Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
Billy Wing and DYE in Guatemala:
Last week I finally made my first trip to Guatemala. After being there I can’t believe it took me so long. The country is called the land of eternal spring, and its name is every bit true. It is literally near perfect spring time weather, or perfect paintball weather year round. Before my trip down I was cautioned that it is quite hot during the day with occasional light showers in the early evening. With this in mind I packed for California or Florida hot, you know 90deg+. Well as it turns out real hot in Guatemala is about 72deg. But none of that mattered as the trip was amazing.
The first day was scheduled to be an afternoon meet and greet at Campo Gotcha with the players and do a little field walking clinic. But before that Cesar, the owner of Campo Gotcha insisted that we take the morning and learn some history and culture about Guatemala. So the morning was a weekend worth of sightseeing packed into half a day museums, churches, ruins, traditional foods, local artisans displaying their crafts. Luckily all of this was found in the historical city of Antigua. I may be getting old, but it was cool to see how much Guatemala respects their history, and is proud of their culture. After lunch we headed for the Campo Gotcha, and I spent the afternoon hanging out with many of the local players and helping to get ready for the tournament. Everyone was super friendly, and the field was one of the nicest I have ever been to. You can see that Cesar has truly put his heart and sole into his field.
The tournament was first class, the games stayed on time, good reffing, and great action on the field. I got lucky and was able to play with a more or less pick up team that needed one more player. Team Fruit Snacks as we called ourselves, was mainly a bunch of kids back home for the summer that hadn’t played together in months. As it turned out sometimes you don’t need practice just a little luck I guess. By Sunday afternoon we were in the finals against the local reigning champs, Armagedon. This made this even more fun because I have known several of the players on Armagedon for a while now. The first match was a quick full field attack and win for the Fruit Snacks. The second point saw Armagedon systematically pick apart the snacks from the snake side. And the final point ended in a trade out between the last 2 players, and the need for a tie breaker. So the match and the tournament were going to come down to a 1 on 1, me vs. my buddy Sebas.
Something to mention at this point, the field was surrounded by 15 foot concrete walls, barbwire, and guard towers for the reffs. The spectators watch from the top in skybox like seating. On Saturday I thought this was awesome, But now suddenly with the fans banging on the window from their skyboxes seats, and yelling in more Spanish then I can understand, I quickly started to feel like I am in some underground, no holds barred, pit fight to the death. Who knows, maybe I was about to find out just how serious they take PB in Guatemala. I started thinking about stories of soccer players being lynched after letting their fans down. If I win will they lynch my buddy Sebas for disgracing their country, or maybe me for being the evil American? I actually thought for a second maybe it would be best to lose this one. Before I could talk myself off the edge, and remember to turn my Rotor on the 1 on 1 started. In a quick back and forth gun fight (after I turned my hopper on) I was able to sneak a shot in on Sebas’s Rotor and claim the win. Luckily for me the fans apparently were happy with an exciting final and saw no need to lynch anyone.
I want to thank Cesar, his family, all the staff at Campo Gotcha, Armagedon Academy , my fellow champs the Fruit Snacks, and all the players I met that made this trip so much fun. I Hope to be back soon.