By Josh Silverman
PHOTO CREDIT – Jarred Knorr and Lucky Shotz
So let me start with a little introduction – I’m the new guy. I’m Josh Silverman and I was recently hired by G.I. Sportz to lend a hand in Marketing and PR. Though I’ve worked with G.I. Sportz in the past, it’s been a while and there’s plenty of new equipment in the company lineup and to properly do my job, I need to learn it all. There’s no better way to learn about paintball equipment than to get out there and play, so when I heard OXCC Paintball in Maryland was hosting a scenario, I packed up the truck and headed that way. This was to be my first event using HDR lenses and while I’ve worn VForce goggles for years, thanks to the HDR lens this was an almost entirely new experience I just had to tell everyone about!
The scenario game I played last weekend, produced by TSSOC, was well-run and drew around 300 players to the outstanding OXCC facility. This place has everything, from bunkers and forts to some excellent “old school” wooded playing fields that have played host to Tom Cole’s UWL events. Then there are the Chinook helicopters (yes real ones), the firebases, trenches and a complete “airport” with a control tower and planes! I could talk about the flat, groomed-grass tournament fields too, but this is about woods ball so I’ll hold that back for another time. I love this place! The weather for the game was cool in the morning with a heavy blanket of clouds holding back the sun. Perfect weather for paintball in the morning turned to somewhat less ideal conditions when the rain finally let go around midday, but luckily I got my playing time in before the raindrops.
The cloudy, cool and slightly muggy weather may have made creeping, crawling and shooting it out in the woods much more comfortable than a day in hundred-degree heat, but OXCC’s woods offer lots of old-growth trees with large canopies, and that means that what little daylight there was for the morning’s festivities didn’t quite make it into the woods. What am I saying? It was dark in there. Dark enough that if you held still and found a stacked log bunker, some thicker underbrush or even a dip in the ground and stayed still, a smart player in darker clothing or camo could almost disappear into the shadows and hammer unsuspecting opponents. This didn’t happen to me at this game, though it did happen to plenty of others at the game. Why? My VForce HDR lens.
After installing my new HDR lens in my VForce Profiler, I certainly noticed things brighten-up a bit on this dark Saturday, but where this thing really shined was in the woods. Once I got inside the canopy, though it was still dark, I was able to easily pick out opponents near and far, even those well-hidden and holding still, well before other players around me ever saw these same opponents, if they saw them at all. Naturally, thanks to their anti-fog construction, even when creeping low and slow in muggy conditions or while holding still with little to no air moving through my facemask except for my moisture-laden breath, I never had to worry about fog. If there’s one thing I know about paintball, it’s much easier to eliminate opponents you can see, especially if you see them first. These new HDR lenses truly gave me an edge in the woods at OXCC last Saturday, and it was even more noticeable when, after a forty-five minute run from one end of the field to the other shooting it out, I put a barrel cover on, exited the field and pulled my goggles off, only to look around, surprised, and say “wow, it’s dark out here!” So I say, to those of you I put paint on last weekend, I’m sorry: I had an almost unfair advantage. I could see you before you saw me. Wait…I’m actually not sorry about that at all!]]>
We’re in the middle of the “grind” for Chicago and a break is more than welcome by the whole team. The term grind is always tossed around in the paintball lingo. But inreality, what does it actually mean? I used to think it was playing every weekend until the team ran out of paint or driving 90 miles per hour on the turnpike to catch your third flight in three weeks. I suppose that those are all parts of the grind, but after starting this season with Houston Heat, my personal definition of the term has been broadened.
Two weeks ago the team flew to Pittsburgh and practiced on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday conducting drills and scrimmages. Thursday night most of the team flew back to their homes (only the sweet dudes could stay and handle the awesomeness that is a weekend in Downtown Pittsburgh). The following Tuesday, the team relocated to our home base in Houston and practiced Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It’s now Monday afternoon and we’re taking our scheduled day off to run some errands and let a few nagging injuries heal up. But tomorrow morning, we will be up bright and early for practice again in hopes of beating some of the midday scorching sun that comes out everyday in Houston. Wednesday the team will all travel to Chicago and arrive later that evening. Thursday we have a scheduled practice session with the LA Ironmen to work out any small kinks and hiccups in our preparation. Friday, Saturday and Sunday is game time for the PSP Chicago Open and the ultimate test to see if our hard work has truly paid off.
