6 Questions for Oliver Lang
1. FITN: Is there a single moment you can remember that made you say, "I want to dedicate everything to paintball"?
OL: I knew at a young age that I was going to dedicate my life to this sport. But no specific clear moment. In fact I think that moment is still coming, so standby for the real importance of why.
2. FITN: What was your greatest moment on the field, and what was your greatest moment off the field?
OL: Greatest moment must have been in 2000, when I won the World Cup with the Ironmen, beating the World Cup goliaths, Aftershock. I was just a kid and I had no clue what was happening. I was just in a pure flow state and everything was working so easily.
I shot a bunch of them like I was some sort of master but really I was clueless, just following my heart.
Off the field...I have to say that practice has become one of my favorite all around things. It's just a time when we could rejoice in all that we are doing with no stress and step outside of the real world and help each other learn.
I enjoy a solid practice over a tournament any day. Much more fun and rewarding.
3. FITN: In 2006 you left Dynasty and signed a deal with Dye to play for the Ironmen. Many people thought that moment represented a sea change for paintball and deals like yours would become the norm. But 10 years later, growth in paintball seems stagnant. What do you think is the cause of the slowdown, and what do you think paintball needs to do to reach the masses? Where do you see paintball in the next 5-10 years?
OL: I’m not an economic strategist by any means, but I believe the biggest factor in terms of growth is the simple fact that the big industry guys run the show. They are all locked in a push and shove, tug of war game. They’re all trying to say they know how to solve the problem. They want to change this format to that format and make the game like this and that. They all have their own agenda. It’s a power struggle, who gets to run the show.
Most people in paintball think the sport won’t reach its highest potential, for a very simple reason: politics.
No one wants to work together and not many people at the top want to take advice from the players. It's all about making money and controlling the industry.
This attitude gets you nowhere in life. In fact it weakens everyone at all levels, hence the standstill for over a decade.
The only way we will reach the mainstream public is when the current players, who actually have ethics and who care about the game, with no hidden agendas, retire and create a new league for the players by the players, when players on all levels realize they must support the big picture, not just their one sponsor. The biggest problem is that teams and players are aligned with a certain company, and they have to respect that company because, well, that's who pays the bills.
But an organization must be formed by people who have the same dream and vision and who can work together to grow a unified format and league that's played around the world, that’s easy to understand and shows true athletic ability of the players, who are compensated at a fair rate for their wins. And then the sacrifice of time and money required to play the game can be justified.
4. FITN: Why did you leave paintball?
OL: I left everyone and everything, not just paintball. I left my life and everything I know. You will never understand what this is like until you actually do it.
The question “Why?” is for me to answer, for my own personal development.
When I was a kid people laughed at me when I told them I wanted to be the greatest paintball player in the world, and they laugh at me now when I tell them
I want to be the greatest person I can be in the world.
And I haven’t exactly left paintball--I’m planning the next phase. How can I help? How can I give back? How can I inspire more? How can I help you achieve your highest potential?
I need time and space to figure this out.
It's taxing, running around airports and flying around the world. It's nice to move, but I have found that the true secrets come when you stay still.
5. FITN: A lot of people are curious about your pursuit for peace and happiness.
OL: Well, I'm glad that people are interested in this. I'll share something I learned with you: everything you do every day, every movement and every desire, is brilliantly camouflaged.
See, we are so blinded and so confused about why we do the things we do. Why do you want to be the greatest in your field? Why do you seek that fancy car or prestigious job?
We are all looking for peace, and it's camouflaged in every sport and every thing we do because we are ultimately waiting for that day when we can look back on our success and say, “I did that, thank God that's over,” and sit back and put our feet up and relax.
But we get so confused. In fact peace is a simple mindset. You don't need to go to the extremes to achieve peace, you can have it right now.
But most people don't believe that.
So what happens when you actually achieve true peace? Well, everything is wonderful, there is fulfillment in every corner and every aspect of your life. In the peace you have freedom, which is the goal, what we all actually seek.
But we seek it in superficial things and accolades in order to justify ourselves to others. If you just put the ego aside, you can stop competing against others and most importantly against yourself.
In this space you can start creating, and this is the ultimate success.
For I believe I am brand new and my life is just beginning. I couldn't be more happy and my renouncement of the sport was the most difficult divorce I have ever had, but absolutely necessary to make room for what's next.
6. FITN: What does life after paintball look like for you?
OL: I live the most blessed life imaginable right now and it's all because I am living in total faith of what the grand plan has in store for me. I am spawning many creative projects. Film, poetry, pottery, photography, clothing design, dance, and I will start writing a fictional book soon.
I am in the process of building an organic garden in Bali where you can come and enjoy nature and good food.
I will be launching some online training courses for the sport, and I’m working on hosting an invitational event in Southeast Asia.
We will see. Many ideas are flowing but my main focus is taking care of my health and expanding my consciousness.
For the true purpose is just beginning to surface, and I'm excited to discover what it entails.