What have you been up to lately?
School is back in session for the little ones, so I’ve been busy juggling working at the school, playing paintball, acting and teaching myself how to program in C++. I was selected to be Miss June 2016 for the Women in Paintball calendar, so that was really exciting. It was an honor to be selected, and I’m looking forward to seeing as many calendars as possible sold to benefit the children of Rady’s Children’s Hospital in San Diego.
What brought you to paintball?
James Thrush, the developer for Greg Hastings Paintball 3, and the developer of GHP2 and Fields of Battle and I have been very close friends for over 15 years. We have always supported each other and had each other’s back. In 2012 I had split from my husband the year before and was still looking for some direction in my life. James invited me and my best friend Jimmy Tennison to come to the Surf City Open in Huntington Beach to meet his friend Greg Hastings. James said Greg and I would either love each other or hate each other, and thankfully it was the former! I spent the evening hanging out with Greg, Sonny Lopez, and Randy “Cool Beans” Galang and had the best time. Greg invited me to come to his Hurt Locker event the following weekend to play a little paintball. A week later, sporting some military fatigues and combat boots, I showed up to play paintball, not exactly sure what to expect. To determine my “pain threshold” some of the LA Hitmen in attendance decided to shoot me in the back with a rocket from 15 feet away. Satisfied, they set me up with a marker and some paint and set me loose. I was instantly hooked. I became friends with Kat Secor, Kimo Schaedel, Kevin & Kiliegh Shilling, Davin Jones, Clarence Alvey and a whole host of others that day. The kindness and generosity drew me in like a moth to the flame. I began attending more of Greg’s events and started to realize that these amazing personalities are not a rarity in this sport, they are the norm! It helped me get through the pain of my split and opened up a whole new world of possibilities!
How was Decay of Nations?
It was HOT. The event itself was a ton of fun, but the heat was absolutely brutal this year. Saturday was in the high 90s and Sunday topped around 110. I had to be on top of hydrating and resting between games to prevent heat exhaustion. I played with the LA Hitmen again on this year’s new faction, The Alliance. I got a chance to see many of my old friends and to make new ones. It was great to see Sonny and all of the other Hitmen like Randy, Linh Troung, Lynard Torrente, Adam Amado, Big Paul and Phil Dominguez and hanging out with Ed Sampilo, Bud Orr, and the Pinokio Brothers. It is always a lot of fun to play with such a great group of people. They always have something new to teach me.
What was it like?
The concept was a great one: The Alliance would balance out the battles so that it would prevent the blowouts seen in previous years. Each side had the opportunity to “purchase” our services, so I spent a lot of time switching sides. It got very confusing at times, despite each faction being marked with Red, Yellow or Blue pieces of tape, it was difficult to determine which side someone was playing for. There were a few times that I was shot by the team I was currently playing for. Wolf and Lurch were both terrific Generals and tried very hard to make the third faction work. I think it is a workable scenario, but may take a little more work to function properly on the field.
What have you been focused on this year?
Well, I broke 7 ribs in January, so I was sidelined for quite a while. Showers are dangerous! Get a shower mat, haha. I am just returning to playing regularly. I’m starting to dabble in the Speedball scene, having played mostly Woodsball and Scenario up until this point. I competed in my first 3-man tournament in August with my friends Chris Henk, Richard Hernandez and Jimmy, and it went well. I’m going to be competing in the West Coast Women’s Tournament with Goodbye Kitty on November 15th
. I am really excited to play alongside Sony Phinitsovanna, Kim Richardson and Aysia Snaer. They are really wonderful players and I’m thrilled to compete with them. I’m hoping to get more involved with Speedball next year through the AFPL.
I’ve been doing what I can to grow the sport. On November 1st, Michael Don Eglan, Skillz Valdez, David “Reaper” Justin and I took a group of about 20 kids out for the first Splat Ninjas event. We were able to watch the next generation of paintballers fall in love with the sport and taught them some of the basics. As it turns out, my middle daughter Heather is quite the badass and was running around the field bunkering the other team (including her little brother!). As a parent, it is great to see my kids falling in love with paintball.
What are you looking forward to next year?
I’m really excited for the things that I have coming up. I was just recently asked by Jeff Lobo to play a Le Femme Fatale role for DOMINION in March at Jungle Island. I’m thrilled to get a chance to play such a fun role. I truly love Scenario and my first experiences in paintball were Mag-Fed, so I couldn’t be more excited. It looks like it is going to be a really fun event. I’m also planning to attend Linh’s 4th Annual Charity event on December 13th. It was a ton of fun last year, and this year we are raising money to support “It Ain’t Chemo.” Having just lost my mother, uncle and close friend to cancer in this past year alone, it is a cause near and dear to my heart. I’m hoping to be able to make Supergame for the first time and will definitely be at Decay of Nations again in 2016. And in between those events I plan to continue to grow the sport by promoting Splat Ninjas and Greg Hastings Paintball 3.
What is your favorite part about paintball?
The adrenaline rush. I love that moment when the game starts and it is “kill or be killed.” I also love the community. I have come across so many people with vastly different backgrounds, all working together because of our love for the sport. I have met some really amazing people in the paintball world. Last year was very tough on me because my mother was dying from Brain Cancer. Linh and Kat dragged my butt back out on the paintball field and reminded me that I needed time for myself and to process what was going on. Linh hooked me into a really great group of friends that I love playing with on a regular basis. When my mother passed away this same group of friends supported me through the grieving process with frequent invites to play some Woodsball and to go out for sushi. Linh even stopped by with a freshly baked Cherry Pie. These are the people that I have been lucky enough to be surrounded with, and is indicative of the awesome community that paintball has to offer. My life is so much better with paintball in it!