Some people were born to do certain things here on earth. Justin Rabackoff was born to play paintball. Justin is, arguably, the best player on earth—yep, all 7,000,000,000 of us. Top five without a doubt. When he was a kid, just like most kids, this didn’t resonate with him. He didn’t seem to care about the natural talent his Rabackoff genes bestowed on him. But he excelled anyway, after toiling away in obscurity for a few seasons. This is changing, and now, at 23, he’s fully aware of his potential and the opportunities in front of him. How far will he go on the paintball ride? Only the fates know. But considering what he’s accomplished so far, what’s possible is kind of scary, huh?
“You get out, what you put into it.”
by Justin Rabackoff
I live by this quote in everything I do now. It wasn’t always this way. I admit, when I was younger I took for granted what life gave me, and didn’t take full responsibility for the things I did. The older I get, the wiser I get. I know, sounds super cliché, but I finally realized the things older guys told me when I was younger wasn’t just to hear themselves talk, but to help me help myself. There’s a quote that goes, “When you’re 18 you think you know everything, but when your 25, you realize you know nothing.” I’m 23 and I ‘m starting to get this now, at least, I’m trying. Every little quote, saying, or piece of information someone has to offer to me, I take to heart, whether it’s good or bad, and try to find the positive in everything.
It’s the only way.
If it wasn’t for my Dad, Steve, creating the image of the Rabackoff name I probably would have just come onto the scene and folded like most of these young players looking to make a splash, in this young sport. He was hard on me, but with good reason. I can’t let him down, I must take full advantage of what he has created for me and I will work as hard as I can to do so. He came, forged a path and did big things, so naturally I want to take it further. I try not to take life for granted any more, and I’ve worked hard to build a reputation in the game. Everyday, I push myself, not just for my betterment as a player, but for the entirety of Paintball as a sport.
Starting at the end of last year, as soon as I left the Russian Legion, and signed with Tampa Bay Damage, I’ve been on a mission: I drill 3 times a week and play every weekend, I created a Divisional team called DC Devastation, and I have some secret agent squirrel stuff I’m working on.
It doesn’t sound like a lot at first, but let me elaborate. Between the PSP, NPPL, and the Millennium I’ll hit 13 tournaments. I plan on playing the CXBL, so add another 4 events. Practice before each PSP, let’s add another 6-8 weekends. I have about 6 clinics booked as well, and plan on adding more as the year progresses. Let’s not forget about DC Devastation; I’ll be giving them about 10 weekends to train, mold them into great players. So we’re talking 39-41 weekends in the year of just strictly paintball.
I worked for this, I wanted this, and I can’t wait for the adventure. I’m rattling off these numbers not to show off or gloat about how I travel more than the average bear. I just want to show my dedication to the sport.
And more importantly, I want to let you in and see what it’s like to live a paintball life; I want to bring you on the journey. I’m on this ride and so are you, I’m going to work with Paintball Access to bring you as much of my story as I can.
I want Paintball to be famous just as much as the next guy, but simply wanting something doesn’t make it happen. We all have to help make the sport grow into something special. It takes more than just a few Pro players traveling the world and educating people. The guys who build regional leagues, people starting fields, stores, teams working their way up, are just as important, or more important, than guys who worked to be in my position. Everybody has to help the cause!
When I walk away from the sport I love, I don’t want to be just another player to play the game or “arguably” be the best player. I want to be the best player there ever was and ever will be. If the most World Cup wins by one person is 5, then I want 6, if the most tournaments won by a single person is 50 than I want 60, if the most Series Wins is 8 then I want 10. I’m not trying to be cocky at all, but why strive to just win 1 world cup or 1 tournament? I want to embrace what’s possible.
That’s exactly the attitude I take when walking on the field and I will not settle for less. There is no such thing as giving more than 100%, though everyone says it now, but I’m doing everything physically possible to max out my effort, to step out onto the field and give my team and myself the best opportunity to win.
And if this happens you’re going to hear the story here. There, inevitably, will be stumbles along the way, and you’re going to hear about those too.
2012 is going to be an eventful year, and you’re coming with me.