Aug 2, 2012

An Outsider's Perpective

At one time or another everyone wonders how they perceived by other people. Is my team any good? How am I doing? What do they think of this? Because people are genetically predisposed to be pack animals, asking questions and seeking the approval of others is human nature. Paintball players are no exception.

Every team owner / manager knows the frustration of running a paintball team. Paintballers are independent and tough minded; managing paintballers is like herding cats - difficult at the best of times. There are a lot of days when a manager feels like he is ice skating up hill. He wonders if all the time, effort, and money spent on the team is really worth it. To have feedback from an experienced player outside the local community is invaluable in letting the Manager know he is on the right track.

Andrew Konoff The Tippinators are fortunate to have Andrew Konoff, a “from away” (the colloquial name for a person born and raised outside the Maritimes) join the team in 2012. Andrew came to the Tippinators from western Canada and brought a fresh insight to the team.

Andrew was kind enough to spend a few minutes answering some questions to let the team know their strengths and the areas which need more attention. Plus Andrew shared his views of the state of paintball on Canada’s east coast.

Tippinators: You are new to Atlantic Canada where did you live before coming east?
Andrew Konoff: I was born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan. It was a big trip out here!

 Tipp: What do you do away from the paintball field?
AK: I work in online marketing – I’m a jack-of-all-trades, but I’m especially happy when I get to think up marketing strategies.

Tipp: You are a blogger, about what do you blog?
AK: You can check out my site at dangerpoint.net and see for yourself, there is a little bit about the tech world, philosophy, literature, travel, and a lot of funny YouTube videos.

Tipp: Where did you play prior to this season?
AK: Anywhere that had an airball field. Things are a lot more spread out in Saskatchewan, so we’d usually have to drive three hours to get to practice.

Tipp: In what leagues did you play out west?
AK: Most recently, I played in the MXL. Before that I played division 1 7-man in the MR league. Our crowning achievement was to beat Impact and then not get the flag hang.

Tipp: How did you come to join the Tippinators?
AK: The Tippinators are really visible in the Nova Scotia paintball community, so I decided to fire off an e-mail. One tryout later and I had a spot on the team.

Tipp: What did you think when you found out you had to use a Tippmann?
AK: I thought I might have flashbacks to when I first started playing! That didn’t happen, though. The Crossover is a really modern gun, and I’m really happy with its performance.

Tipp: What did you think when you tried the Crossover?
AK: Personally, I loved it. It felt solid and dependable, which are the two main things I look for in a gun. It’s really hard for a gun to stand up to a day full of X-Ball in rainy weather, and our first event proved that – even my Ego broke down. The Crossovers kept killing it, trouble-free.

Tipp: You have Atlantic Conference MXL events under your belt. How do the players on the east coast compare to the players out west?
AK: In the west there’s not as strong a sense of community. Every province is its own silo, every city has its own scene and group of players, that usually don’t keep in touch with one another. On the East coast, friends of the team were coming out to help in the pits and on the sidelines, and when they need help, the Tippinators deliver. That never happened when I played out west – you’d have to drive three hours to help anyone!

Tipp: How does the paintball compare?
AK: Impact was just such a distorting influence on the whole scene in the West that it brought up the level of ball an impressive amount. Having that many world-class professional players around can be really beneficial. However, it didn’t help all the teams. It really only helped if you lived in Edmonton or Calgary, which we certainly didn’t. We got our butts handed to us after the first season of the MXL.

Tipp: What was your first impression of the Tippinators?
AK: I didn’t know what to think – you guys rocked at X-Ball but shot Tippmans?!? Then I slowly realized that I’ve seen this before. People used to mock Saskatchewan for not producing any good teams. We stepped it up and won a lot of tournaments, and eventually people started respecting us. It’s great to prove that it doesn’t matter where you’re from, what you shoot, or what type of ball you play – if you can bring it, you’ll bring it.

Tipp: What do you think of the team after two events?
AK: I think there isn’t a more disciplined and kinder group of players in the league. I was really nervous about playing again, and I worried that I’d get in a funk before I kicked my rust off, but everyone made sure I had the chance to prove myself, and eventually I got into the swing of things.

Tipp: You have said that the Tippinators are the most professional team on which you have ever played. What made you say that?
AK: Well, because it’s true! Everyone thought it was hilarious when I said it, but I truly believe it. Every player on the team is on the ball and interested in doing as best as they can, but nobody’s so worried about winning that they forget about how much fun paintball should be. It’s really a great dynamic, and a great group of guys.

Tipp: What does your paintball future hold?
AK: That’s a really good question. I’ve got a lot of growing to do - a lot of learning to work with my team-mates, a lot of learning to be patient, a lot of learning how to calm down and stay focused. I think the Tippinators are going to help me learn those lessons, and I think I’m going to enjoy it immensely.

Tipp: Thank you your kind words and for taking the time to give the team feedback. Best of luck to you for the rest of this season and in all of your future endeavours.

Andrew Konoff