Mike Paxson: The Wheel of Death Part 01


So you are coming off of the Mid Atlantic Open and you guys had another frustrating performance. You know it’s one of those deals where you guys have a young team and a lot of talent. You guys always look good in the preliminaries when the talent is hitting on all cylinders, when you guys look crisp, and you guys are doing what needs to be done, the you hit Sunday, and it’s just… it’s kind of like you hit a confidence road block. How did you feel heading into Sunday at the last event?

Well, going into Sunday you always feel good, that first game going into Sunday I feel like we played well. We don’t play great, we don’t play any Fantastic or anything, The problem was I feel that we started out too slow. In the game we lost to knock us out, if we were two points up the penalty wouldn’t have mattered shit. If we were just two points up it wouldn’t have mattered.

Yea, you guys seem to get a slow start on Sunday.

We always do and I don’t know why. There is no reason for why we should… But we do we get a slow start on Sundays and then we come up a little too short on most of the games. You know it’s two times now, that we have been knocked out of Sunday because of a red flag and they have both been Shorty (Brandon Short) and they have both been the same ref. That is always fun. (laughs)

(laughs) Quick interlude, what happens on the Ironmen, to a player, if they get hit with a major penalty? What is going to happen to Shorty?

Well, Shorty, well you know, we can’t blame Shorty too much; he is trying to get in there and win the game.
Yea but,
But all that aside, you break the deal, you are going to face the wheel. So we have a speed feed and on the bottom side we wrote all these horrible things you have to do.

On a Rotor?

Yeah, on a Rotor speed feed. So, you spin it, you pick one little tab and you tear it off. And you look at it. And that’s what you get.

What are the options in there?

Well, there is “Hot Hands”, where you take your barrel and you put your hands over the barrel and you shoot your hands. Both of them.

I thought that was the “Crucifix”?

No, that’s just “Hot Hands” where you have to shoot both hands. “Crucifix” is where you have to stand there with your arms out, like Jesus on the cross, and you get both hands shot by a member of your team
One of your Homies?

Ya, one of the homies, and both your feet. Then we have “Silver Surfer”, that one is my favorite, I think it will be the most pain. All you get is board shorts, knee pads, elbow pads, and goggles. And you have to play 7 points. And it doesn’t sound too bad, “Ah man, I can hide”, or something. But you have to remember, we are playing another pro team and like you see Shorty in a t-shirt or no shirt and if you have to run to the snake you are going to get it. Or if you have to stand up out of the snake…

(laughs hard) So the “Silver Surfer”, that’s classic..

Ya, the Silver surfer.

This is awesome; every team should do this. Who is coming up with these?
Um, we had Mikko, Me, and Skinny, we were all sitting down one night and we just came up with some real good ones.

Talk about paying the toll! So what else is there? There is just the simple “Circle of Fire” right?

Well, there’s a re-spin, so let’s say you pull one tab off and it says “re-spin” and a “Ring of Fire”, so you get a “Ring of Fire” immediately, then you gotta re-spin again.

So what’s the “Ring of Fire”, for everyone who doesn’t already know?

You stand about 10 feet away, dead center chest shot, the paintball makes a little bloodring, so we call them a ring of fire. Anytime on our team you get a red flag, you get a “Ring of Fire”, it’s just standard, no big deal.

So when do you have to spin the wheel now, what sort of disaster has to happen for you to face the Wheel of Death?

Well the Wheel of Death, we call it 3 strikes. So you’re late to practice, that’s a strike, you also get a ring of fire, but you also get one strike. Soon as you get 3 strikes, you know, from all kinds of things, you show up to practice with no gear, or you’re not prepared, that’s a strike.

Miss a flight?

Miss a flight, oh that’s instant spin the wheel. Yeah, because the kids thought it was funny in the beginning like “Oh hey don’t worry about it, Skinny will take care of us, no big deal of you miss your flight”…WRONG, spin the wheel. So since then, no one’s missed a flight.

(laughs) WEIRD.

Everyone missed a flight the first few tournaments, now nobody’s missed their flight since, obviously you don’t want to face the wheel.

