The first time I ever played tournament paintball was back in 2003. Today, 2 years after joining the 187, crew I am still the “new guy”.
Starting out I played on a team that consisted of my brother, father, and two friends who had never played before. We decided to jump into the NEPL, which at the time was one of the biggest tourneys in New England and usually consisted of about 55 teams in the novice division alone. I don’t remember much from those days but the most vivid memory was by far playing against 187 crew, at the time playing under the name “Friendly Fire Factory”. I remember seeing their jerseys and my dad looking at me saying, “These guys are way too clean to have been playing all day”. I found out years later it was because they were on a winning streak of 48-0. In our opinion, they were unstoppable and they made sure to show us this by beating us in less than 30 seconds. They finished the point by sending two players down the snake side to bunker me out and make a statement. It wasn’t until years later that I would find myself calling these players my teammates.
Two years ago 187 was looking to “raise” a new snake player. I just happened to be the local kid who was willing to commit to learning and listening to what they had to say.
Being the newest member of the team I have learned why 187 Crew succeeded for years over many teams in the northeast. Although I don’t think the success can be pinpointed on any one thing, I think that teamwork matched with excellent game planning has led to the team’s success. I personally always believed that having a roster full of superstars was what made a winning team. I would look up to pro teams at the time and think that the reason they won was because they had big name players. Making game plans before a match was also something that I didn’t think was important because I thought the plan would be ruined by the quick pace of paintball. Later I realized that my opinion was actually the exact opposite of what makes up a winning team.
The first thing I was taught after joining 187 Crew was how to plan a game so that everyone is on the same page. Before every D2 match our team captain would draw up about five to eight game plans and we would then go over them and discuss if we thought they would work. That way once a match would begin there would be no confusion or arguing of who is playing when and what each player was doing. This also lead to not relying on superstar players as much because the team would have a common goal (whether it was a snake or dorito side push) and everyone would know who was watching what lanes. Therefore winning came down not to superstar moves being made, but instead how well the game plan was executed as a team. Although I’ve seen every player on this team step up at one time or another, I don’t think any of us would deny the fact that when we win, it is mainly because the game plans worked. It doesn’t matter whether you play on a team with family, co-workers, or friends, If you go into a game with a plan and execute it against a team that doesn’t have a plan you will win the majority of the time. Throughout 187 Crew’s history I have seen this time and time again. Every time I went to a tourney against 187 they would be a top 2 team. Yet strange enough, I only knew one or two of their names. There rarely were big name players on their team and they always relied on their game planning and teamwork to win matches. This is why I believe game planning was the first thing on their list to teach me. To them, it was and still is the most important aspect. Our team owner Dave has worked hard to keep teamwork and humble players the basis of 187 because that has been what has worked for them throughout the team’s history.