, bowling, or golf team – it is the District 7 Paintball Team (at least unofficially).
Paintball is a game in which the players, wearing face and head protective gear, square off in teams to shoot one another with paint filled, marble-sized balls. It’s a mock combat games similar to tag with non-lethal guns.
During a furlough Friday in August, the environment planners got together at the Field of Fire paintball facility in Newhall. Due to the furloughs, they were looking for a good deal.
The crew played capture-the-bucket, team play, and every-man-for-himself. “During one game we all stood in a circle, and as the referee counted to seven, we all had to run and hide from each other. Once the referee finished counting, paintballs were flying everywhere!” said Le Chen, an environmental planner.
“There is an initial shock of getting hit. It stings but your adrenaline rush for the day just washes the pain away,” said Environmental Planner Quint Chemnitz.
“After I was shot in the shoulder -- the one that hurt the most -- I decided that I would stay hidden and snipe at the others,” said Michael Enwedo, an environmental planner.
Unfortunately, there was a ringer in their midst. Matt Azali, an environmental planner, is a former Marine. “Matt did his best to take us all out,” said Chemnitz.
The crew welcomes everyone to come out and play, but jokingly hope that Caltrans’ former and currently serving members of the military do not take advantage of their skills. “If there are others in the building who want to join, they are definitely welcome,” said Joel Bonilla, an environmental planner.
After the game, everyone headed to In and Out despite the dirt, paint spots, and purple and blue welts all over their bodies.
“This is not just about paintball. We have really bonded,” said Chemnitz.
“Paintballing has improved our team environment and we rely on each other,” said Enwedo. Bonilla concurred, “Especially here at work, I know I can approach any of these guys for help.”
From assisting each other with paintball ammunition, coordinating a defense or attack, or helping each other remove alligator lizards from culverts or studying plant and animal life along state highways, these Caltrans employees have got teamwork down.
If you would like to join these adventurers in one of their extracurricular activities, please contact the following employees:
Le Chen, 213-897-4595
Joel Bonilla, 213-897-2822
Quint Chemnitz, 213-897-2863