Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why So Serious?

By Mike Bianca

Many teams will tell you, "We're a serious team". Great. Cool. Fantastic... but just what the heck does that mean? If it means that you practice 3 out of every 4 weeks in a month, great. If it means you drill the fundamentals often during those 3 out of every 4 weeks, cool. If it means you travel out of state to scrimmage higher divisional teams with a winning lineage, fantastic. If you do all these things (and others) then, in my mind, you ARE a serious team. You obviously have the drive and resources it takes to get better, become competitive and win.

Pr1me does this. Now, before anyone starts casting "internet stones" and asking who we think we are, allow me to explain why I say this: We are a serious team. (See how I did that?)

Team PR1ME scrimmaging in Macon, GA

In order to improve in this sport, a team must have the willingness to learn. This is not as simple as it sounds. The TEAM must have a willingness to learn each other and learn together. And here's the kicker that most of you are all too familiar with: Getting better/learning is expensive and time consuming. Not only is it financially difficult with having to purchase paint, field fees etc... To do that often can put quite the strain on team member’s disposable income (especially in our current economic environment). However, if a team is serious about being competitive and winning, then this is the first hurdle that must be met. The next would be availability. I am married, the father of three children and work a full time professional job. Other members of Pr1me are college students with part time jobs or high school students with other responsibilities. Finding time or having the capability to schedule time off in order to practice, much less compete, is difficult. We won't even get into time with loved ones.

Before you think this is going to be another, "How to get sponsored" tutorial or "10 steps to be a better team player" list, let me assure you, it is not. This is simply a blog by Team Pr1me. It is our story and if you learn something from it and it helps you or gives you an idea, terrific. We have succeeded in accomplishing one of the goals we set through this medium.

Pr1me has taken many steps to make it affordable for its members while trying to create an environment for winning. Not everyone can have a private regulation size X-ball field to practice on. Not everyone can have relationships that make paint accessible and affordable. And certainly, not everyone can have such good friends that are bonified Champions in the sport to assist, train, coach and guide. This is not me bragging about what we have. As a matter of fact, it couldn't be further from that. All of this is a culmination of financial stability, patience, well thought out negotiations, intelligent decisions and plain blessings from God over the past 8 years. That's right. 8 years! If anything, it is a testament to the ingenuity and drive of this team’s captain. The willingness to learn, to make hard decisions, to set goals and reach them through perseverance, blood, sweat and tears.

When I started writing this, I thought about how I was going to tell a quick story about what it took to get us through the first year. Instead, (as I often have throughout the first year of this teams existence) I have found myself thinking about my teammates and how inspired I am each and every day by their commitment to each other and our common goal of being the best we can. I genuinely like and trust each and every member of this team and that is rare to find today. That is what will make a team successful and I guess that is the point I want to make. If you find yourself lucky enough to find that ensemble of players who not only get along but compliment each other's playing style and on top of all that, are all willing to learn together and get better together, well, then... you have found yourself a "serious team".

Bianca pictured with teammates at World Cup. Mike has been playing for over 15 years. Played on teams over 3 states in in all formats, owned a field, and is the co-founder of team Pr1me.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Prime Now Part of ACES Series!

Prime Paintball and team PR1ME is pleased and honored to announce that we'll be a part of the ACES (Alabama Championship Event Series). Most of us on team PR1ME have our roots in this series (some going back 8-10 years) and are happy to rejoin some of our longtime fellow AL players and field owners to make sure paintball stays in our lives and hopefully bring it to a few others' as well! The PR1ME organization will be hosting and officiating two tournaments in the Fall of 2011, one 5-man on August 7th and one 3-man November 6th.

For more info you can visit the ACES website at:

Still want more info?
Head to the ACES forum and be shown some southern hospitality!

Offseason or Is It? 2010 Wrapup

Mike Bianca aka the Electric WOP has delivered an update of team PR1ME, including winning the CFOA D3X Series title! He's also included how he's been dealing with the offseason...if there really such a thing anymore.

