Anytime you fully submerge yourself into anything; truly and deeply committing yourself into any sort of discipline, one of the end goals is to take the tools gathered from it and be able to generalize them. Applying these tools to any and all things that you may face afterwards. I believe that this is fundamental to saying that you are knowledgeable about the original subject.
For me, the main disciplines that have taught me this have been mathematics and paintball.
Mathematics originally taught me to think about disciplines in this way. Although I do not use Topology or Complex Analysis on a daily basis, the ability to think logically and to organize and explain my thoughts in a clear and concise manner come directly from my time studying mathematics in University.
As for paintball, the most powerful lesson I have learned has been to be open and accepting to all people I meet. Understanding that utilizing the differences between people is what can lead to greatness.
In 2012 I played with a pickup team called Maple Leaf Chiefs at the NPPL Huntington Beach event. Prior to flying to California I knew only two people that would be making up our team of 8 players. Little did I know that these people would become family to me, and the bond we formed would echo throughout the rest of my life in many ways.
This is a common story for most paintball players. To go out and explore the world and those around us, stepping onto the field with strangers and leaving as brothers. To discover that in order to succeed, you need to find what is the best way for all members of your team to flourish; and in return you will as well.
Although at Huntington Beach we did not win, I now understand the significance of this experience, and I have now been able to apply this to other moments of my life. Allow me to generalize to you for a moment: in life you will face situations that require conglomeration. But lets focus on paintball for now. As I would like to touch on how even though I did not realize it in 2012, it served as a major catalyst to my paintball career.
When -VcK- fell apart at the end of 2014 I had no idea if I would be able to play paintball with another team. I felt so unsure if I ever would be able to find a team in the PSP at the level that I wished to play. So I decided to take a leap, and try to play in Europe. If I was near my end of competing, I wanted to knock playing abroad off of my paintball bucket list.
So I pulled up two Internet windows, one with the list of Millennium teams, and Facebook on the other. I literally went down the list on the Millennium’s webpage and messaged every team’s page asking if I could play with them. David Veltman was the only one that replied. He had never heard of me, and I had never heard of him. However Amsterdam Heat had recently lost a few players and since they were making the bump to CPL the team needed an extra body. So I took the plunge.
I was so nervous flying to Amsterdam alone that first time. But at least I knew what I had to do. I would try to replicate what I had done in Huntington Beach. It was more than just playing well. It was to create a sense of belonging. To prove to myself and my new teammates that I was there to join the Amsterdam Heat family. To ride into Valhalla with my newly formed Dutch brothers in arms, laying out everything I had on the field while also bearing my soul to them. I believed that if I could do this, much like I had with Maple Leaf Chiefs, they would do the same for me.
I was fortunate enough to play six events with them during those two years. Two events in CPL, and the entire SPL season in 2016. Although we got regulated down to SPL in 2015, in 2016 we finished in the top three. We only lost to two teams the entire 2016 season: Russian Legion and one close match to Ramstein Instinct. Something I am very proud of. We grew so much together as a team, as friends, and as players. For the first time I found a team that allowed me to step into a leadership position. They listened to me, and in return I listened to them. For me as a player and a human being it was enlightening in so many different and valuable ways.
Coming back to the moral of this story, looking back on it now, where I am at is all because of that one NPPL event in 2012. Meeting new people, bridging the gaps between each other, adapting, and finding my best through discovering the best in those around me.
Now I must apply these lessons again in order to be successful. This time with Houston Heat and Vienna United. I am joining two teams with structures already built into them. I am, once again, the new guy who needs to find his niche. Just like starting anything new in life. So I find myself looking back to that first time in 2012 and more recently to my time with Amsterdam Heat. Taking these lessons and generalizing them to a new venture. Of course it will take time for me to fall into my place, but thankfully my past has given me the tools to enter this new chapter of my life.
Thanks, and lets keep growing together.
Number Zero | Houston Heat | Vienna United