Tag Archives: Christmas

Friends in Low Places

(**** Photo Credits all photos contained in this post are from Valken ****)

I have friends in low places as in Low Country Paintball in Ludowici, Georgia. After a few years of persistence from Jester Court Productions, I was finally able free up my schedule, pack up the trailer and make the trip to Low Country Paintball for a weekend of fun to check out the field. The game was “The Finale: Return of Krampus” and was the battle for Christmas. The best part of this weekend was the charity aspect. I mean, what better way to spend your weekend than on the paintball field shooting each other while helping raise toys for kids.

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When asked what I love about paintball, I always answer with “exploring new fields and making new friends”. The key to growing the sport is making the trip to explore different fields and to make new friends.

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We pulled in late Friday night, set-up camp right next to A-Train from Valken (who put together an amazing video recap), then started to walk around. We got in late so walking the field was out. We walked around to see what else was going on. Following the music, we finally arrived to the building where everyone was taking cover from the cooler temps. Walking thru the door we ran across Jami Hubbell, Mike Paxson, Damian Ryan and Rocky Cagnoni, amongst many other players there for one common cause… “To help save Christmas for as many families as we could”.

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Waking up Saturday morning to 29 degree weather and a light frost on the ground is not what this Florida boy is used to but I did it for the kids. With that being said, I hightailed it to my truck to turn on the heat and warm up a bit before getting ready to go out on my morning rounds. We had the traditional “Rules of the Game” followed by the introduction of both Kringle and Krampus and we then scattered to go spend the last bit of time we had until we all entered the field.

 

Saturday on the field we met with several hurdles and a group of worthy opponents who provided more than enough resistance to make the game interesting and make the game fun. Nobody likes an easy win but also nobody likes a cheater either. Saturday brought us a give and take with it seeming like Kringle wasn’t getting anywhere and that’s pretty much the truth. Krampus brought it to Kringle, and he brought it hard as we could tell based on our field position. Now don’t get me wrong I’m pleased with everything we did on the field but I would have loved to do more.

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On Sunday we woke up to even colder temps so once again I took up residence in my truck for a bit to warm up before getting ready for play.  Once the game started who cared about the colder temps as it heated up when we all started running our asses off. Battling back and forth, trying to gain every inch on the field with no luck, we had to rely on final battle. Final battle brought it all out for everyone and we left it all on the field.

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For the first time ever in all the scenario games I’ve played, once that final horn was blown, both members from both sides walked off the field side by side. There was no “Man that was a cheap shot” or whining. It was a lot of “Man that was a great shot” or “great game”.  This made for what I’d say is one of my best experiences ever on and off the field at an event and I look forward to the next time. We had it all that day…… The weather, sportsmanship, but most importantly the feeling of being able to help families in need while playing a game we love.

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Budget-Friendly Paintballer Gifts

So as the holiday season is quickly coming up on us and my wife has been hounding me, I figure now would be a great time to put together a post containing a few cool items that you may want to consider for the budget conscious paintballer in your life.

 

1: Exalt Universal  Goggle Case – While everyone always thinks gear nobody really considers protecting that investment. The case not only has a cool looking exterior but microfiber lined inside to help protect the lense.

 

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2: Exalt Loader Case –  Loaders being one of the more expensive and necessary pieces for the paintballer in your life Exalt has stepped up their game and created a great looking functional case lined in micro fiber so it’ll help the loader from getting all scratched up during travel.

 

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3: Exalt Tank Case – Tanks being another expensive investment  they’ve now come out with tank cases. They went the extra mile and lined these in micro fiber as well to help prevent scratching  and preserve that new look to our gear.

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4: Exalt Carbon Universal Lens Case —  This was one of my first purchases when they came out. I always carry multiple lens and hated trying to transport them without scratching them. Now I don’t have to worry as the case fits my lenses perfectly and they sell individual dividers to go between the lenses as well.

 

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5: Exalt  Microfiber Pod Swab —  Definitely a must have  for those who are constantly having to wash their pods.  This makes it so much easier and really reasonably priced.

