From what I remember, we lost 7 to 23 the first day. The way I see it ? Everybody takes a beating sometimes.
The kind of stuff that does not happen to us in Europe.
It’s super warm, lots of humidity, it was a long day. Assessment of the day
A tough practice is a good practice.
Back to hotel, quick shower then Beach volley all day.
Next day we practice once again with Houston Heat. It doesn’t go significantly better. A little better no doubt.
But we still get our ass kicked and it really starts to piss me off
We win more points than the first day but still, nothing great at all.
Our team is composed with 6 Russian players and 4 french players. (4 TonTon). Among the Russians, you can find 2 experienced players, Denis Golev And Kirill Pridhini. The other guys are called « The kids », they are young players who practice a lot (5 times a week), have great technical skills but who are still lacking tournament experience.
During these two days we played with one french squad – except one player – and one Russian squad. The russian squad struggled at practice and it wasn’t significantly better for us.
On this layout I found myself playing front / insert on the snake side. I was quite happy with this situation. Insert was a tricky spot with many decisions to make and it was really exciting to play. The front spot was classic but far from easy. Two very technical bunkers to play before the snake and a very powerful Snake corner. The snake also gave lots of options and could be really decisive if played well.
We made a quick assessment of our weekend but there isn’t much to say. We don’t play well, we don’t speak enough, our individual skills are low. A mix of things which bring us to suck.
Monday is off, I took this opportunity to take Axel and Fabrice to the closest Crossfit box. We had lots of fun and had a really good rest on our day off as expected (Just kidding).
Tuesday we practice with Heat and Impact. This practice was crazy.
We arrived earlier than the opponents of the day so we ran drills, breakout shooting and 30 seconds games.
Then the practice started.
The level was just impressive. Impressive to play, impressive to watch.
The pace is fast, it shoots straight, it moves fast with the right timing, it talks so much on the field.
There is no room for doubt, the smallest mistake is immediatly punished.
My feeling after a practice like this is that it requires a tremendous amount of focus, you don’t have half a second to rest during a point. I am not saying we sleep on the field in Europe but here it’s just much faster. Every gunfight is tough and you have to make every move with your maximum speed.We didn’t play much but at the end of the day we were exhausted. Mentally and physically. The kind of practice that makes you jump so fast in your progression. We felt blessed to have the opportunity to be among these players.
The assessment of the day is, once again, not so bright. We end up with a 7 – 13. The team is playing better than in the beginning of the practice period but our confidence isn’t at it’s best.
Axel started playing on the snake side in the beginning and quickly switched to the Dorito side where he was much more effective.
Wednesday is off.
On thursday we head to the tournament, we register, run a 30 minutes practice just between us in order to have a first sweat out there. Shoot good Paint and get sensations on this official layout.
On friday, you have to fight.
First game is against Chicago Aftershock, very confusing game for both sides. We give away points we shouldn’t, Aftersock does the same getting penalties. We are losing 3 – 4 and must score a point with only 2 minutes. French line is on stage. We score the point with 10 seconds left on the clock and their last player (Ronnie 😉 ) gets a major so they will start the last point with 3 players only. We win the game.
Definitely not satisfied but a won game is a won game. We know we will need to step up but we stay focused and stay positive.
Personally, I am happy to be back in the snake, I had good feelings.
Second game against Tampa Bay Damage. It is a crucial game for us. French line starts first. We take the first 3 points with a certain ease. We dominate the snake side breakout, they are running out of solutions.
We play some good Paintball.
I play front snake with Mr Colombo behind me and Mr Voulot in the back center. I used to play with these two fellas. The three of us run well together. We take this game 7 – 4. We didn’t really see this coming. We are in a really good posture for playing sunday club with a 2 – 0 record friday evening. Confidence is showing up. It feels good after two very tough events in the US this season.
We’ll have a massive steak with the whole team and we’ll have a good time.
Saturday starts vs San Antonio Xfactor. The last event top 2 team.
The game is tight. Fabrice and I get a major each, very stupid, it doesn’t help the team at all. We are losing 3 – 4 and there is 2’07 on the clock before the next point. For this point I go short to the first temple on the snake side. Trying to survive, get a kill and then push. Xfactor does the same and keeps 5 bodies alive. We quickly Lose Denis. Then Fabrice. Then Axel.
Oops it’s a 2 on 5. Loic and I.
I play on the Snake side vs 2 players, Loic controls the Doritos vs 3 players.
Sitting at my spot won’t make miracles. I need to do something. My opponents keep me under pressure with loads of paint but anyway, I need to go.
They even made a move before me and have one more bunker than I do. I look at the clock, is says 1’05. Odds are not with me but as Mickael says, you miss 100% of the shots you never take.
Still, in my mind I lose confidence, doubts keep coming at me. The chess game is pretty luch lost. How could I possibly win this point. Solutions are not running at me. And I don’t believe in myself anymore.Nevertheless, I will go because that’s the only thing I should do. I use all my courage and heart and think to myself : « You have 1 minute to win this point, let’s see what you’ve got ».
There was a huge rain last evening which transformed the snake into a mud fest, quite sticky actually. It makes it harder to play it.
