Ready, Set, GO!
The past 30 days have been absolutely non stop for me. I’ve traveled over 55,000 miles in the air, covering four continents. The true life of a professional paintball player. It’s not easy living out of a suitcase and some people call it crazy. While they may be right, I can’t wait to get to the next country and the next event. I’m excited to explore new countries and see new places, and yes, it is still possible to find some new places out there, even if it’s the same event at the same venue in Germany every year for the last 15 years. I invite you to take a short journey with me as I head around the world.
-A not so solid rock; A Flaw in the Plan.
Dallas was a bit of a flop for the team. Coming off a fresh, much needed win for Dynasty in Las Vegas, the team continued to rely heavily on the game plan that put us on the podium. We had a great set of practices and had our shots dialed in leading up to Friday. We broke our X-Factor curse by toppling them in our cross bracket match, then cruised through the new pro team, Katana. Friday felt promising. We had a game plan that was rock solid, tried and tested over several weeks and put to the test on day one in Dallas, we were in the drivers seat. One more win on Saturday and we would be on to the second round, easy enough.
Saturday wasn’t what we expected. It started with a slow match against the TMG Outlaws, a team, who on paper, we should beat. We played this match assuming they would fall into our trap of a slow game. Unfortunately, for us, we got a little behind on points and didn’t utilize the clock in our favor. A major penalty leading to a long two on four, both of which we lost, put us into overtime. We kept with the same rock solid game plan which failed us, leading to our first loss of the event. Not to worry, we have been here before. A must win match against Tampa Bay was up next. This was a rematch of a rematch of a rematch in which Dynasty has been the victor in the past. They played a great game against us to be honest. After scouting us thoroughly, they played the odds and attacked us hard down the dorito side, quickly racking up a 4-0 lead. Although it is not impossible to come back from that, we were ill prepared to be punched the way they did and we adapted too late in the game to make a difference. Dallas, it seems, has our number as of late. A few years ago, Dynasty was back to back Dallas open champs, now we have been knocked out in round one, back to back.
-Redemption across the pond; Attack of the Kiwis
Half the team packed their bags, licked their wounds and headed off an all too familiar trip back to good ol’ Bitburg, the town where the millennium series has called home for their second event for over a decade. Dynasty stopped competing in the European circuit several years ago due to budget issues. Back in the “hay days” when prize money made the trip worth it, we committed to European team travel every season. With prize money decreasing over the years by more than 50%, team travel became less and less appealing. With that said, the team’s players haven’t stopped guesting on European teams. At this point in time, five members of the team make their way across the pond to support European paintball regularly. Myself, Yosh and Marcello guest on a team from New Zealand, newcomers to the Euro paintball scene and relative newcomers to the sport in general. The Expendables took on Blake Yarber as a coach about two years ago and have taken the Australian circuit by storm, winning their first event in just as many years. Now, branching out and getting some incredible experience with the help of us three, these guys are blossoming into a highly competitive team quickly! With an event win in France and now the second win in Germany, we are in a roll with the kiwis! Next stop on the millennium circuit is London…
-The Tour Continues: Let’s get Tropical
The 18 hours to get back home is a little bit nicer with a first place victory under my belt. However, with only 24 hours at home to clean up and repack, there’s no time for me to get settled before I jump off on my next adventure to Panama. I was down there once before for the grand opening of the Panama Paintball Club about a year ago. Now their 507 Paintball League is in full swing. The venue is arguably the best small event venue in th world. I use the term “small event venue” because there is only one field at the moment and they can only facilitate 30 teams with the current infrastructure. However, there is plenty of room for expansion and that is in the future plans. The field is located in the Riande Airport Resort Hotel. It takes about a minute to walk from my room to the field where there is a bar and restaurant with a second story deck to view games from a great vantage point. The field is immaculate and very well maintained. It still looks exactly the same as it did when they did the grand opening a year ago, that’s how well they take care of the venue!
I was in town on behalf of HK Army and Prime Link sports to help promote the event and teach a small clinic on the Friday before the event. I was also on hand for some of the teams to give some help here and there. I actually ended up lending my coaching skills to the home team, Smoke Patrol, who won the event in a very close match with a local rival team. Within the 30 teams who entered, players traveled from neighboring countries of Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia and the islands of Aruba and Curaçao, making it a very international crowd. They even had a very well produced webcast that I would dare to say was much better looking than the Millennium’s webcast.
-Down Under; Another Australian Adventure?
Unfortunately my tropical getaway had to end and my journey across the Pacific Ocean had to begin. My world tour
wouldn’t be quite complete without adding another continent to the month long haul. This time around I have back to back weekends in Australia. Weekend one was a clinic at Snipers Den in Melbourne with Marcello. What a great setup they have down at Snipers Den! The field is perfectly level, on turf and just a stones throw from a main road making paintball very visible to the general public. The clinic went great, as expected. We had players coming in from all over Australia and even as far as Indonesia to participate in the event. We held a private team clinic on Sunday open to two local teams only and they crushed it. The private team clinics are more oriented around full team drills and practices and less heavy on the fundamentals, so it involves a lot of intensive theory and explanations of drills to take back home and practice on your own.
After the quick weekend in Melbourne, the weather had turned a bit grey and things started to get a little bit chilly so it was time for me to move onto a sunnier, warmer part of Australia and visit somewhere new that I’d never been before. The Sunshine Coast provided some very much needed R&R and salt water to a whirlwind of a month on the road. I met up with a good buddy from back home who just moved out to the sleepy town of Maroochydore which is located on the north east coast about an hours flight from Sydney. This is where I was able to wet my gills a little bit and scored some pristine waves in 75° water. My buddy and I loaded up our boards the first day, slung them over our shoulders and hiked through the Noosa headlands for a few miles to find a fun break. We came up on a right hand point break with absolutely no one out and decided to hop in for a few waves. A few waves turned into a three hour session that kept getting better with the changing tide. It wasn’t big by any means, maybe chest-shoulder high on the sets, but the point just turned on for us that afternoon. I couldn’t help but smiling and shaking my head in disbelief each time I was making the long paddle back after a 200+ yard ride. How is it possible that there is no one out surfing with us? I wasn’t complaining, but it just didn’t make sense to me. In San Diego, any wave that looked remotely like this would have 50+ guys frothing over it, but not today, not here. So far in Australia, this has been my favorite place to visit and a definite reason to come back and stay a while.
After a short week of relaxing and surfing I cruised down to Sydney on that one hour flight to join up with the SWAT guys for round two of the super 7s paintball event. This is the third time playing with the SWAT crew from Sydney. We didn’t quite play up to our expectations during round one, but we picked things up quite a bit for the second leg and did quite well.
Unfortunately we didn’t win the event, but it was a major improvement from round one. We ended up in second place at the event by mere seconds to Marcello’s team, Perth Crisis.
Sadly, this was to be my last event playing with the guys due to sponsorship issues. They are a planet eclipse team and at the moment, PE has a strict policy which does not allow for me to guest with them anymore. So, with that said, good luck the rest of the events boys, it’s been fun!
It has been an absolute whirlwind of a past month to say the lease. I’ve been home just under 36 hours over the past FIVE WEEKS. I think it is safe to say that the airlines love me at this point in time. I think I am hovering just north of 110,000 miles this year and I still have another six months left on the road (or in the air). Home is going to be a comforting change to the fast pace as I am overdue for a healthy meal and my own bed for a few weeks before things kick off again at the end of this month. I can’t wait to see the team next weekend and start practicing for Atlantic City!