PBA Interview: Drew Templeton of LA Infamous Part 2

It’s taken Drew Templeton years to get the limelight he deserves, but he is now one of the most productive members of Los Angeles Infamous. With his timing, aggression, and consistent play he has become an invaluable member of the Infamous squad, and is one of the main reasons Infamous has been so successful in the middle the 2012 season, one of the most competitive seasons in recent history. Drew talks to Paintball Access’ Matty Marshall about the nature of why we play the game, and the complicated politics of switching teams.

This is Part 2 of his interview. Read part 1 here.

I remember when I first started playing paintball and I was pretty good at it right away and I was like, “Man, I really enjoy doing this”, and I was really passionate about paintball, this really interesting thing. I remember thinking, “I hope I don’t lose that”. You know? I really hoped I didn’t lose that spark of excited passion. And now here we are, 20 years later or whatever.

Thing I love the most is actually just playing paintball, but when you do it so much, get involved with it, the actual playing becomes such a tiny part of all the effort you put into doing it. I think that’s why people get burned out, because I’ll get burned out on the things that aren’t or don’t necessarily involve paintball, but are still part of paintball. That doesn’t mean I’m not still all about playing the actual game.

Oh Yea, absolutely. That totally makes sense. Because the whole rigmarole and all the politics.

Not to jump ahead but another thing I wanted to ask you about is you guys coming over from ‘Shock. That seemed to be like one of those situations where the exodus was not necessarily about the paintball. You guys fought back after getting stomped in the beginning part of the year, you guys did great towards the end there.

Talk to me a little bit about the transition from Aftershock to Infamous, because it seemed to be one of the biggest ones of your career so far. Maybe because it just happened, maybe they’ve all been just crazy and dynamic.

To begin this story, I went back to ‘Shock after playing for Vicious and I realized I was just getting kind of old. At the time, I was going to grad school and I still loved paintball, but the realist inside of me thought maybe I needed to get a real job and not leave myself out to dry, if we’re not getting like a 6 figure deal from Nike at the end of October. You know what I mean; you have to be realistic about this.

I decided to move back and Vicious was great, but I had to travel a lot to do that. I felt bad because I know in their eyes I just wanted to leave the team. I still put in all the effort and attended all the practices with Vicious, but with ‘Shock and Infamous, it’s a 40 minute drive for me, it’s not a plane ride every Friday, away all weekend and back on Sunday. That’s pretty time consuming you know. So when I came back to ‘Shock I had the mindset that this was the team I’m going to play on until we’re done playing paintball.

Everyone was there I liked playing paintball with, minus a few people, like Damien (Ryan) was still off the team, there were a few people who were off and on, Ian Martin was kind of off and on. There were a couple kids who played with us from Voltage who were still on the team for maybe one tournament but then left. All those guys were the guys that I wanted to play with, so I was like, “Ok, let’s ride this out.”

By the end of the year, I don’t know… it was hard, because on ‘Shock you would always hear, “Oh man, this is bullshit, or that is bullshit”. You know what though, yeah maybe it is bullshit, but I don’t know if it’s going to be any better in any other program, let’s just tough it out. It has no effect on whether or not we played good or bad at a tournament. If anything it should be motivation, that’s how I tried to spin it anyways; that we are still competing against these teams and they have way better money and they get to practice all these good teams, or whatever there might be to complain about.

So that transition at the end of the year… everyone was kind of finally fed up with it, I guess. I was really apprehensive about it and, honestly. I knew Infamous was a great team and they had some great players, but I was over the whole switching of teams.

Going from Avalanche to Aftershock I don’t really feel like it was switching teams, because it was all the same people. But going from ‘Shock to Vicious back to ‘Shock I was like, “This is getting old.” Then to go back the next season, I didn’t really want to be a part of that, but all my friends were doing it. Unfortunately there was a little turmoil, because not all of us were doing it. Nick Slowiak wasn’t going to be with us on that team and it was going to create some controversy which wasn’t something that I was looking forward to, because Nick and I are good friends, maybe not as good friends now that this whole thing happened, but I still think we are good friends, I don’t think any of us really hold a serious grudge.

Well, I can relate to you because I didn’t talk to Davey Williamson for 4 months. We went to middle school together, went to high school together, we played our first day of paintball together, we got on the Ironmen together, I even officiating at his wedding last year, that’s how close we are after all these years.

But I felt he stabbed me in the back at the time. Well, not necessarily me in particular, but yeah, kind of, since he was just a general asshole about the way he handled things when he was on the team, though he would say it differently. But because of how it went down, I didn’t talk to him for 4 months and then we had this ridiculously long and loud argument at a bar where people were constantly trying to separate us because it sounded, to them, like we were about to fight each other, but we were just old friends with a lot of water under the bridge hashing some stuff out. It will all come out in the wash dude, it’s just a tough situation.

My conscious is clear about the whole situation. I feel like, I don’t know, it’s hard to say everyone is selfish when they do things like this to some extent. Realistically no one would give a shit what you did if you sucked at paintball. You’d just be one of their friends they go out with who doesn’t play pro paintball. They’re not going to be worried about you wanting to go play for another team. If you have that one player on your team who is struggling you just cut them without even blinking an eye, but when he’s good and becomes a friend and you play with him all the time, it’s like you really start to develop that bond that if someone starts to suck again you don’t even think twice about. (Laughs)

I listened to you podcast with Houston Heat, with YaYa (Chad Bouchez) and Nick (Slowiak). Nick said, “Yeah, these guys always preach about ‘team team team’ and then they bounce from team to team.” Yeah, I do preach “team team team”, but I don’t preach staying with the same guys forever, no matter what happens. If guys aren’t a good teammate, or not putting the effort in to help the team succeed, I don’t have much sympathy for that. I preach “team” as far as the teammates I have, I preach doing the right thing and not being selfish. That doesn’t mean you stick it out if it doesn’t make any sense.

It’s tough, it’s never easy and there are a ton of different opinions on this. How long can you endure a certain type of misery? Obviously the paintball itself is fun, but if things are not going the way you want them to go in a program, then that’s when you might have to make a move. Or shut up, and put up with it. There’s no clear-cut way, it’s all grey.

I agree 100%. Going into our win at the end of the last year, we all had this “Fuck it” attitude. Not “fuck it” like fuck the team, but “fuck it” as in let’s not worry about anything other than what’s happening on the field, just play like badasses and say fuck it to the extra bullshit. And we felt that energy. And to win that tournament– it’s the best I’ve ever felt in paintball, to succeed despite all the obstacles.

Tune in tomorrow as Drew Templeton talks about his current rivalry with Houston Heat and Infamous’ win at the last event in Chicago.

Make sure to mark your calendars for August 10th -12th to watch Infamous and all the best teams in the world battle at the PSP Mid Atlantic Open, brought to you free and live by PaintballAccess.com.

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