Back when I was 13, I found out about competitive Paintball, for 9 years straight, all I dreamt about was playing for Moscow RL until it became real.
Amazing french people helped me to reach my dream but I already talked about them in French so here I’ll be mentioning the non-french ones who helped / marked me along the way.
Firstly, let me explain why I am done with competitive Paintball as a player.
The main reason is quite simple, I have slowly but surely lost the burning passion which took place in my heart during the first 10 years of my career.
It’s been a couple of seasons I feel like I am not investing myself enough in the sport as a player. I am still able to compete at the highest level because of the 10 years of work behind me but I don’t like this situation at all and I am obviously not improving anymore.
I think the main reason for my passion to go away is the disappointment given by the leaders of the Paintball community.
Since I have started Paintball, the sport has only been going down and down and down. In my mind, this is explained by a huge lack of leadership, ambition and vision by the people who have been running the sport for the last 10 years.
They are hurting each of us and they actually killed me as a player.
I don’t want to make these sacrifices anymore because I don’t feel supported, I don’t feel we are going somewhere, I don’t feel recognized as a sport athlete in this place.
I think I may regret this decision in the future but as of now it’s what my heart dictates me. At my best I would dare ranking myself around the 30ish best players in the world. I am confident that with a lot of passion, a few years and lot of work I would have been able to sneak a few spots in the ranking. But I don’t want to get there, as sad as it sounds in my own ears.
I have a huge respect for the top players of the world who sacrifice everything for nothing but the love of the sport; it has been such a pleasure battle with you guys for these couple of years!
Here is what the current top 5 players in the world look like for me (I put them randomly as I can’t decide who is 1, 2, etc).
– Justin Rabackoff
– Alex Goldman
– Konstantin Fedorov
– Alexander Berdnikov
– Archie Montemayor
Big respect to these dudes, real professional athletes who fought their way to the top and still have the love from day 1.
Along my journey I have had the chance to meet some quite amazing people, here are a few of them:
– Kovar Mykel, one of my best friends in the sport, amazing human being, generous and kind, started from the bottom now he is where he is. I did my first pro year with him for RL, memories forever!
– Yarber Blake, I seem to like the nicest people. 🙂 Blake is known for being the best dude in the game, life lover, simple guy but so special. Love him!
– All of the BKIT guys, I feel so lucky to have been able to share moments with them, their story goes beyond words. They treated me as family although I struggled with my french VISA. 😀
Ryan, Dixon, Grayson, Archie. Thanks for hosting me and taking care of me. Colt thanks for being who you are. Derrick, thanks for your constant smile and hunger for life. Billy thanks for being a fast & fat Italian baller. 😉
– Although I have met poor leaders, I have also met Alex Martinez who is one of the most inspiring people I have ever had the chance to chat with. He taught me a lot and it will resonate in my mind for long!
– Very special thought for Kirill Pridhini, huge lover of the sport. Kirill was here when Paintball was at its best. He is still here now, 15 years later, with the same passion, determination and hunger. Not many people are capable of coming back at such a level after the injury he has got. Baller!
– Many thanks to the whole RL organization; they are the ones who gave me the opportunity to play at the pro level. Big respect for all the RL players who practice hard for not so much but the love of the game. Keep fighting!
And keep watching Smotrov, since I saw him when he was 16 years old in Moscow I predicted he would become top 5 in the world at some point.
Today, for me, the challenge of building a company has overcome the love of living the Paintball life. I don’t regret one bit of it. It was my first successful experience in my life; it’s been a very difficult ride, which taught me so much.
I am now going to use this strength for my next venture: DROM.
So long brothers. Peace & Love.