Saturday, 22 September 2012

The Splatter Zone - Asylum Assassins & PRZ Paintball

The Splatter Zone – Asylum Assassins 

Let’s Get It Started:

Some of you will know about my connection to this group of crazies from my Facebook account but for the rest of my readers, let me fill you in. These guys are the best group of ballers that I have ever met, and best of all they’re my cousin Jay’s team. They’re called the Asylum Assassins and they play out of Picton, Ontario at PRZ Paintball (specific location and contact details listed later). The team was founded this year “to become the new field scenario team to represent the fastest-growing field in Eastern Ontario”.
The Assassins Circa Sept. 5th
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been getting to know the teams members as well as more about paintball as a sport and I’ve liked what I’ve been learning. I used to think that paintballers were no offense, a bunch of crazy (sometimes sadistic) individuals who enjoyed running around shooting at people without all the messy legal issues. Unfortunately I’d only known a very small group of ballers and this biased my opinion greatly. After getting to talk to the Assassins about their experiences with paintball in general as well as their times with the team I learned that being part of a paintball team is more about family than any other sport I’ve been involved in. I played hockey and lacrosse for 8 year a-piece, soccer for a couple and I’ve heard about damned near every other sport from someone else at some point in time but these guys… They might as well share a bloodline and honestly, it would seem that paintball does have something that runs in your blood (Especially if you ask Steener or Mouse).

Now The Asylum Assassins, and on a larger scale PRZ Paintball work primarily with what’s known as “scenario” paintball which requires that a certain objective or a series of objectives be followed through with in order to complete a match. One of the course favourites out at PRZ and a particular gem for the Assassins is known as “attack the chopper”. Basically it’s like Modern Warfare 3’s ‘Survival’ mode for a limited-respawn group defending a helicopter mock-up as wave after wave of endlessly respawning opponents. Once the defending group has been eliminated, and depending on everyone’s remaining ammunition, the teams switch sides and run the whole thing all over again. This really lights a fire in my heart for the sport as I just love a good objective, a challenging goal, something specific to go after rather than just ‘kill everyone before they kill you’. Sure deathmatches can be fun, but the REAL fun comes with strategy and teamwork.
But now, and without any further ado, let me present to the readers the amazing guys and gal of the Asylum Assassins:

The Roster:

Jason McLinton

Alias: "Monster"

Age: 35

"Big Jay" as he's known to his friends, Jason's my cousin and he's recently become quite the inspiration to me. I never knew that much about paintball before I started asking around through Jay and then through his team mates on the Assassins so for the wealth of knowledge that they have given me I have to thank them Jay's always been big on family so it comes as no surprise to those around him that he has taken up big place in a sport that fosters such strong, familial connections between its players.

Jay's been balling for the last year and he founded the team alongside the next Assassin you'll see known as "Preacher". He's a versatile baller who enjoys bringing in aspects from every style of paintball and every scenario regardless of which scenarios or matches he finds himself playing in. When I asked him what his favourite thing about being a part of the team was, in a way he refused to answer my question telling me that they're not a team, they're a family and that the best part about that family was the time that they spend together both on AND off the field. Jay's taken the family thing to new heights in some ways though helping to get new gear for his team mates that they wouldn't otherwise be able to get themselves (entering every and any contest he can find to win every prize, giveaway and sweepstake possible). He's also big on getting others to feel better about who they are and helping them to make friends with others around the sport.

Logo I did for Jay
As a closing note to his interview, Jay asked me to relay this message to the reader:

"Paintball is so much more then a sport. We are family. I have met the most amazing people in the last year since I started playing. From the time I began, everyone did whatever they could to help me play, from lending me gear to giving me pointers. As an Assassin, my main goal is to grow this sport through fair play & sportsmanship just to make sure the new renter starting out comes back and becomes part of our Family at PRZ!!!!!! Pay it Forward!!!"

Name: Matt Burwell

Alias: “Preacher” - Heavy Gunner Style

Age: 30

1000 yard stare anyone?
One of the co-founders of the Assassins, Matt’s been paintballing for 7 years now and the Asylum Assassins team has become his second family (as it has for many of the other members). I asked each of the team members a couple of questions to get a better feel for their experiences both with the sport and the team, and this is what I got from Matt.

For him, the best part of being on the team is the family environment by far. He mentioned overall camaraderie and the individual friendships you forge as major contributors to that overall family feel. It struck me as a little odd that you could come to see people that you shoot at on occasion as those you forge a “family environment” with, but as Matt answered more of my questions, it became clear to me pretty quick.

When I asked Matt what his two favourite memories were, one about paintball as a sport and the other about his time with the Assassins, he picked out the day that he was asked to join his first team which seemed pretty standard to me, and who wouldn’t be proud? But his answer about the Assassins really nailed it down for me. Matt’s wife underwent heart surgery and all the way through it the entire team was there for him. When you can rely on your teammates to help you through something that emotionally draining, yeah I can see how they become a family to you.

