Having assisted in the development of the Prime Program over the past 6 years, I can comfortably say I am a creature of habit. Team owner/manager Mike McGowan and I have settled into a few routines which we feel are the more practical and effective means in which to grow a players fundamental abilities as well as assist in creating a team environment. These routines work, for the most part, when applied correctly to the appropriate and willing player.
I have always felt that when you incorporate routines into your training, you can’t help but promote something that is imperative to any form of success; discipline. Discipline allows players and coaches to commit to the goal at hand. Those without discipline will never be reliable and therefore cannot succeed when pursuing a competitive goal or any other goal worth pursuing.
Why do most people in our sport have an aversion to routine? To me, I can only come to one conclusion; fear. They’re scared. Now, I am not necessarily referencing cowardice, although that very well may be the issue, but more along the lines of loathing. They hate routine because it is boring, it isn’t exciting. “I want to play points, not drill!”
Despite all the positive benefits that can be reaped from routine, people still resist it. However, not as much as they resist change and the unknown. Studies suggest we actually fear an unknown outcome more than we do a known bad one (that vexes me). I love routine but I am not afraid of change. As a matter of fact, I enjoy trying new things. So I am a creature of habit as well as a bit of an adventurer.
|How did this photo end up here? Oh well... sorry California|
I fear no man. Hold up…. Scratch that and allow me to quantify that statement real quick. Yes, I fear a nuclear Iran or a person carrying a biological weapon. But I fear no man in my immediate accessible small world. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be made a fool or seriously injured or find my family in danger without me being able to help. But I know that, put in most situations, I am prepared. Being prepared is how I look at routine versus change. They both have their benefits and we should strive for both. Balance of two forces is a good thing. Yin and Yang… but I digress.
THAT is how I found myself out in San Jose, CA and ultimately in Las Vegas, NV for the WCPPL Sin City Open this past May with the Royalty program. They had a D2 squad with whom I was playing and a D4 squad who was competing at the event,as well. It was an adventure I will never forget. By stepping out, I learned more in those few days than I have from the last 3 events I attended with my own crew. I highly recommend that, should you find the opportunity to “guest’ with a team, you do so. Whereas, I am certain there are incidences where it proved to be a difficult, uneventful, or even a terrible ordeal for some, I would venture to say that, more times than not, it would be a truly positive experience.
|Don Nosweiger and yours truly|
Don Nosweiger captains the Royalty program. Don and I met through our mutual friend Shane Pestana last year when the Prime Program flew out to San Jose, CA to scrimmage Royalty and the Los Angeles Ironmen. A truly humble and gracious man, Don made me feel welcome and integral to the program almost immediately. His approach to his crew is quite different than my own but I found it fascinating and an opportunity to see how others approach running a team. It proved to be an amazing learning experience. I truly enjoyed talking shop with Don regarding different approaches to leadership, personality types, team dynamics, accountability, motivation, logistics, incentive, practices, game planning, tournaments, and more. Some approaches we had in common, some were somewhat similar, but others were significantly different. It was eye opening and worth every moment.
Then there was actually playing WITH the team. It’s one thing to practice with a team you have been a part of from its inception. It’s another to practice with a team two weekends prior to playing the event. With the latter, you can still learn enough about the team and what to expect from them at the event. You learn certain nuances and mannerisms. You can even pick up on the movers and the shakers. But it is something completely and entirely different coming into an event having never practiced with a single member of the team. Going in cold, I found myself a bit anxious. Here was a chance to integrate into a new environment and see where I stood on this sort of scenario. But I was really excited about the opportunity. After all, I was going to meet some new guys, hopefully make some new friends and see what West Coast paintball is all about. I was looking forward to learning and possibly sharing my own insights.
Long story short, I couldn’t have asked for a more fun and relaxing experience. I want to give a big shout out to the Royalty guys. They are scrappers and I like scrappers since I fancy being one myself (Me! … Inside joke, bear with ME!). Don, Andrew, Alex, Tanner, Clayton, Kona, and Sean, I want to thank you all for allowing me to guest with you. You guys are family now. I will make southerners out of you yet! I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to my other crew, too! Jr, Hugo, Christian, Mason, Mylo and Jason, see you boys real soon! And Trevor, thanks for making me look somewhat respectable in those photos!
Whereas our outlooks, our lifestyles, our geographies are all different, one thing we certainly had in common and that was the desire to win. I highly recommend stepping out of your comfort zone and experiencing other programs should you have the opportunity. If you decide to do this, there are a few things I would ask that you take to heart…
|Family isn't always blood....|
When you go out on a limb and try something new and foreign, when you put yourself out there… that takes courage. Interestingly enough, the ability to summon courage becomes easier and easier the more you do it. After a while, when you call on it often enough, when you become brave, it will become contagious. This will open a whole gaggle of new experiences and opportunities for you. And guess what? It might even become routine. Your “fear” has dissipated. Congratulations warrior.
When you become courageous, stand in front of a new world, and exclaim, “I am!” you will never be bored, I promise you that. The constant challenge, even with those of us who are slaves to routine (it’s the challenge that keeps it new for routine people), will always bring excitement, the excitement of bettering yourself. When you have an opportunity to learn or to grow, you have to jump at that, grab on with both hands and never let go. Remember, we don’t grow by never stepping out. We grow from new experiences which allows us to forge new attitudes which forge newer actions, new directions and ultimately new life.
|"Bloody!...Knuckles!" Joining the team in getting pumped up|
This doesn’t mean I stop enjoying my routine or what I am comfortable with. No, I continue to enjoy those things, I am just expanding my appetite. But for me, trying new things isn't about just enjoying a new activity or experiencing the unknown. I really am content enjoying all the things I already enjoy. But straying into foreign lands, both metaphorically and literally, has always forced me to challenge my beliefs. And as painful as that is, I believe nothing contributes to our happiness more than shattering the delusions to which we cling. Often we are unable to distinguish between beliefs that are true and beliefs that are false, especially beliefs about ourselves. And for better or worse, we simply seem unable, most of the time, to identify a belief as delusional unless someone we trust or some experience shows us.
In the end, I find the spirit to try new things synonymous with the spirit of self-improvement. And while I can't honestly say I'm intrinsically prone to the former (I sometimes need a gentle reminder to do it from people around me), the latter is a large part of the reason I'm here.
|Bama came to Sin City and saw things|
Developing newfound knowledge and making it ultimately our own can be scary, fun, exciting and downright painful. But it’s the journey of discovery that is ultimately worth it. Bruce Lee taught, “Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.” I would add that when you discard what is “useless”, you don’t forget it… for we learn from its uselessness.
Get out and play with different people. Get out and learn different approaches and theories. In the end, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
Be water my friends,