Whose been burnt the worst by the wheel?

We’ve only had one spinner this year, Ryan Martin, and he got away of sooo easy.

No way.

Ok, so there is one get out of jail free card and a Ring of Fire. So he got a re-spin, and a get out of jail free card.

He’s soo lucky. (laughs)

Dude, he was sweating, he was literally sweating as he spun the wheel.

Well, that’s the best thing that could have happened to him, get shot with one Ring of Fire, and a re-spin, aww that’s so lucky, what did he do to have to spin?

He was late 3 times, he got 3 strikes immediately and the bad thing is to when you go into Camp Pendleton, if you come on too many times – and the kid plays paintball too much, if he gets his little card stamped too many times coming on to Pendleton, they wont let him on, and we’re sitting there like – you know he’s saying, “Somebody has to come pick me up” and we’re like “You got 5 minutes to get here!!” You know, ‘cuz we ain’t going to be late! So he’s outside camp Pendleton like, “Shit, somebody!!” and we are all sitting there laughing.

And then Skinny goes to get him and bring him back on base; but one time Skinny went to go get him, came back and the guard was like, “Hey, you’ve already been on base, why are you coming back on base”? So someone had to go get Skinny and Ryan and bring them both on base. So it was just so much fun and we’re sitting there laughing. It brings stuff to the team, everyone’s sitting there with their clocks waiting, saying, “Who gets a ring of fire, who gets a strike?!” So it’s good.

That’s good on multiple levels: A- last thing I wanna do is a “Silver surfer, or a “Crucifix”, I don’t want any part of that.

“Ring around the rosie” isn’t any fun either.

What’s “Ring around the rosie”?

So everybody on the team gets one Loader, and they all have to touch the center 50. You basically run around the field from corner, to corner, to corner, and once you touch that last corner, you’re done. As you’re running by, everybody gets to shoot you.

Oh so it’s training too.. (laughs really hard)

Yeah it’s training, you gotta be fast, you’re getting trainwrecked by everybody, so yeah that one was pretty bad too, but it’s good too, because all the kids are scared to be late.

That’s a real good thing to have.

Now everybody’s got their guns, everyone’s ready to go, it’s awesome.

Oh that’s so good, yeah and it’s good because again you got that younger team and stuff like this builds camaraderie and makes sure everyone’s minding their – dotting their “I”s and crossing their “t”s.

And it’s for everybody too, if I’m late 3 times, I got the same shit.

Same rules as everybody else has for sure.

Live and die by the sword, you know? So it’s good, so you know it’s not like there’s a full hierarchy, I mean there is, but there’s not, everybody gets the same treatment.

But it’s interesting, you know a lot of people out there are probably in the position of the younger guys on your team, or they’re in your position- maybe they’ve spent a little time in the game and now they’re 3 or 4 years deep into their career, and maybe they aren’t on a pro team, but they’ve been around for a little bit. So it’s one of those things where nobody really knows – it’s kinda one of those things where there’s not a lot of old men to consult in this sport about how you’re supposed to do things- win tournaments, act right.

That’s why we teach clinics, that sort of stuff, but you are one of those like old men. I mean, you’re not old yet, but you’re old in the sport and have been around for a long time. So how is that? Being one of those guys who has to be a bridge between the coach- you know Kevin’s doing a great job coaching you guys – and you got all these younger players who, honestly, weren’t performing on Sunday, but they are getting better, but it’s just a building process. How is that being that guy in the emotional leadership roll?

Well you know I always try to have fun, so if you’re not having fun then I feel like this whole things just a waste. I really try to lighten things up and do stuff, but they’ve all seen me get serious, and they know it’s time. So when I get all serious, obviously we are not doing the shit we need to be doing. So I think the kids kinda read me and they know, “Oh hey Mike’s f*cking around, it’s practice, he’s playing games, having a good time” or all of a sudden we are at a tournament and they see serious face and go “Ok, lets get straight, let’s get serious”. So I think they kinda look at me and know when it’s time to play and when it’s time to get serious.

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