The high temperatures and good, hard practices aren’t the sole factors that have helped to redefine the term grind for me. It’s everything else that goes into a Professional Paintball lifestyle. And so on Monday after the Chicago PSP, we will fly home to put our personal lives back together….but only for a few days. On that same Friday, after only being home for three and a half days, the team will fly to Ottawa to practice for the CXBL and then compete in the regular season matches on Saturday an Sunday. The next day (Monday), four of the members of the team will fly home. However, the remaining seven will fly from Ottawa to London, England and arrive on Tuesday morning to compete in the third leg of the Millennium Series. Battling jetlag and a little exhaustion, practice will be on Wednesday and Thursday. All of that leads up to the tournament that is on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Getting to Europe is a little bit of an inconvenience because of the long flights and high travel costs. Therefore, I usually prefer to stay a few extra days and enjoy the culture before I jet back home. As much as I enjoy being at the Millennium tournament sites, getting the true feel of Europe doesn’t really happen until you venture out from beneath the paintball haven. This year, most of us have decided to stay a few extra days and fly to Spain and travel to Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls. I’m sure it’ll be an exciting adventure and hopefully we all come back whole. After we dodge the potential death and destruction that is a three thousand pound horned and angry bull, the boys and I will finally be on our ways home for a five-day rest. And then it starts all over again.
To me, this entire schedule is now known as the grind and that’s what being a Professional Paintball player is all about.
Now coming into the event from MAO, where we earned our way back into the Champions bracket, we, Houston Heat, I’d have to say I felt very confident in our chances on taking the event. We had won the event last year and coming back to CPX and looking around, seeing the layout of the event as almost identical as 2013, made it feel as though we were still at the 2013 event. A nostalgia you could say. Coming up from the Challengers bracket we really wanted to make a point that we belonged at the top.
We began 2 weeks prior to the event in hot, muggy, humid, Houston Texas. Now I won’t get into the specifics of our practice, I’ll leave that for another blog, but we played hard, really hard. The biggest driving force behind our play was never, ever wanting to be in the position we were in Dallas, playing for relegation and being sent there. I do not know if I can put into words the feeling going down to the Challengers. It is something I never want to experience ever again.
If you payed any attention to the PSP Chicago event you know about the rain and the mud. Now I will say a couple of things about the weather situation. 1, nothing could be done, I don’t care where the event was being held, if you get that much rain with that many people walking around you get mud and muck and puddles. 2, the PSP staff, CPX staff as well, did a fantastic job making the event run as smooth as possible with the resources they had. 3rd and finally, most teams got lucky and did not have to play in consistent rain for the majority of the event. That is huge. Yes, it rained a lot, and there was mud, all of these things I can handle and so can everyone else. Playing in a downpour on the other hand is horrible and we got lucky that was not the case. I wish that on no one.
Making the finals anytime is a huge deal. I have been lucky enough to do so quiet a bit the last 3 years and each time I get the same feelings. Pure excitement probably sums it up best. There have been a few times other emotions have come into play but for the most part it is just excitement, for me that is. Going up against Impact made things way more intense. We have not beat Impact this year and having grabbed 3 of their former players we really wanted to prove coming off MAO, Challengers, and general lackluster performances that we could beat them and win the event all in one.
As it turned out, save for the first 3 points, which I felt we dominated, we ended up losing terribly. Now I say terribly because we received what…3 major penalties and a couple minors? Now I’m not going to dissect whether or not we deserved the penalties or not. Our fans did not, our families did not, our sponsors, and most of all everyone that supported us at the event. We handed that win over to Impact. Just gave it to them. Now a win is a win but man it felt like we never had a chance to really play, no excuses, we got penalties and that’s the way it works sometimes. It was a sorry excuse for a finals match.
