Paintball Access’ Matty Marshall sits down with new Los Angeles Ironmen Marcello Margott to discuss his new team, his struggle to get back to the top after his second knee injury in 2011, and how he thinks his team will fare in 2013.
This is Part 1 of his interview.
You’ve been signed for the Los Angeles Ironmen, again. How did you end up here? What are your thoughts on this particular move? I think it’s good for your career, I think it will most certainly help the team, but most importantly, what are your thoughts on this?
Well you know they say, home is where the heart is, and I started out my professional career with the Ironmen. They were a team I looked up to from a young age. When I was 10 or 11 years old, playing at my local paintball field and the Ironmen were out there every weekend and I would always look up to them. I’ve had a good relationship with Dave (Youngblood, the owner of the team) for a really long time.
My first team was actually called “Dye Kids” as a matter of fact. It was a team that I started and we played in the Best in the West Series. We played a little 3-man beginner and I remember we won a bunch of events that year.
How old were you at this time?
Oh, I must have been 11, maybe 12 years old, super young and running around in Dye gear. It’s been my favorite brand for the longest time. Like I said, I had a very good relationship with Dave throughout the years and ended up playing with Aftermath.
After Aftermath, I went to the Ironmen and ended up going my own way for a few years. I played with some other teams, such as LA Infamous and SD Aftermath again in the Pro ranks. I played with Red Legion in this last season and had this opportunity to be back home and I am excited to be here!
The first time you came onto Ironmen was in 2009?
Wow, that long ago. So you came in 2006 and then you ended up winning two championships with them right after that? Was that a dream come true type situation? I’m sure it was.
Oh, one hundred percent!
You were 17 at the time, correct?
Yes, I was 17 when we won the first one and I was 18 when we won the second one, two years in a row! Not only was I playing with the team of my dreams that I wanted to play with growing up, but I remember the feeling of winning the first one in 2007 with these legendary names, such as Todd Adamson, Billy Ceranski, Ryan Williams, Oliver Lang, Brandon Short, Mike Paxson, Nicky Cuba, and it was an amazing feeling.
Was Johnny Perchak on the team too?
He was actually.
Man, that was a stacked team!
Yes, it was stacked.
So, you started your career, you were a San Diego kid, SoCal baller original status and you worked your way up, played with Aftermath to start with, which was a So Cal team, then went to the Ironman, won two world championships, but, in your own words, why did you leave the team to start with? How did you feel about those years with Infamous and Aftermath again?
It was kind of one of those things where I thought, at the time, we were going in different directions I guess. I was younger, decisions were made more on an impulse rather than thinking it out and I just felt it was the right thing. Aftermath was going pro and that was my team going through the divisional ranks.
All my good friends were on the team, and I felt it was the right move. Infamous, actually, only came about because with Aftermath, at the end of 2009, we all heard that we were going to be merging with Infamous, that’s what was supposed to happen. It wasn’t supposed to be us going to the team. It was me, Alex Goldman, Steven Pitts, and everyone from Aftermath went to Infamous.
I remember our first practice when we got there and some of the guys from Aftermath were there. It turned out that they ended up keeping the Aftermath name around along with Infamous. It was kind of a strange thing, but it worked out and I made some good relationships and had some good tournaments. We won a few and did well, so I have no regrets at all.
It’s also one of those things, like you said, “Home is where the heart is”, where you just have to let your kid go out and see the world and do what you need to do. But now, you are very much a completely different player and also a completely different person than you were, well, I wouldn’t say completely different, but because of the paintball lifestyle, you have traveled around the world and you have actually had to deal with so many different teams, personalities, and people.
Now, over the years, you have grown up a lot. You may not be that old, you’re 22 now, but you’ve got the same age on your soul as somebody who’s considerably older because of the mileage you’ve put in. And what a difference a year makes. A year ago, you were wondering if you were going to be able to play paintball at the highest level.
Absolutely. I’ll never forget that feeling either. There have been some memorable feelings in my career and that was definitely one of them. But even with the severity of my knee injury and all that, I knew I would get back to playing paintball. I knew I would get back to what I loved because of the simple fact that it is possible to recover from those kinds of injuries as long as you put in the hard work.
You blew your ACL twice in the same knee, right?
Yes, both times in the same leg. Both from the same type of training and it was my fault. It was the kind of accident that can be prevented and will be prevented in the future.
What was it?
I was playing basketball (laughs), and to this day I don’t like to admit that (laughs). I said I was training, but I was playing basketball. I love playing in a league kind of sport, it’s great cardio, you’re back and forth. Any kind of sport I can do, I feel that if you can do good in sports, it benefits you. If you can have that competitive nature and you go out there and you can do good in something, it all ties into what you’re doing.
I mean, you look at someone like Antonio Gates, plays for the Chargers, one of the best tight ends ever in the game, came from the NBA. Same thing, if you’re an athlete, you’re an athlete, you love playing sports, and it is what it is. Like I said, I saw that I could recover from it and it was possible to come back and be one hundred percent.
I didn’t have much doubt in my mind, I knew I would put in the hard work, and it was a lot of hard work, still is a lot of hard work… You know, I still rehab my knee 3-4 times a week and I’m doing stuff for my legs, for my knees.
Does it give you any pain?
Absolutely. My doctors and physical therapists have told me that it’s something I am going to battle for the rest of my life. Any time that I go and train, I have to go home and ice it right away. I elevate it, I keep compression on it, follow the whole RICE procedure.
I’m fine with it, if anything, it makes me a better athlete because it makes me focus that much more on my legs, my speed, my agility, and knowing where my feet are. It hasn’t been a setback in my eyes. Of course, if I could have this same sort attention to my legs and not have an injury.
But I would almost say the same thing, if anything. Coming off of 2011, the word around the pro campfire was Marcello was inconsistent, he was kinda hard to work with, and his knee was suspect. Now you fast forward a year, and you are the most coveted Free Agent in the game. And Almost ended up the number #1 ranked player in the PSP.
Check back with us tomorrow for Part 2 of Marcello’s interview.
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