World Cup is over and Pr1me ended up 6th place. We missed placing in the Top 4 by 58 seconds. You may be asking yourself, "What do you mean you missed top 4 by 68 seconds?" Its simple really... we were up 3-2 and needed to kill 58 seconds to make it to the finals. We knew what we needed to do. Heck, we even knew what the other team would do (pretty much). However, we didn't execute our game plan correctly. We lost two on the break and the remaining 3 didn't hold well. This has haunted us since October and we realized that we still had a long way to go.

We followed up Cup with the final event of the CFOA season, X-ball #6. We already had the series title locked up but we wanted to make a statement. We went into the finals, playing for 1st (never play for 2nd) and we dropped the ball. We took 2nd at the event. We checked out somewhere between the beatings we laid down in the pre-lims and the next morning. Holding a big series Cup abated some of our disappointment.

Mike Paxson pictured with team PR1ME. Pictured from left to right: Cameron McDonald, Jake "JP" James, Steve "Griff" Griffin, Mike Bianca, THE Mike Paxson, Evan Manners, Mike "Mikey" McGowan, Daniel Jones, and Chris "Smoker" Roark.

Pr1me is a team that never sits back and is always striving to get better. When we first started this team, we said we wanted to be like the Image of old. You never knew what they were going to do but you sure knew you were going to have a fight on your hands. Never trash talking but letting our game speak for us. We were a well "oiled" machine at Cup... but we needed to be more than that. We needed to be a well "timed" machine and we are far from that. We were firing on all cylinders at X-ball #6 but then forgot to put gas in the tank at the end. There is always room for improvement and we recognize that. And that doesn't stop in the off season.

Like most sports, Paintball is 90% mental. Its a chess match. You've got to get your pieces out early, hit hard and protect real estate. You've got to be multiple steps ahead of your opponent. Pr1me is evolving. In order to evolve, you have to have the right amalgamation of components to create an environment in which to generate that evolution.

We just had our first round of try-outs at the very beginning of the off-season. I feel we have added another dimension to our game with these pick ups. New blood, new looks, new skills. All good components. Couple that with the experience, familiarity and skills of the core team, 2011 looks very promising.

For me, personally, the off season has consisted of me spending time with my family. Getting up on Saturday mornings and cooking breakfast with the wife and watching cartoons with the kids has been something I have thoroughly enjoyed these last few weeks. I have put myself in a state of peace. The calm before the storm, if you will. But I am still training. I dropped 20lbs during the 2010 season in order to improve my game. I have since dropped an additional 5. I run intervals and stairs to increase my explosiveness off the line and increase cardio. I have been to the doctor regularly to track my improvements in health. I'm eating healthy. I work focus mitts with the children and shoot skeet to improve hand eye coordination. I hunt to tap into that killer instinct. I do all this because I am bringing my A game in January. I want my mind sharp and my body ready to be pushed to its upper limits. When I am on the field, that is all that matters, that is all that exists. That's my world. That's Pr1me's world. There is no off season... there is only the game. And if you draw us at an event... you can bet your sweet ass you're going to know you were in a fight.

Bianca pictured at center along with other members of team PR1ME shortly after defeating a very game NC Hammer to take 1st place at CFOA Xball 5.

Special thanks to PBUprising and KonorMedia for the ill photos.

Monday, October 18, 2010

What's Up With the "1"?

While the word "prime" does mean "first rate, of the highest rank," team PR1ME has sought more emphasis in the mathematical surrounding prime numbers.

A prime numbers is any number that is divisible only by itelf and one other number, in this case, 1. Another way of putting it "(of any two or more numbers) having no common divisor except unity: [for example ]The number 2 is prime to 9." ( Because the number is only divisible by itself, it is NOT a prime number. Extracted to a team concept, all members of PR1ME are united under the common single unit, the team.

There will always be a larger, undiscovered prime number than the largest one known today. To a team, this means we are always improving.

Every integer can be expressed is either prime or can be expressed as a product of primes. To the team, this means that no matter which opponent we face, we can always adapt and evolve to win.