To take something away from the event is to go from Challengers to the Champions finals in a 2 event swing is huge. It sucks to be the first place loser but you have to have a way to measure your success and know that sometimes things do not always go your way. A big thanks to Randy, the owner of the team, for pointing that out to us at the end of the event. The next thing to do is to focus on the next event and make preparations to achieve your goal, winning.
I’d like to give a shout out to D1 Distortion for winning and also to D1 Outlaws. I have played with and come up with a lot of the guys on those 2 teams and it was great to see them play each other in the finals. 2 local teams making it to the finals, battling it out to over time 1 vs 1 was awesome. I’m really happy for both of them!]]>
The CXBL started 10 years ago, happy 10 year anniversary guys, and is not only the name of the league but the CXBL is the top division in it as well. The league has 4 divisions, the CXBL, known now as Elite (PRO), the MXL, RXL and RT5. Each of these divisions has something a little different to offer but all work there way up to the top, gradually making you comfortable with the format. What I mean is that, and I’m not 100% sure which is which but one division has a semi capped rate of fire and less game time, as you move up the rate of fire goes up and the games get longer.
The league, as far as I know, is one of the first if not the first to have individual statistics based of your jersey. The idea, which is simple and genius, used to be that the teams would receive all 15 of there players jerseys before the season starts. You pick or are assigned your jersey and #, from that point on you cannot change or lose your jersey, if you do…no more playing in the league. Now with your assigned # the league would document every time you were on the field which gave you a +/-, penalties, flag hangs, games played, and NAX points, a series of points awarded at the end of each match to players who made great moves or were basically the MVP for their team. The player who has the highest amount of NAX points at the end of the year wins a prize, some prizes have been trips to Mexico/Cancun, a new Luxe, and other various paintball awards. Pretty cool stuff.
The last 3 years Houston Heat has went up, as a full team for the most part, and played in the league under another franchise. Oh right that is how the league works too! Teams are owned and sold. There is fee that is payed during the off season to retain and maintain your team. These fees cover jersey, some paint, ID cards, and other league related items for the up coming season. Teams are given town names to go along with their respective location. We are Montreal Heat, there is London Vicious, Omaha Vicious who also competes in the league as well, and other Canadian city and towns to go along with every team in every division.
This year, as Montreal Heat, we have played at one event and had 4 matches. The events work as a regular season with teams having to win a certain amount of games to get to the playoffs or Richmond Cup at the end of the season. Teams who fail to do so and are at the bottom of their division face relegation to the next lowest level and teams who win or place in the top 2 or 4 spots get moved up. I really like how the league has implemented this and I’d have to say that it has worked out very well the last 10 years.
Playing at 15 balls a second is something, I believe, everyone should try. You ever feel like you’ve ever been over shot? Try being the last guy alive when the other team has all 5. It takes a lot to get an over shooting penalty in the league, not to say that it doesn’t happen but man you get shot a lot. Add two 25 minute halves to the game and you have got one hell of an experience. When I first started playing in the league there were some games where the score would be 22-3. Things have leveled out and I can easily say that there are quite a few Canadian players who can easily play Pro in the PSP, US.
The CXBL, has the old DXS show truck, so they have a giant truck full of gear and paintball equipment on hand. Not only is there a show truck but Planet Eclipse and DLX has techs there to help any teams in need. There is a VIP booth with free food and drinks, chairs with a great view of the CXBL field, and amazing slushies….so tasty.
I can say that the CXBL, Canadian Extreme Paintball League,is one of the best run leagues in the world. If anyone has the chance to play or go to any of there events, do it.
“I always have the best paint on my TOUR” Greg Hastings
Go meet Greg at any of his upcoming Tour of Duty 2014 dates, or try and shoot him if you can!”
JUNE 27-29 WESTERN WARS EMR PA. www.EMRpaintball.com
Talk about legendary…If you have never seen the castles and forts at EMR, you are about to be amazed beyond belief! AND…at night you WILL party… and party hard. I think it’s in the rules or something!! Taking on The WOLF, so come help me battle!