 

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6:  Exalt Barrel Case – One thing we love is our barrels. I’m guilty for having  several and find the case to be the best way to keep them organized and protected. This right here will be an investment for those who carry multiple barrels.

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All these items are manufactured by Exalt and look great. The best part is all the above mentioned carry a price tag of $30 and under so they won’t break the bank but they will keep that Paintballer in your life happy while protecting their investment.

Jingle Bikes for Kids 2013

With the holiday season upon us, I figured it was time to mention Jingle Bikes for Kids again. In 2012 we decided that we would rekindle a tradition in our family started by the wife’s father, which through the kindness of family and friends we were able to donate 12 bikes total. We were extremely happy with the way 2012 went so we decided to team up with Toys for Tots again for our 2013 bike drive. I know 12 bikes doesn’t seem like a lot but imagine being one of those 12 lucky kids who received a bike for the holidays and it makes it all worth it. This year we got off to a late start and are behind a bit but thru family and friends I feel as if we’ll have another strong year. The wife and I went a few weeks ago and put ours on layaway at Walmart and we’ll be bringing them home in a few weeks. The wife also did a blog post which seemed to spark a lot of interest do so I figured I’d write one as well to mention what we feel is a very worth wild cause. When going thru the holiday season this year remember even the smallest of gifts donated may seem inconsequential to you, but you may just make someone’s holiday the best it has been in a while. Please visit our Facebook page.

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Caroline Bike

The ultimate gift

It all started out as a friendly prank war between friends which got her the ultimate gift. She’s the only female player on our paintball team and yet she still hangs with the boys. She’s a tomboy, but still has her “girly” side as well. One day playing she broke her hopper and couldn’t play so we let her borrow one of ours. The one guy and I decided to have a little fun with her while we built her a new one. See the one guy that started helping me was the one she was in the middle of a prank war with so it was perfect timing. The two of us got together and decided we’d build her a super hopper, one that would last her a while, but still suit her girly side. We chose the Dye rotor as the platform for her gift because it had proven to be a product that was battle tested over time for us. We began by stripping it down to the shell and prepping it for paint. We needed to come up with a color suitable for her so we chose pink. I know it sounds weird but at the end of the day the color is actually pretty awesome. Then I enlisted the help of the wife and mother in law as we were going to make it personalized for her. After several brain storming sessions we came up with putting her name on it as well as all sizes of brass knuckles. After all she was the girly girl but still able to roll with the punches any guy would throw at her. Once that was done we purchased a new black color kit for it as the one it had on before was red. Moving on we reassembled the unit but didn’t do so until the day we were going to give it to her.

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Then next part was where it got interesting. A week prior to playing we decided to tell her we had something for her and I believe the exact phrase we used was “It’s going to be epic and tears will be shed”. She automatically assumed we were going to prank her and went in to defensive mode. Over the week she’d make comments like “I’m not feeling good” or “Can you give me a hint”? As it got closer to the weekend she’d ask for hints and the only one we’d give her was “It’s going to be epic and tears will be shed”. Becoming more and more fearful she then moved on to bribery to try and find out what her fate held for her. She made offers over the last few days ranging from her letting me ride her scooter to the offer of washing and waxing my truck for 3 months. I’m not going to lie but the three months of washing and waxing my truck was pretty tempting but I didn’t cave.

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Finally the day came to give it to her and we hadn’t a clue on how to present it to her. As she rolled up to the paintball field you could see the excitement and fear in her eyes. The excitement was because she love playing paintball and the fear was due to the fact that she had no clue about what was going to happen to her that day. Getting out of her car we all say hello and smile at her. She then gets a bit more nervous as we’re all talking amongst ourselves. Then it was finally time to present the gift to her and we chose to do it in a silly way. Two of the guys went and held her as I ran at her with something wrapped in a shirt. She immediately closed her eyes and braced in for something that she thought was going to be truly awful. Once I got within a foot of her I raised it up to her and said “Merry Christmas”. You could hear a sigh of relief from her as the guys let her go and she looked at my hands puzzled. We then unwrapped it and she was amazed at what she saw. It was her own hopper and personalized so there was no mistaking who it belonged to. She was pleasantly surprised and I thought there would be tears but there wasn’t. So the rest of the day she played using her custom hopper and everyone loved it.

