Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
The Best at What We Do
-Daniel Holliday #23
At the beginning of the year we felt all eyes were on us to see if we would still be top contenders after losing all our non-Florida players. So It would come to no surprise that at the start of this year we had a lot to prove to our sponsors, fans and most of all ourselves. The entire team felt confident returning to our core roster with Bryan Smith coming back and our longtime friend Raney Stanczak.
In 2013 we wanted to 1, cut down the roster to a size where the best players play the most. 2, prove to everyone in the paintball media that even though the majority of Damage players are not considered “loud, self-hyping players”, we still know how to win. Lastly, we wanted develop our existing players skill level so they could play anywhere on the field. I think it’s fair to say we’ve accomplished this.
After three 2nd place finishes in a row and 1 horrific 6th place, we all knew that the West Coast Open was a deciding factor of whether Tampa Bay Damage would still be a top tier team. Everything was going well for us the first day of prelims and we won both of our games with ease. All we needed to do now was beat one of the new challenger’s team to seal our spot on Sunday and that would free us up to have a practice finals session against Edmonton Impact.
Despite the paint shooting awesome out of our DM13’s, we just played bad the entire day. I honestly thought before our last prelim game against Impact that we would be out if we didn’t beat them. Luckily this was not the case, I was told in the pits before the preliminary Impact game that it did not matter won or lost. So it did indeed look like we would get our free finals practice against impact as the game had no bearing on whether or not we moved onto to the semi-finals.
Saturday night the team’s morale and confidence had never been higher despite Bryan Smith not being able to play as he became ill and had to be taken to the E.R. the night before our finals day. I really thought he was going to be a big contributing factor for us at the West Coast Open. Nevertheless we spent our entire lives proving people wrong and we were ready to put anyone into the dirt if they got in our way of winning.
Finally we admit to the truth, we are the best at what we do.
Oddly, winning the West Coast Open brought more relief than excitement; it reinvigorated our passion for the sport and completely dissolved that burned out feeling of constant travel and time away from our families. I am happy and excited that we won but unfortunately this feeling only lasts for about 6 weeks until we prove ourselves one more time at World Cup.
When you win World Cup, the feeling doesn’t just last a few weeks, it lasts a lifetime.
On behalf of the Damage organization I’d like to say thank you to all the great people and companies that have stuck by us throughout the years and made this whole dream a reality -
Protex, Social Paintball, Raza, Virtue, and of course Dye Precision.
Daniel Holliday #23