Don’t Listen To The Failures
You can do anything you put your mind to. We’ve all heard this hundreds, if not thousands of times while growing up, but who really believes it? Often, people will tell you that it’s not possible for you to reach for the stars and make all your dreams come true. The people that say this do it to better themselves. They want to drag you down because they didn’t reach their dreams. I believe that with hard work and perseverance, you can truly make your dreams come true. Don’t listen to the failures; keep your eyes on the prize.
When I was in eighth grade my friends were talking about the game of paintball at the lunch table. I had never played the game before, but the conversation caught my attention. I went home and dug out my two hundred dollars of childhood savings and spent it all on low-end paintball equipment. The next weekend I went out to the woods with my friends and instantly fell in love with the game.
I was terrible at first. I think I played for multiple weeks before ever shooting someone out. I enjoyed it so I stuck with it and continued to play with my friends every weekend. I began to quickly progress and grew better than a lot of the people I had been playing with. Some of the better players and I decided to go to a tournament paintball field the next weekend to try our skills out on some better competition. The field was called Hyper Paintball Arena. It was an indoor course that was run by the national level team, Hyperactive.
We played for the day and did rather well. At the end of the day the captain of Hyperactive approached us about practicing with them sometime. Of course, we agreed and were back the next weekend. We played and got stomped all day long. They encouraged us and gave us tips and invited us to practice with them on a regular basis. Eventually, we got just as good as them and were invited to join their team.
This was my first big break. I went to the Chicago Open with them where we placed sixth out of hundreds of teams. I felt alive for once, like I was on the top of the world and nothing could knock me down. The next thing I knew my parents told me that we were going to be moving away to Tennessee. As you can imagine, I was devastated. I was on a mountain top and now felt like I hit rock bottom. I wanted to quit altogether rather than start over from scratch.
I couldn’t bring myself to do it; I had to stick with the game. I began visiting the local fields around Middle Tennessee trying to find a team to play for. Eventually, I was picked up by a team named Axis. I played an entire season with them in the CFOA. It was a new upcoming league that lots of hot teams were pulling players out of. Offers started to roll in left and right but none of them were on the level I was looking for. My dream was to get picked up by a national team, not one of these mediocre teams that I was receiving offers from.
When I was about to give up hope of making it, I got a call from Nashville’s High Five. I had tried out for the team weeks before and didn’t think that I was going to hear back from them. They asked me if I would like to start playing for them. Of course, I instantly accepted the offer.
I currently play for High Five and love every minute of it. We will be playing X-Ball in the PSP league next season, which is the largest league in the world. Recently, we even got the opportunity to play a venue on the Family Values Tour at Starwood Amphitheater in Nashville with the world’s best team, Dynasty.
I love what I do. Paintball has gone from being a game I enjoy to a nearly professional lifestyle. I get opportunities to travel all over the country and do what I love, even though I didn’t think I would succeed on several occasions. Work hard for your dreams. Don’t give up easy. You’ll spend your time wondering about how it could have been rather than living out your dreams. Give it your all and you’ll reach heights you didn’t know possible. This I believe.
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