This prime number concept is also in dedication to Mrs. McGowan, a high school and college math teacher and the patron of team PR1ME along with Mr. McGowan.

The actual usage of numbers for letters is actually called "Leet" or "Leetspeak" for those of you n00bs that didn't know.... More here:

Wow, my head hurts from all this learning.

Next time, we'll cover building a field and the difficulties that arise so that the next person may not have to encounter the same issues.

TEAM PR1ME: How It All Began

The team now known as PR1ME was never a guarantee. Most of the current members were teammates on a team called Red NRG for Division 3 X-ball in 2008. Red NRG was a union of members from the previous season as well as teammates from Mississippi and three former members of team Godspeed (a long-standing team from Alabama probably most known for its misguided pro-level venture).

The 2008 season saw Red NRG make steady improvement throughout the year, only to be halted by the then deep and successful Cross-Eyed Paintball program. Red NRG introduced many of the players to professional drilling regimens and incite courtesy of several professional players, including the Ironmen’s Mike Paxson for two events and Naughty Dogs members Kevin Fillers (now coach CEP Div1) and Adam Smith (now Aftermath) Many friendships were formed with teams like N10CDX and many of the CFOA staff. However, for various reasons, the team was not able to continue into the following season leaving many players unable or unwilling to start from scratch. This left nearly the entire roster off the field for almost the entire 2009 season. Some players still carried on enjoying the game, throwing lines together at local tournaments. Then World Cup happened.

World Cup motivated the team to “get suited up” and “bring the band back together again.” Many questions were asked that winter: Who’s still willing to play? Will all of those individuals be prepared to “do it right” this go around? Then, finally, where would we play? These conversations took place for the most part between Mike McGowan (current captain) and Mike Bianca. This new team would need a home.

A home it found in a beautiful 40acre property outside of Birmingham, Alabama. The McGowan family ranch or “the farm” as it is now affectionately called. On the property was built a level, sodded field equipped with drainage and sprinkler systems creating turf on par with most people’s front lawns much less paintball fields.

Most members knew this team would be the final chapter of most players’ paintball careers. Most had been on every team and hosted by every field in Alabama, Mississippi, and even Georgia. Mike Bianca, even ran his own field, Legends, in Mississippi. With all the sacrifices that had been made over a decade of tournament experience there would be no more dallying, no more settling, over-zealous or profit-seeking management, and no more tolerance for mediocrity. A unified desire to learn, win, and prove to the paintball world that grassroots teams can be built and flourish in the Southeast would be the foundation of the team.

This new team would now just need a name that could fit the bill.


Welcome to the Prime Paintball blog. This will be the official and the unofficial site chronicling the adventures and misadventures of team PR1ME. As well as the mental meanderings of its Captain, myself, Mike McGowan. In keeping with the paintball tradition of “Y’s” at the end of paintball greats (Rocky, Nikky, Matty, Shorty, Poopy, Ollie, Billy…) most people call me Mikey. This is also to distinguish myself from my Co-Captain and longtime friend, Mike Bianca; who will doubtless also be a contributor under his once-upon-a-time radio DJ alias, Electric WOP. Others from the team or guests may stop in as well.
Our intention is to let people know who we are, what we are about, and hopefully capture the ins-and-outs of what it takes to take a team from Division 3 into the paintball stratosphere. This web log will not just be limited to the team though. Other posts may include: pics, videos, tournament commentary, product reviews, or article-esque work (aka something approaching “real writing”). Perhaps we’ll explore this “Y” phenomenon or I’ll just copy articles from Tim Montressor (dude can write), Paxson’s pages, or Rich (Richy?) Telford. Then I’ll try to pass them off as my own. For example I could explore whether or not playing Call of Duty can improve your pball game; or I could try to keep it “realer” than Rich Telford; but then they haven’t invented HDHD yet…
Next article will cover the beginning of the nascent team PR1ME. Again, welcome to the Prime Paintball blog.