The Ironmen’s Kyle Spicka takes us into a candid, first person account of what transpired during Day One of the PSP MAO for his team, currently ranked 4th Pro Division.
Day One: Monsoon Chaos
We get up groggy Friday morning at 5:30am, moving like sleepy turtles till we get some caffeine in our bodies, which we gulp down, content with the crappy motel coffee, which slowly helps open our eyes.
Ryan Martin, who is always the slowest strangler on the team, the guy we’re always waiting on, trails behind us with 3 plates full of continental breakfast, as we head out to the parking lot. He’s struggling to balance plates of muffins, powdered eggs and skinny bacon while dragging his gear bag to the van.
We usually get two vans per event, which is pretty standard for a pro team, and you get assigned a particular ride. I’m playing chauffeur for the weekend. My van piles in and realizes that the other van’s driver, our sideline coach Steve Humphries, is still sleeping.
Our Coach, Skinny Kevin is pissed, and it’s an early morning comic treat hearing him cuss and go nuts because, typically, he’s a pretty laid back guy.
We all laugh, but this not my problem, we have to get ice; and anyways, our van is assembled so I hit the gas, pinning it out of parking lot.
Post ice run, we make it to the field, and hear from the guys in the other van they’re 45 minutes away…. Ummmm, dudes, we play in 1 hour!
Steve had just flown in the night before, and hadn’t been to the field yet, so he was relying on Justin “LJ” Schwarz to show him the path… a path that took them 20 miles the complete opposite direction. Figures though; Steve’s driving the Space Cadet van with Alex Rodriquez, LJ, Ryan Martin, and Daniel Lopez (our newest recruit).
So after a mini freak-out, the guys from the On Time Van start thinking, “Whatever, we have enough people to play”. So we start preparing for the worst.
Luckily the guys get to the field with time to spare because the weather causes the event to start a bit late. 30 minutes goes by after our game was supposed to start and we’re standing there, packs filled and ready to rock, waiting for the technical glitch to get fixed.
We pace trying to stay focused.
It was supposed to rain today, but not until the afternoon, but the morning sky over Chesapeake City MD was slowly starting to look black and scary. The countdown timer hits 3 minutes and we start rolling onto the field. Of course, like clockwork, as soon as it hits 1:00, the sky opens up.
So it’s a classic Ironmen vs. Infamous match in the pissing rain to open up the 4th event on the PSP circuit. Gotta love that, if you’re watching from home. On the ground, we’re ready for an early tournament war. We really wanted this game, wanted to pay the guys on Infamous back for that ass whopping they handed us in the semi-finals last event. They knocked us out of Chicago, and now we want some revenge.
It doesn’t start out well — point one ends up in their favor and we go back in the pits to shake it off. Losing that first point never really messes with your head. Well, that’s what we always tell each other and ourselves.
We come back out for the second point when the rain gods decide to turn the faucet on full bore, it’s now completely pouring and I can’t see anything other than blurry shapes. No choice though, we just started the fight and we can’t let Infamous beat us again.
Going into MAO I had made the switch over to the Dorito side, this is a mutual decision between Coach SK and I. With my style of play, I like to take ground fast as soon as the opportunity is there. The Doritos were playing quick on this layout and I was capitalizing on that in practice and playing well.
I run out wide to the second tower on the Dorito side, mirrored up with Greg Siewers, who just a dark figure in the distance with the downpour curtaining the gap between us.
Paintballs are flying everywhere. I come pull in tight to the tower bunker. Not long after the back line judge runs in to pull me out; I must have been hit in the pack off the break. A slow point rolls through and we pull this one out.
So going into the 3rd point it starts to get crazy. As the point begins, we lose one off the break and Infamous picks off another one of our bodies very quickly. We managed to shoot one, which puts us into a 4 on 3, then they G up another one of our guys and start pushing down the field. Mind you, it’s a 4 on 2 and they are most likely going to pull this one out.
Out of nowhere the horn goes off to end the point. We don’t understand what has happened, especially when the point goes up on our side of the board. I’m not about to holler at the refs and complain. At the time, I think it’s a mechanical error from the water getting into the electrics and short-circuiting Infamous’ horn, accidently conceding the point.
Next point starts, Infamous comes down the field, taking us out slowly until our coach SK concedes the point. Also Infamous gets a minor penalty after the point.
But oddly enough, we are awarded the point again, this time, on the board at least, it’s 3-1 Ironmen. As we walk out to start the next point we have the advantage because they are starting with 4. Somehow, after the point starts we realize the penalty wasn’t in effect, and they started with 5. We win the point anyways, and the board shows 4-1 Ironmen.
All Hell breaks loose at this point, when everyone realizes the mistake. Infamous must have thought the score was 3-1 in their favor just on the wrong side and now the true score would be 3-2 Infamous. Everything is chaos at this point: water’s screaming down from the sky, thunder booms far away, scoreboards are malfunctioning and nobody can figure out what happened when.
I smile, thinking, “Well, the more miserable you are in the moment the better the story is going be later”.
After a prolonged break, they Change the score back to 2-1, advantage Infamous, and put 10 minutes back on the game clock. Frustrated and mentally worn out, we trudge back out there to try and restart our brains.
The next point, I’m standing in the tower shooting my gun unable to see anything because the smoke cloud of condensation coming out of my barrel was creating a square-foot sized smoke screen in front of my face. I’d shoot a couple balls and then stop to see where they went. Leaving the tower and sliding into the first Dorito, I begin shooting from the hip and just watching my stream of paint. My beanie is falling off my head, I’m shooting in the most awkward position, and can’t see 20 feet in front of me.
It was all kinds of a pain in the ass.
But we fight on, and the point goes by pretty slow. I catch a rouge paintball from who knows where. The match starts going in their favor, we manage to only put one point on the board before time runs out and they win 5-2 in the most chaotic game we’ve played all year.
Everything is miserable after it’s over, all our gear and guns are soaked, half of our pods have two inches of water in them, and I’m getting intense flash backs to the mudbog hell of Galveston, praying that the rain doesn’t continue to pound down.
I don’t care what anyone says, trying to win a tournament game paintball in a deluge, ain’t fun kids.
The rain stops, and after all the insanity we get our heads on the right track and go back out there to beat Omaha Vicious down 7-1.
One day down at the MAO, two more to go, as the year speeds on, and our young team gets the seasoning it needs to contend in the later rounds of the tournaments.