#htmlcaption1 Woodsball Big Games Tournament Paintball Where Do You Fit In? More Paintball Tipps

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Woodsball Hero By: Jordan Ricks RECON

Name: Bruce "Charon" Johnston
Place of Birth: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Current Hometown: Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia, Canada
Special Ops Brigade Name: Charon (Brigade ID# 15444)
First Time Playing Paintball: Early/mid 80s
First Paintball Gun: Plastic Splatmaster with 12-gram CO2 in the grip and 10 rounds on top. It was almost as effective as a slingshot compared to the guns today.
Current Paintball Gun: Tippmann A-5 with E-Grip, APE Rampage board, JCS double trigger, JCS Red Hot power tube, Hammerhead barrel, SpecOps MP5 mag, SpecOps A-5A2 foregrip, SpecOps Longbow stock.
Inside the Hopper: DraXxuS

One evening in the mid 1980s, Bruce "Charon" Johnston was flipping through the channels on his television set when he came across a news report on a budding activity called "the national survival game", also known as paintball. He was interested immediately in the young sport and set out to learn more.

Bruce discovered that a paintball field called Splatshot was about to be opened near his home in the picturesque Maritime community of Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia, so he made plans to attend the grand opening. He read everything about the sport that he could get his hands on and studied the safety requirements in preparation for his paintball debut. On Splatshot's first day of operation, Bruce quickly discovered that paintball was a perfect fit. "It was the biggest adrenalin rush I'd ever experienced," he exclaimed, "and since that day I've never looked back."

His conversion to paintball was a fulfillment for Bruce and a coup for the sport. While the game feeds his social, physical and competitive needs, his playing abilities, friendly demeanor and moral character tend to elevate the level of play and the standard of conduct among opponents and teammates alike. Though he denies having such influence, the bottom line is that Bruce makes the game more fun for those around him. "Bruce is always looking to help other players and make sure that everyone is having fun," affirmed his long-time friend and teammate, Scott "Hired Gun" Knowles.

An unabashed optimist, Bruce operates with boundless energy and a determined "can-do" attitude. He claims that his upbeat mindset is a direct byproduct of being happily married to his "one true love," Christine. "Thank heavens I'm married to the most tolerant, understanding woman on the planet," he added, "or I wouldn't be able to enjoy this game as often as I do." The couple's 14-year-old son, Josh, is already an accomplished paintballer who often plays alongside his justifiably proud father.

When Bruce isn't playing paintball, he spends his time promoting the sport, local fields and events, and even fellow players. He also enjoys playing golf, hockey, fly fishing and writing about paintball. He produces a steady supply of excellent paintball articles that are a favorite among players.

A veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces (Royal Canadian Regiment), Bruce has a keen understanding of tactics and strategies. His training as a sniper has made him particularly adept in woods, and he utilizes his expertise not only to constantly harass opposing woodsball teams, but to teach others. He seldom misses an opportunity to mix it up at the local field, Mersey Road Paintball (www.merseyroad.com), and claimed, "This [the woods] is my home away from home."

Although Bruce first started playing paintball in the mid 1980s, it wasn't until the formation of the Tippinators paintball team before he began to receive widespread recognition within the paintball community. In October of 2005, Bruce and three of his woodsball teammates, Knowles, Austin "Juno" Flaherty and Bryan McClare entered an OKSportz rookie/novice 3-man speedball tournament at Mersey Road Paintball.

Despite being at their home field, the three experienced woodsballers were far from feeling at home. Dressed in camo and carrying mil-sim Tippmann A-5 markers, the players stood out like Swedish tourists in Somalia. In fact, tourney officials politely tried to redirect the misguided recballers to the woodsball field at first, but Flaherty good-naturedly reassured the event organizers that they were there to play in the tournament.
Though unfamiliar with the speedball game, Bruce and his cohorts saw no reason for not giving tourneyball a try. "We didn't go out there to prove anything or make any bold statements," Bruce recalled. "We just wanted to have a good time and stay true to our team motto: 'Shake hands, play hard, have fun, make new friends, and remember that it's just a game.' Given our love for paintball," he continued, "we viewed speedball as another venue to have fun, and that playing the game would help us to hone our skills."

The team finished 8th in a field of 16, but they won the respect of their opponents and spectators with their fun-loving approach and impeccable honesty. The woodsball team's conduct re-emphasized the principles and spirit upon which the sport was founded, and provided a glimpse of the game's potential to those in attendance. In fact, the band of woodsballers did make a very bold statement, which continues to reverberate within the sport today.

The tournament marked the birth of the Tippinators and vaulted Bruce into the public eye where he has since become one of paintball's most influential goodwill ambassadors. Additionally, the Tippinators have since become one of the most respected teams in paintball. (The Canadian paintballers still compete at speedball tournaments with mil-sim A-5 and X7 markers, in addition to their regular woodsball play.)

In conjunction with the majority of woodsball teams across Northern America, the Tippinators have been on the cusp of a "resurgence of honor" within the sport; evidenced in particular by teams that participated in the Scenario Paintball Player's League (SPPL). Paintball never suffered a shortage of honorable players, but rather, a shortage of media coverage of honorable play.

Paintballers like Bruce have been hungry to bring "honor" back onto the public stage. Thanks to his example and the collective efforts of others who respect the game, paintball's "integrity" has resurfaced like an oxygen-deprived swimmer. Bruce didn't single-handedly resurrect paintball's honor, but he certainly played a role in its revival.

In combination with his considerable talent, Bruce's military training, knowledge of the sport and years of game experience make him a valuable teammate and a formidable opponent on the paintball field. Though his skills and unselfish characteristics warrant a call sign more along the lines of "Bruce Almighty", the humble captain of the Tippinators shuns any "elitist" references in favor of simply being one of the guys. "I'm only a small part of the Tippinators," he modestly stated. "We have 10 other guys on the team now, and I look up to every one of them."

Bruce has been the driving force behind the Tippinators catapult from obscurity in the serene Nova Scotia countryside to becoming sportsmanship icons and ambassadors of paintball, and the team is still on the rise. "Our future plans include a trip to EMR's Castle Conquest and competing at a 2007 SPPL Qualifier." His long-term speedball goal is for the Tippinators to compete at the World Cup someday. Given the impact the team has already made within the sport, it's hard to imagine a greater victory for paintball.

It's no wonder that players who share the field with him think of Bruce as "one of the guys"; but to many of us, he'll always be "Bruce Almighty".

Tips for Young Players Like any sport, paintball takes practice and experience to learn and become better. You will always know more than some players and there will always be players who know more than you. Don't be intimidated or afraid to ask questions of the more experienced players. We were all "noobs" at some point in time, so share what you learn with new players. The new kids look up to you, so give them a hand and show them the ropes. That kid with the rental who is following you around might be the next Ollie Lang one day. If you help him out now you can say, "Yeah I taught that guy how to play."

In his own Words I love paintball. I really do. The sport is more special than most people realize. It's a rare sport where a 40-year-old man can compete head-to-head against a 12-year-old girl, and on any given day either can win. Paintball teaches teamwork, builds confidence, zero tolerance for rules infractions (masks, barrel blocking devices, etc.), combines great exercise with the great outdoors, and provides a social venue where players from every age and walk of life can interact. And statistics prove it is one of the safest sports in the world - even safer than lawn bowling. For me, paintball is the greatest single sport in the world. But don't take my word for it; ask the other 11 million people who play. (Did I mention that I love paintball?)

No comments:

Post a Comment