So the end result for her was she misinterpreted our motives and our cryptic messages. She automatically assumed she was going to be pranked and not that we were merely giving her the ultimate Christmas gift.

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Have you ever had anything similar happen to you? If so how did you respond?

Coincidence or Fate

Not many know but this Dec 4th was two years since my father in law passed. A man who I admired for many reason. He lived most of his life from a wheelchair but that never held him back in the least bit. From opening and running several businesses and always making time for family no matter what. He loved the holiday and family much more which why I’ve chosen to do this post today.

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The past few months have been a constant reminder of how we all miss him but have decided to try and make a difference in our lives or the lives of others. As I previously posted this year the wife and I decided to create a tradition, one to honor his memory and let his spirit for the holidays live on. We’ve gone and bought two bikes and created a Facebook page called “Jingle Bikes for Kids”. The purpose for this page was to encourage those to take the time and consider donating a bike to “Toys for Tots” or any other charitable organization. After all the holidays are about the kids and who didn’t love waking up to find a new bike under the tree? He did love the holidays and all the joy it brought the kids.

On Friday Nov 30th 2012 the wife (who belongs to Yelp Elite) got an invitation to go attend a VIP party at Busch Garden’s (Christmas Town) an event that after going we knew it’s almost like it was designed for her father. The lit trees everywhere, Christmas carolers, sing-along train and many attractions are things he would have total enjoyed. Coincidence or Fate?

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Prior to going to Busch Garden we had extra time before the event so we chose to eat prior to going. Right next door to Busch Gardens is Mel’s Hot Dogs yet another place my father-in-law loved so we ended up eating there. This was actually the first time I had been there but I knew of the place. From the minute I walked in I knew why my father-in-law loved the place. See he was a huge Coca-Cola fan and the colors in Mel’s reflected that, not to mention the food is awesome. So after eating we made our way to Busch Gardens and proceeded to enter. Walking thru the entire time I kept thinking “If he were still here this is where he would have wanted to come for the holidays”. As we continued thru we came upon a row of what appeared to be small cottages which sold everything from Christmas ornaments to delicious holiday treats. The wife and I stopped at one to get a hot cup of cocoa and a cookie. While we sat there in soaked in the sights and sounds I couldn’t help but think of my father-in-law. I could totally see him sitting there in his wheelchair sipping a hot cocoa and eating a cookie while carrying on a conversation with Mrs. Claus. Yes….. Mrs. Claus was there walking around taking pictures with people, signing autographs and greeting all the little ones (who all were smiling from ear to ear). Continuing on we stumbled across a huge Coca-Cola sign there and once again we thought of him. He was an avid Coca-Cola collector and it showed. If it was Coca-Cola related he either had it at one time or still did. Walking thru the park we next stumbled upon the sing along train. We boarded the train which took us around the park at night. The train lit with lights and played Christmas music for all to sing along with. I sat back and watched as kids as young as five to people in their eighties all smiling and singing along. After getting off the train we walked back to the front of the park enjoying once again all the holiday sights and sounds. As we were leaving I couldn’t help but think of my father-in-law as the whole experience start to finish was something he would have enjoyed. Also throughout the night we saw many things that made us think of him and helped us remember why many people loved and admired him. So as my wife and I drove home discussing the events of the evening and how strange it was we couldn’t help but wonder. Was the entire evening fate or purely coincidence?

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Have you ever had a time where you felt like fate was the driving force in an event? Or do you feel as if it were pure coincidence?

The final countdown

With Dec 25th just around the corner we’re finding our schedules packed with all kinds of fun events. December 10th is the cutoff for our first annual Bike collection for Jingle Bikes for Kids and we have had a pretty good run for the first year. All in all we collected a total of eleven bikes to donate to “Toys for Tots” to help make some kids holiday a little bit brighter. For those who don’t know the story behind Jingle Bikes for Kids follow this link and you’ll understand why this was such a special project for us. This project started small as just Nanci and I buying two bikes and ended up with eleven bikes thanks to the kindness of those who were touched by our idea. For those who are interested in getting involved next year like and follow our facebook page.

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