I force my way into the best bunker and I happen to shoot the insert player. Then I immediatly jump to Snake 3. I look up and see 3 perfect targets. I kill 2 and miss the 3rd one who backs up in the back center. G3 already.
I load my last pod on the floor, So i have about 15 paintballs. The snake player moved to the snake corner. There is now 20 seconds left.
I make a 3 ball snaphoot over the top on the snake corner. I do kill him but it takes me 6 seconds to realize it. Then I run to shoot the back center in the back and buzz. I do shoot him but I am 3 seconds short to buzz the point.
This point made me think a lot. The main lesson I get from it is that believing in yourself is the most powerful thing. It will make you 10 times better than what you are now. Believe you can achieve. I killed 5 players in one minute. On the paper it was impossible. Even myself didn’t think it was possible, which I regret a lot.
I took a life lesson, and I learn more and more that limiting beliefs is our biggest obstacle in life.
This loss isn’t deadly if we take our last game vs Trenton Topgun, weaker team on the paper. The game goes as planned.
I came close to have a point attritubed to myself once again. I manage to make a sneaky move to bunker a player in a 1vs2 situation and then had a big lack of lucidity during the 1vs1, I was 5 meters away from the buzzer. But instead of choosing the easy path I decided to make naked moves. Retardo.
We win this game 8 – 3.
Let’s move on to sunday club.
Sunday morning, quarter final against San Diego Dynasty. Big game!
I am really pumped. I believe in myself and my team mates. I know we will win this game and I know how.
I get a good warm up, a good stretch. I feel good in my gear and in my body. My mind is ready.
I decided to start the game with an agressive attitude. I want to be in the snake first and I want to kill people.
First points are easy in Paintball. Axel plays great in the doritos, Denis is solid behind him, Loic is on point off the break on the snake side. Fabrice is everywhere. I am in the snake before them and I take people’s lives. I dominate and I know I do. My confidence is high.
We play fast, strong and smart. We have an edge and we can feel it.
We lead 3-1 and 2/3 of the game time went by.
This game is ours.
5th point is long, I get to the snake first. I decide to play it more conservative. They also get in the snake. I stop pushing as I did in the first part of the game. I let them have the ball. I let them come and make the mistakes.
I take a brillant shot from the dorito side, a player back up far away from his bunker to shoot 3 balls through the field in a tiny window. 3 of them in my forehead. A collective kill. A smart kill. Team play and communication paid off.
Loic instantly tries to make the snake corner but doens’t make it.
The card castle collapses. 3 – 2.
I lose Fabrice off the break. We kill one Dynasty player. 4 on 4 situation. The point is long, very long. I stay short and control with Loic. Dynasty does the same.
Time flies by. I look at the clock. 3 minutes, 2, 1. My mirror makes a move, I instantly make the same move. I had the opportunity to make this move before but I had decided not to make it and to let them come.
Once I get there I get a ball which slighly hits the outside of my hopper. Almost no paint. A micro piece of hopper. A shot that changes a game. The kind of mistakes I will regret for a decade.
Things speed up.
Dynasty starts making it happen with big moves because they need to.
Chaos! Run through, people dropping on both sides.
There is 45 seconds left and we find ourselves in a 2 vs 1 situation but we didn’t manage to get this information quick enough.
Tyler Harmon, a Dynasty player does as I did vs Xfactor. He has 45 seconds and 20 balls left. He faces 2 of the most solid back players in the game. Denis and Loic.
If there was an odd to bet on such kind of a situation, it could have made a millionnaire of the crazy person who whould have bet Tyler.
Tyler manages to kill Loic who is still confused by the chaos on the field. Tyler walks with big steps towards our buzzer. Denis is very close to our buzzer. They end up being 5 meters away from each other. There is 25 seconds left.
I am in the pits with my nasty little hit on my hopper and I pray. I pray a lot.
Tyler makes a great shoot on Denis and buzzes. He ties the game 3-3 with 19 seconds left.
In our pits there is chaos, we are stunned. I am shocked from what I have just seen. We have just thrown away our ticket to the semi finals. We have to do it all again. 0 – 0. But without surprise, our edge is far away.
We get on the field and we are still shocked. We want to run these 19 seconds and re-focus for the OT point. I get shot off the break, Axel gets a major.
Alex Rodriguez from Dynasty instantly runs through the field, dives over our start base and buzz the point 1 second before the end of the game time.
That’s it. We are out. We just checked-in for France. Just like that.
It went fast. It was violent. Things slipped through our fingers. It was just terrible.
5 full and long minutes of pure silence in the pits. We go onto the field to shake hands and slowly realize what just happened.
Beyond the fantastic Paintball game we just went through and offered to Dynasty fans. I think and question myself.
Did I have to keep the same pace during the whole game ?
Would I have won this game 5 – 1 if I had kept playing as in the beginning of the game ?
Why would I let such talented players play their game while I am in the driving seat ?
They were facing a wall and were solutionless and I decided to open the door for them. Well, that’s the feeling I have at this moment.
I have regrets and I learn.
An invisible lesson, invisible but so valuable. The reason why it takes years and years to get to the top. It is through moments like those that we learn the most.