The 2015 season kicked off in Cancun Mexico for the New Jersey Jesters paintball organization. This was to be an event which featured a lot of firsts for our team: first time playing outdoors in almost 6 months, first time playing the redzone format, and most importantly our first time playing an international event. It goes without saying that we really wanted to represent and show the world what our crew/family is all about.
After checking into our hotel and getting situated, we headed for the beach. The hotel was packed with everybody on spring break and I’m just happy none of the guys got whiplash looking at all the bikini clad women. As I sat on the beach with all the boys I realized that after almost two decades of playing events that this was to be a very different experience. Which brings me to the biggest point I want to make. Way back when, when I was a College student myself(a really long time ago it seems…….) I had this one amazing professor who really made an impression on me. I don’t know why this one point he made stuck in my head but it did, and it was the lesson that if things ever get stale in a relationship take a trip to a place you’ve never been together and it seems to rekindle the flame. Now like I said before we’ve had this team for 19 years and a new adventure was just what the doctor ordered to get everyone juiced up.
As far as the event goes it was awesome. They had free water, energy drinks, sandwiches, and cool washcloths for the players, hard working refs, tents for each team with coolers and chairs, my favorite type of playing surface (short and fast grass), the list just goes on and on. I would honestly recommend this league to everybody, it’s so evident how hard they’re working for us the players and I couldn’t be more appreciative. On to the games. The action was fast and furious and everybody had to figure out the format. We took to it pretty quickly and everybody definitely seemed confident going into the finals.
Game one and we get a rematch with Destiny who is bolstered by my favorite player of all time Todd Adamson and beast back player Mike Paxson. They gave us a pretty solid ass kicking in the prelims so we were looking forward to the chance at payback. We were on top for most of the match, when they start to come back in a huge way. It was an awesome match that came down to us being up by one point with about 15 seconds left, could we hang on…….after an insane point, the dust settled and we had hung on for the victory. It was a great match and it’s a shame anybody had to lose it really.
One game away from the team’s goal of first place at our first ever international event. There was so much riding on this one game for the organization. Everybody was preparing for the battle ahead in their own way: Conor was meditating, Dylan and Erica were talking shit to each other, as for me I just couldn’t sit still I kept doing laps around the racetrack thinking about what I needed to do and playing the game in my head. I had a good feeling about the game as I had my good luck charm Erica, my wife, and resident team mom there. For some reason I feel like we always do so much better when she’s with us. Back to the game though, We drew the Warriors for the last battle, and it wouldn’t be easy. They have two of our brothers Aldo and Al and our little devil herself Monica!!!
Again it came down to a one buzzer game after a back and forth battle. We just needed to hold them off for about ten seconds when my gun basically ran out of air, are you kidding me!. I looked to the right and saw the bulldog himself Leo. I screamed for him and he did what bulldogs do, take care of business. He took off and smashed the buzzer securing our victory!!!!!!
What a relief. We got the monkey off our backs, he should be happy as we left him in paradise though. As I look at the trophy on my desk in front of me I still have a smile on my face. I spoke to the guys in the huddle before that last game with the sun setting to our backs and Dylan our kill machine pacing and ready to punish, about what the trophies mean to me. Back in the day the Greeks and Romans would bring back spoils from their opposition in whatever war and mount them to a tree to commemorate the victory. No matter which trophy I look at in the team room it instantly brings me back to the day, my teammates, where I was in my life, and the fact that on that day we got it the fuck done, and for the rest of my life when I look at this trophy, I will have to remember taco’s stupid moustache.
I’d like to thank my teammates for delivering this victory to the organization I seriously couldn’t be any prouder of the people that took this trip. To our MVP Taesch, who coached his ass off, he is the definition of selfless and the kind of heart we look for in people for this organization. His clutch coaching turned the other teams 2 pointers into 1 point plays and when you win both games in the finals by one buzzer the argument can be made that he was more important than any of us. To Al and Monica for making us come down here, Amanda for organizing the whole thing, and my amazing wife Erica who came to Mexico and got to see the beach for a total of maybe 4 hours(her and Dylan amused themselves at the field with constant tag team smack talking on me which I think was just as much fun for them). And last but not least all of our sponsors Empire, Kong-Ker, Virtue, Allstar paintball, and Stingray Ops for helping us to keep doing what we love.
There’s a saying “if you want to go fast go alone, but if you want to go far go together”. This win felt so good because I know that myself and my real teammates, not the ones who chose the first option, but the ones who decided even in bad times lets go together. Well I can’t help but realize were about to go really far. To victory!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Let’s have a 2015 to remember.