The misconception is held by a small minority, but it deserves a little clearing up nonetheless: The allure of paintball doesn't lie solely in getting splashed with colored paint. If anyone thinks that a paintball's welt-inducing sting is tempered by the pleasing thought That sploosh on my knee is a fine shade of orange, well, sorry. It's just not the case. The fact is, paintball is a sport for players so tough they don't give a damn about stains on their clothes. It washes out anyway, says Chris Cotton. The patron saint of paintball in Kansas City, he has put together Parks Department tournaments here since September 2001.
This year's Spring Sting Paintball Tournament begins at 8 a.m. Saturday and lasts through Sunday afternoon at the baseball fields in Blue Valley Park, off 23rd Street and Interestate 435. More than 42 teams have signed up to play in a round-robin-style contest on two adjacent fields. Combatants will arrive from as far away as Illinois and Texas.
The rules for paintball are like Capture the Flag, but with paint projectiles thrown into the mix. This weekend's competitors are limited to two shades of paint, so the losers won't resemble the rainbow warriors we had hoped for.
Cotten says Paintball makes a great spectator sport, and concessions will be sold. A wall of netting provides some protection for the crowd. For more details, see www.kcmo.org/parks or call Cotten at 816-784-4000. -- Nadia Pflaum
Jupiter and Venus currently dominate the evening skies, and local telescope buffs want everyone to get a good look. To celebrate Astronomy Day -- who knew there was such a thing? -- the members of the Astronomical Society of Kansas City set up their heavenly instruments at the Schlagle Library (4051 West Drive) at Wyandotte County Lake Park, in the northwest part of Kansas City, Kansas. Festivities begin well before dark -- at 4 p.m. -- and include continuous slide shows about other celestial beauties high above the plains. Make sure to ask about a couple of monster comets that might put on amazing shows next month. For details, call 913-299-2384. -- Tony Ortega
For us, the expression fun run seems like an oxymoron. We can't imagine what's fun about hauling our asses out of bed at some ungodly hour on a Sunday morning to run 4 miles. We'd rather be hungover. But for the nonhungover sort -- pity! -- there's the Trolley Run, the major annual fund-raiser for the Children's Center for the Visually Impaired, which starts at 7:45 a.m. Sunday. Runners should park on the Country Club Plaza, where trolleys will pick them up and take them to the race's starting point at 75th Street and Wornall Road. The entry fee is $25 before April 24 and $35 the day of the race. Call 816-841-2284 for more information. -- Annie Fischer
A visit to the Kansas City Zoo (6700 Zoo Drive in Swope Park) involves a lot of walking no matter what. So why not take part in a 5-kilometer charity walk that benefits the environment? Earth Day Walk 2004 starts at 10 a.m. Saturday. (Walkers can register that morning from 8 to 9:30 a.m.; for preregistration information call 816-561-1087.) The $10 fee benefits Kansas City's not-for-profit environmental organization Bridging the Gap and its programs, including recycling and area cleanup efforts. The fee also includes admission to the zoo and to the Party for the Planet Earth Day celebration. -- Michael Vennard