Wednesday, March 25th, 2015
Australia Super Sevens Round 1
by: Marcello Margott
Another trip down under is in the books and I would say it was a fairly successful weekend. The trip started with another one of those long 15 hour flights that had me arriving into Sydney at 8am Friday morning. I quickly breezed through customs, met up with my team and was on my way to the field. I was excited to catch up with all of my Australian buddies this weekend and see how the teams have progressed since the last event at Masters.
I would be playing with Sydney Explicit this time, only there were barely any familiar faces. We pretty much had an entire rebuild keeping only two players from last year so I was interested to see how everyone was going to Gel. Justin Cornell from team Impact was playing with SWAT and Justin Schwarz and Josh Myers from HK Army played with the Reapers. Not to mention team NVS who plays very solid as a together and won last years series with no imports. I knew it would be a tough event and likely we would be facing one of these 3 teams in the finals.
Saturday was the first day of games where we had 5 prelim matches. We were playing alright but you could tell there wasn’t much confidence in each other. The team wasn’t playing as a unit and the points we were winning was based on individual talent rather than teamwork. You will never win a tournament this way. After dropping only 1 game to SWAT given the fact that I thought we were playing at about 50% of our potential I wasn’t too worried.
Saturday night we got treated excellent by Mr. Whybrew and the Whybrew ladies! They invited us back for a nice home cooked meal and treated us to delicious steaks, kangaroo meatballs, thai salads, and all sorts of good stuff. This has to be another reason I love staying at Mikes, the hospitality is always great and its fun to catch up with him at his indoor home built gentleman’s bar! We always have incredibly intriguing conversation which is a great way to unwind from a full day of paintball. I think its becoming tradition to stay there and have a few whiskeys over life conversation!
Sunday morning came quick as the games over there start pretty early. The one downside to staying with Mike is he runs the league which means we must arrive at the field before everyone else. Ugh! Either way I was feeling good and ready to play.
We rolled through our last 3 prelim games beating team NVS very convincingly. Today there was a different vibe in the air with Explicit. You could tell the trust was starting to form and we were winning games based off pure teamwork. We were communicating well and making all the right moves at the right times. The team was finally clicking. Going 7-1 during the prelims put us into the semi finals with 2nd seed which lines us up against the other DYE team NVS, again.
This match did not go like our first one. One thing I have to give credit to these guys is their ability to chance their gamelans on the fly to match what you are doing. They do a great job of scouting games and have the experience to make the right call and switch things up so it was a back and forth mental battle the whole time. We ended up losing a close match which knocked us out of the event and lead us to ultimately placing in 3rd. As upset as I was, I was glad to see the guys on my team start clicking and playing well against the number 1 team in the Sevens league. Theres no doubt that we can’t win the series this year if the team continues to improve at the rate I saw in just two days. NVS went on to lose to SWAT in the finals, Justin Cornell had an amazing event and his team played very solid all weekend. Congrats to them, but the next one is ours.
Ah, Sunday night! Finally we would get a night to relax and possibly do some sight seeing. I went with the HK guys to Bondi beach where we rented a hostel that actually was a lot nicer than expected. After we checked in, starvation was kicking in so we went on the hunt for some good food. Walking along Bondi is like something out of a fairy tale at night. It was absolutely beautiful and the streets were lined up with restaurants and bars and we also had Benny Dawson from SWAT to come be our tour guide. We were set for the night! Though we had high ambitions, we ended up calling it a night shortly after dinner. I guess we are just getting old haha because after we ate and had a few beers my eye lids felt like they were holding five pound dumbbells so we decided to call it a night.
The next morning was probably my favorite. I woke up around 5:30am and decided to go search for a killer spot to watch the sunrise by myself. I walked down to Coogee beach which neighbors Bondi, and found a nice bench overlooking a hidden beach that was absolutely stunning. I sat there for a solid hour and a half processing the entire weekend and when it was finally time to head back to the hostel I felt like a million bucks. It was pretty meditative just listening to the water crash against the rocks while watching mother earth slowly awaken.
I walked back to the hostel and woke up LJ and Josh so we could go deeper into Coogee beach and find a nice breakfast spot before we had to leave for the airport. Sure enough, I got them up and we dove right in to the heart of Coogee. It didn’t take long to find the perfect restaurant right on the water with outdoor tables and the Australian beach vibe we were looking for. After realizing that I wasn’t dreaming, and that we were in fact having breakfast on the water in Australia at one of their most famous beaches, I came back to reality as our time was coming to an end. It was time to head to the airport and catch our flights back to the real world.
Australia continues to impress me more and more each time I go. The talent is growing at a pretty fast rate, teams are getting better, the league is growing and making the correct moves to be as legitimate as possible, the players are improving and you can tell that what we are doing has been helping influence the paintball community to grow together. That alone is a win in my book! I can’t wait to come back for Round two in May and see where everyones at!