JULY 11-13 Invasion Of Normandy PA. www.Skirmish.com
If you want to play at a field that has been around since the beginning of time, well at least the early years of paintball, then Skirmish is it! Miles and miles of fields, and when they drop the Higgins’ Boat’s doors, you will be shot!!!! I love to be scared to death! You?
July 25-27 PAINTFEST Bassett’s Pole, England www.NPFBassettsPole.com
The early pioneers of our sport are the founders of this event. I have been to this field before, but I have not been to PAINTFEST, which I hear….is quite the good time. Sleep will have to wait! Come have a pint AND a pod with me!
Aug 8-10 Mirabel Big Game Montreal, Quebec www.PaintballMirabel.com
Parlez-vous français? Not really, but… Mon nom est Greg ! I’ll Try!!! This will be my first time to this field, so I am very excited to head up the GI Sportz “back yard” and see how they role on the paintball fields of battle!
Oct 11 Battle for North America Ontario, CA www.CrazyBillsPaintball.ca
Here we go again!! This is that fun event I always enjoy going to. Lots of familiar Ontario faces; friends, and fans, so I look forward to taking on BAD REV again this season. Its OK, join my team and help me defeat that maniac!
Nov 15/16 TC Mexico Mexico City www.Tippmann.com/TippmannChallenge
Headed south of the border for this new adventure! I am soooo happy I love Mexican food and the fun loving people of Mexico! I better bone up on my Spanish for this one. How do I say “You’re out sucker!” in Spanish? This may be a fun holiday trip for my North American friends, so book this one and come help me enjoy Mexico City for the week;-)
The Greg Hastings Tour of Duty is co-sponsored by FIELDS OF BATTLE!
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G.I. Sportz Acquires Tippmann Sports
Leading paintball brands come together to create new industry powerhouse
December 20, 2013 – G.I. Sportz is pleased to announce it has acquired Tippmann Sports, bringing together two iconic paintball companies. This transaction brings the industry’s leading brands of paint (GI Sportz and DXS), markers (Tippmann and GI Victus), goggles (Vforce) and accessories together under one roof creating a global industry one stop shop.
“This fulfills a longtime dream of bringing together the industry’s most prolific product innovators and leading brands to create a dominant industry player owned and operated by paintball players,” said Richmond Italia, Chairman and CEO of G.I. Sportz.
“By combining the resources of two companies that manufacture products in North America, we’ll be able to serve the paintball industry in new and exciting ways while continuing our dedication to leading-edge products and unmatched customer support” said Denny Tippmann Jr., President of Tippmann Sports.
Both Richmond and Denny Jr. agree that its time paintball comes back home. Made in AMERICA, run by PAINTBALL PLAYERS.
Please click on the link below to hear Richmond and Denny further discuss the transaction.
For more information please contact your local sales representative OR contact one of the following:
Dave “Opie” Thomas
G.I. Sportz Inc.
1-800-671-9963 ext 3150
Director of Marketing
Perfect event for paintball business owners looking to learn how to grow your business in a struggling economy. Paintball Extravaganza was first held in 2005, with just 18 exhibitors and 36 dealers. Word of the event spread quickly, starting a trend of consistent growth. Paintball Extravaganza International now brings in over 200 dealers and over 60 exhibitors, including all the industry’s finest and most established manufacturers, dealers and field owners. Classes and seminars have also seen a steady growth, over 24 business forums and technical training seminars presented by many both inside and outside the paintball industry. The event has also gone international, with over 24 countries represented over the past three years. Past events have seen over 400 dealers and fields represented from 36 states and 16 countries.
Paintball Extravaganza International has become the “Can’t Miss Event of the Year” for the paintball industry.
If you are looking to get sponsorship for the 2014 season, we are NOW signing up teams.
Sign up here below, we will be more than happy to get you and your team ready for 2014 with some awesome gear! We have amazing packages for teams!
With any road trip I take, this one being for a clinic, I always look at fields or stores I can stop by on the way there and back. To prepare for that I get to pack up a ton of our product from our G.I. Chicago warehouse to show customers. This trip was no different. I had some excellent help from Mark and Pat at making selections on gear and packed up several bags to bring along on the trip.
