FOLLOWING HIS BIG WIN AT PHOENX OPEN.
(PERSONAL BLOG with permission)
I was going to do a review of the event and write up as I had done in the past, but honestly, there isn’t much different to say that hasn’t been said about the basics. The weather was nice, the venue was amazing and the PSP did another good job, as usual. With that being said, it hasn’t occurred recently that I am afforded the opportunity to write about a victory. More often than not, I have had the undesirable punishment of retelling defeats and losses. But, this time our fate has changed and I am rewarded with a new task and duty.
Once again, all the clichés and truisms hold true and make sense. The beliefs and efforts towards a common goal and search for greater success have remained viable tasks in the minds of all those that have endured. As the post Phoenix PSP feelings begin to fade, I can look back onto the week with a somewhat intriguing and peculiar outlook. I remember winning the World Cup in 2004 and running onto the field shocked, surprised and amazed at the reality of being a champion. I remember winning the Texas Open NXL in 2006 and astonished at the fact that we were able to defeat teams that significantly outmatched us in almost every aspect of the game. But, winning Phoenix evoked new emotions and sentiments that I humbly hope will become the norm. The game of paintball has always been a passion for not just myself, but all the Philadelphia Americans. The same can be said for a large majority of the players on the professional circuit. Competing and working towards an ultimate success has become an infatuation, bordering on the lines of obsession. But, the last two years for the team have been very trying and served as a true gut check.
In 2007, the Americans took a new approach to the game. Hard work and dedication became the motto from day one. Sloppiness, tardiness, laziness and apathy were unacceptable. It’s not that these weren’t agendas for the team in years past, however they had become convoluted and lost over time in a sea of indifference. Nonetheless, for the last two seasons, time and time again we were given the opportunity to achieve a desired destiny, but our fate was always sealed and delivered with a frown and look of dismay. The culmination of heartache came in 2008 with a second place finish in our hometown followed by a crushing defeat at the World Cup. I’m a firm believer that second place stings the worst. I have taken last place in the past and felt that the cause was doomed from the beginning. But, second place burns deeply because the knowledge that victory was so close and then ripped away is emotionally daunting.
So, as the last two minutes ticked off the clock in Phoenix, and I knew that the team had finally claimed a victory, I felt relieved. No longer shocked and dumbfounded, I was proud of everyone’s work and dedication. The devotion and commitment from the remaining Americans is incredibly commendable. In the six years I have been on the team, I have seen many players come and go, but the group of players we have now has weathered the proverbial storm. All of the losses on and off the field were finally justified and reasoned. Thus, our victory was not celebrated with champagne or ruckus; instead a few solid hugs and firm handshakes accompanied a dozen smiles and looks of thankfulness.
In closing, the team and I would like to extend our largest level of gratitude for everyone who believed in us, to everyone who cheered for us and to everyone who supported us, from the times when we resided at the top of the podium and even when we inhabited the bottom rungs of the ladder. The unconditional admiration is always noted and appreciated…….hopefully, we will see you all in Charlotte ☺
“Sure I am, that on this day, we are the masters of our fate, that the task which has been set before us is not above our strength; that its pangs and toils are not beyond our endurance. As long as we have faith in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied us.”