Finding the Balance


by: Brandon Cornell - LA Ironmen #20

Many of us have or are currently pursuing some type of education. Whether it be in a classroom setting or learning new skills to use toward your job, it is crucial that you find a balance.

Playing in a competitive paintball league demands a vast amount of time and preparation in order to preform at the top level. The weeks leading up to the event as most of you know, can be tiresome and grueling. When your mind is constantly on the game is when it is most important to prioritize your activities. Juggling your tournament preparation with school or work can be a tricky endeavor. I’m going to share some of my past experiences over the years, which ultimately established a priority on achieving not only the best on the field but in all aspects of my life.

Four years ago, I embarked with the San Diego Pirates to play in the inaugural PSP. I had been anxiously waiting for an opportunity to expand from the regional tournaments and compete with the world’s best teams. It was my chance to gauge my skill set amongst other division one teams. At the time I just turned 15 and was a Freshmen in high school. I was unaware of the trials and tribulations I was gearing up to face.

Over the course of 4 years I attended every national paintball event, eventually turning “pro” at the age of 16. It was a long journey that only enhanced once I joined the Los Angeles Ironmen. Playing on the team, it was a dream come true. I was surrounded by superstar players/coaches such as: Marcello Margott, Alex Goldman, Steven Pitts, Alex Rodriguez, Coach Mike Hinman, etc., which ultimately allowed me to rapidly gain valuable insight.

Each player was outstanding in different areas of the game but there was one reoccurring trait that was instilled into each player’s DNA. I found that everyone of these “superstars” were resilient in the pursuit of winning. Winning is a trait that can’t just be applied to the paintball field, but a driving factor in all aspects of your life. It is the main factor that distinguishes good from great.

For me, it all started with being successful in school. Although some of you may not establish education as a priority, it should be. Striving to achieve excellence in all aspects of your life is the objective. It makes you a well rounded individual, which carries over to the game. If you are able to intellectually break down each situation, finding the holes in the opponent’s game plan, you will go far.

Your gun skills will only get you to a certain point, while the rest weighs heavily on your mind to constantly evolve new game plans based on the current situation. The resemblance between education and paintball is far closer than you think. By being forced to balance school, work, paintball, social life, etc. you are constantly being thrown curve balls, which makes you continually adapt.

Albert Einstein once said, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.” I firmly believe this in this philosophy and that it can be easily transitioned to the field. It is imperative that you take a step back and analyze your current situation.

There are many outside factors that come into play when participating in a national paintball league. There is an event just about every month and a half, and if you add in practice time, travel time, and drills, you are looking at a very small window for outside factors. At times it can be overwhelming, so it is vital you stay on top of your work load. Finding the balance between preparation for the tournament, the tournament itself, as well as many other outside factors is the key to success.

Paintball has taught me more than I ever imagined. It established a precedent that achieving your best is the only thing that is acceptable. Taking short cuts, only focusing on certain avenues, will prohibit you down the road. I am extremely grateful for the experiences I have encountered at a relatively young age. Hard work and being resilient in all of your endeavors is what distinguishes the good from the great.

I look forward to the journey ahead, with plenty of new experiences to come. I hope you guys are able to relate to some of the key concepts I analyzed, which will hopefully help you achieve your goals.

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