Thursday morning I went to get my rental car and after an in-depth look at the weather that was closing in on us I made a quick and easy decision to upgrade to a 4 wheel drive vehicle. This choice would prove to be hugely valuable as the roads later turned from rain to ice and mass amounts of snow. After I grabbed my vehicle and loaded it, it was a smooth ride home to grab my mom and then head north!
I’ve never gone on a paintball trip with my mom before, she’s come to events and seen me play, but nothing like this. It was quite the delightful experience and I have to say I enjoyed my mothers company immensely. We don’t get to spend a lot of time together with the amount of travel I do and it was a great chance for us to catch up and just hang out.
Of course there were times when my mom may have caused me a little extra stress (she is not a fan of how I drive). I made sure I tested my rental cars handling in the ice and snow…you know just to be safe. We didn’t get into the ice or snow until about 130 miles out of Minneapolis. Everything before that was a steady downpour of rain.
Getting into Minneapolis was when the snow really started coming down and with that traffic jammed right up. It worked out that we got into the city right before rush hour and with the snow that was falling, they got close to 11 inches, it made things go very slow. With that I made some slight route alterations and stopped in at a field and store.
After my small quick visits we headed west to go to visit and stay with our great friends the Carters. It is always nice and convenient to be able to stay with friends instead of a hotel. I’ve always just enjoyed the atmosphere a lot better and just being with friends is great. It is truly one of the ways I have been blessed in paintball by making such great friends all over the world and being able to stay with them and their families.
The next day I headed over to MN Pro’s store and hung out with the boys all day. We had a cookout and everyone and anyone was invited. Signed some stuff and told paintball war stories all day…had some of the best food with Aaron too! I got to get a little inside view of their new location they are opening up and I can tell you guys that there is no other store like the one that they will be opening up this summer. I cannot wait to go and check out the store when it opens. MN Pro is easily one of the best run and most professional paintball business I have ever seen and it is easy to see why their customers and employees hold them in such high regard. I was and still am very impressed.
The next day the clinic started and I want to start out by thanking the guys that went out of Friday to set the field up. They literally were out there shoveling the snow off the field to set up the bunkers until the sun went down. I think there might be a time lapsed video of it somewhere! We had 25 brave and determined individuals that came out for the clinic and one of the most impressive things that did not happen was no one called and asked if it was canceled. Players in Minnesota don’t care about snow…they go hard.
This is the first time I have ever done a clinic in the snow and I have to say it was pretty fun. It made things interesting as it was a little slippery and very wet. We went through drills and situations as the day started. I have to stress to anyone who takes or is going to participate in a clinic to ask questions! You have to be able to admit what you are weakest on and then be prepared to learn or open your mind to learning new ways of perfecting those skills. As this happened the weather, crazy as it is, was warming up and by the end of the day the shoveled off areas of the field turned into lots of mud…it was great.
The next day fell on MN Pro’s monthly employee days. Meaning all of their employees from their 2 stores and field get to come out and play for free. This was one of the funnest days of of paintball I have had in a long while. They had new and old employees, from the top and the bottom, old and young, and recreational along side tournament out playing. The weather was not much better from the previous day but everyone came out with a smile and plenty of layers. There was plenty of smack talk and that made for some intense and fun games.
The end of the playing brought everyone together for food and a meeting. Matt, Joey, Aaron, and Erika stood at the head of the group and went through all of the new things that would be coming up as well as employee awards and having the new employees stand up and introduce themselves. I felt very privileged to be able to part take and listen in on the meeting. It was very well run and fun, while keeping things to the point and serious.
The end of this meeting concluded my trip and I made my way back to our family friends house to shower and change, grab my mom, and then make the 7 hours drive home. I wish I could better articulate the amount of fun I had on this trip, Matt, Joey, and Aaron along with the rest of the MN Pro crew were great hosts and there facilities are top notch. I hope to return soon this summer for some more hot, non-snow filled paintball action!
See you soon! …Nick]]>
Best paintball manufacturer in the world!