PBA Interview: #41 Dave Bains of Tampa Bay Damage

In the past ten years Dave Bains has won 6 championships. The 6 is not a typo, an exaggeration, or hype. He has played for the who’s who of paintball teams: Avalanche, XSV, Dynasty, Red Legion, Damage. His stint on these teams coincided with some of their most successful years. When you add those stellar performances up, you could make the argument that Bains is the best player of the past decade. It’s a fact that Dave Bains has been personally more successful, in terms of overall titles than any other player in the same time period. Paintball Access’ Matty Marshall picks his brain about how this happened, and about what’s going on with his current team, Tampa Bay Damage, who after winning the first event of the year– making it 3 wins in row– have not played up to their own standards in the past two events.

This is Part 1 of this interview.

How did you come to play for Damage in the first place?

Joey is the manager of Damage, and he had asked me a few times to come over to the team, over the years. He implied at the time, “Hey, if you ever want to play, come on over and let’s combine forces.” So my contract was up with the Russians and honestly, not to go into too much detail, I kind of saw the changing of the guard with the Russians. Which is what you’re seeing right now. It’s not like their coaches and I were butting heads or battling, but it wasn’t where we needed to be. It was time to go.

So I thought at this point I was going to be done with the PSP. With the Russians it was such a time sink, you had to go for a week, sometimes two weeks in a row, to practice and see the guys. So after doing that for 4 years, that’s what the series had become to me, at least a ten-day adventure every tournament. I was kinda over it. I wanted to start a family, I’m a business owner; it was hard. So I quit the Russians for, like, 3 days and then Joey called me up and asked if I wanted to play the first event for Damage.

And this was in 2011?
Yeah, all the years seem to flow together, it’s sad. (laughs)

Right. (laughs) It’s called getting old.
It’s funny though Matty, all the years flow together, but I can remember almost every paintball tournament, lose or win, I remember the games vividly. It’s hilarious.

The games are viscerally imprinted on your cerebrum, because it’s so intense.

A buddy of mine Hayman Chapman, who played with me on the Russian’s for 3 years, we still talk about all the funny stories, because he was my roommate, you know. There was this one event where he thought we should have been playing more, he brought it up, thought we should have started. The thing with the Russians is as soon as they lose a point or two, they go all Russian line. Doesn’t matter if Me, Matt Blondski, Justin Rabackoff and Hayman are playing insane paintball, they’re going all Russians. I remember we played an event against Infamous a long time ago, and we’re winning 6-3 and they just kept throwing the Russians at them, and we kept losing points and I thought, “Man this is bad, this is really bad”, so I went up to Coach Max and said “Can we please put someone else in? We’re losing two to three guys off the break.” We lost 4 in row and Infamous won the event.

So yeah, after I left, I was a bit of free agent, and I’ve always been a “fly by the seat of my pants” type guy in paintball. So I thought, “Why not?” I’ve always liked the guys on Damage, had tons of respect for them. It’s a decision I’m really happy with. I’m having a bunch of fun. Seriously this team is one of the most talented teams, if not the most talented team I’ve ever been on.

And that’s saying something, because you’ve been on a lot of talented teams.

Exactly, and I’m not taking anything away from any of the guys I’ve ever played alongside. That being said, the best player I feel I’ve ever played with is Mishca (Mikhail Knyazev, currently on Houston Heat), and he’s not on this team, but just the weapons Damage has, the mixture of guys, I want to say this is a perfect mixture. But the problem is, it’s all about mindset.

Even if all the other teams have the right mindset, right chemistry, I’m talking about the big teams, Heat, Dynasty, Infamous, Russians, I feel with this team I’m on now, if we’re in the right headspace, no one can beat us. I really do mean that.

That’s not just some boastful taunt or a giant stretch of the imagination, you guys did dominate late last year/early this year, until you dropped the ball for one day in Phoenix. You guys didn’t lose a game for three events, winning those 3 tournaments. That’s pretty amazing given the level of competition out there right now.
Yeah, we did drop the ball at that event, exactly, and Sadly you’re not supposed to look back at things like this, but I still think about that event. The worst thing about Phoenix was we went from walking away with a win the day before (two events were finished at the same tournament, due to the rain out in Galveston), to struggling and trying to fight back against Infamous and X-Factor the next day.

But those are both good teams, it’s not like we got beat up by anybody. We lost by one point to both of those teams. Look at Infamous– they’re on a high right now. They’re extremely confident and are playing off that confidence. They have that great chemistry going, you can move mountains when you’re on the same page, and I feel they’re all on the same page right now.

They are definitely hitting their peak. Who knows how long they can stay at the top? They played some fierce paintball in Chicago. If they keep playing like that, they could run the table this year. Let’s go back to the beginning of the year, you came off an incredible performance at World Cup last year. Damage picked up Justin Rabackoff in the offseason, and you lost Mike Carthy. What was the mentality of the team the beginning of the season?

We were confident; Justin is a great paintball player, one of the better players out there, on a short list of great players. And losing Carthy was a big loss. From a Back Player’s perspective, I have a lot of respect for Carthy. for what he can do. Matty, when I’m playing against you or another really good gunfighter like Carthy, I have to respect them, but with other players, no offense, but guys who I don’t respect as far as ability is concerned, I’m going to have my way with them, bully them around with my gun. With Carthy, playing against him for years, the guy has a dirty shot.

Yeah, a wicked, wicked shot.
He’s the guy who can throw his gun over his shoulder and take one shot and you’re thinking, “There’s no way that’s going to hit anybody”, and then he shoots the guy across the field. So losing Carthy, from a player perspective, was a big loss to the team.

What happened with that? Not sure if you can really even talk about it…

There was a little difference of opinion between players and management and Carthy got a little complacent, to certain extent of certain things. Some people need time on the field; Carthy isn’t one of those guys. He didn’t need as much time out there as say Keith Brown or Jake Edwards, not taking anything away from those kids, but they’re newer; the longer they’re out there the better they’re going to do. I think it was just a difference of opinion. I didn’t want to lose Carthy as a player, and it happened at the first practice of the year. It’s tough though, you move on.

But going back to the beginning of the year, we picked up Bacon, Justin Rabackoff, I’ll call him Bacon, make sure everyone calls him that…

Picking up Bacon was huge for us, because he such a great player, because we lost others players too, like Bryan Smith.

Yeah, Agent Smith, he’s a killer when he’s on his game. What happened there?
He has a job as a fire fighter. He got transferred to a new, better department closer to home, for more money. And now he’s back to Rookie status, cleaning fire trucks. It’s harder to switch schedules when you’re the low man on the totem pole.

Is he coming back or is it permanent?
When someone takes a break, you never know where their mind is at, if someone is going to come back. He might have taken up golf for all I know, the good thing about it is he still sends texts out to the team, saying stuff like, “Wish I was there.” So that’s good. But you never know when it comes to getting up early and coming to practice over and over again getting ready for an event, using all your time off. We’ll see, only time will tell.

Come back to Paintball Access for Part 2 of Dave Bains’ talk with Matty, coming at you later this week.

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  • Evan Feldman

    Great interview, cant wait for part 2!!!!
    Gooooooooooooooo TAMPA BAY DAMAGE!!!!!

  • Tim

    It’s kind of sad how these professionals at the very pinnacle of paintball still need to take time off work to compete :(

  • Jmiah

    why didnt dave play in chicago?