Each team member was also asked if there was anything else they’d like to add to their bio section, and I really liked “Preacher’s” motto:

“Live for Sport, Love the Family”… A good sermon if I ever heard one.

Name: Paul Lowe

Alias: “Steener”

Age: 23
Like father..
Years Balling: 7

With the Assassins since: Day 01

Favourite aspect of team life: The closeness that comes from being part of a team; the family environment.

Favourite paintball memory: Introducing his daughter "Mouse" to the sport.

Misc: Paul has been one of my main in-roads for information about the team and the sport, and I can't thank him enough for that. He's a true competitor and sportsman with an attitude that makes you wanna hit the field with him... just not on the wrong end of his gun.

Name: Rachel Lynk

Alias: “Mouse”

Age: 10
Like daughter.
Years Balling: 2012 Rookie

With the Assassins since: June 2012

Paintballing Style: Constantly Evolving

Favourite aspect of team life: getting to hang out with all of her friends on the team.

Favourite Assassinss/Paintball memory: "getting [her] dad in [her] first game".

Misc: Most kids get their start in the sport around the ages of 15-17 from what I’ve managed to gather, making Mouse what amounts to a prodigy by current standards. You can DEFINITELY expect big things from her because she’s in it for the sport and the friendships that come with being part of a team.

Name: Jacob Viitamaki

Alias: "Pyro"

Age: 22
Chillin out, maxin' n relaxin
all cool...
Years Balling: 6

With the Assassins since: Tryout #1, Summer 2012

Paintballing Style: Maverick: "Someone who refuses to play by the rules. he/she isn't scared to cross the line of conformity. but their unorthodox tactics get results!" - Urban Dictionary, Maverick, result #01

Favourite aspect of team life: "Being part of a team with AWESOME people, with an AMAZING home field."

Favourite Assassins/Paintball memory: "I can't pick just one memory, they're all great."

Misc: I used to wonder why his name wasn’t “Maverick”before he told me about his background. Dude’s a trained pyro technician, yeah, went to college for explosives and he’s been through the government testing for pyrotechnics and fireworks. He's out to "promote the sport repsectfully and safely" and who can't agree with a goal like that?

Name: Rob McMahon

Alias: “Big Red”

Age: 29
Man in action
Years Balling: 2012 Rookie

With the Assassins since:
A newbie to the sport, Rob answered with “not even a year… Seriously” when I asked him how long he’d been balling for but don’t let that make you think the Assassins are some rookies wandering around a field, Big Red’s serious about his sport as are all of the others.

Rob’s just one of those guys who loves to be “throwing paint” whenever possible. The main style of play at PRZ Paintball is scenario-based “though [Rob says] I find I do have moments of very aggressive play”.
Matt is another “family man” of the sport. He values what he calls the “interesting dynamic” that comes with being a part of paintballing and the Asylum Assassins that he says “isn’t common with teams and other sports that [he] has been involved in such as baseball and rugby”. To him, and to many others, the Assassins “are a family” and knowing that my cousin Jason is among those ranks of those family members is comforting to me.

Onto the “memories” section of things now though, as it really is my favourite part. Big Red’s favourite moments with paintballing come “at the end of the day when everyone is out of paint and too worn out to do anything but sit around for hours and tell stories.” And what’s the reason for these twilight hours being the best of his paintballing day? For him it’s all about “the friendship and that bonds that are formed during this time”. The team really seems to have changed Rob’s life from how he speaks of it. He wasn’t able to pick out a singular memory about being with the Assassins just saying that spending time with his family -family being the team and his literal biological family- was the highlight of his Assassin's career.

Name: Darren Creighton

Alias: "Heavy D****"

Age: 23

Darren's a true paintballing hybrid with serious experience between both woodsball and cqb/scenario balling over the last 8 years. He started getting involved more and more with cqb ball as the years went on after getting involved with PRZ Paintball and the Asylum Assassins this year he's been playing a lot more than usual. D pointed out that it wasn't (and still isn't) easy to get used to cqb balling with all of his time playing woodsball as the tactics are so different but he's more than happy to hone his scenario skills at PRZ, attributing his new love of this particular style to the quality of the PRZ field and its environmental diversity.

Logo I designed for
Heavy D.
'Heavy' (as I've taken to calling him) started his paintballing journey with his father and brother with whom he shares his favourite all-time paintball memory:

"My best memory of Paintball however would have to be back when I first started ballin. It was just my dad, my brother and myself out in this very grown up area at my grandparents -I'm talking thick brush and hydro towers- but long story short I ran a good 50 yards behind my brother and my father and managed to take them both out with about 5 shots."

It saddened me to hear that Darren no longer gets the chance to play with his father or brother anymore though as his dad simply can't do it anymore and his brother's drifted from the sport. As per his time with the Assassins Darren's stuck for 'best' memories between the actual formalization of the group as a team and defending Jay as their general in an insane balling match.

Darren wanted me to remind everyone that the sport is for ANYONE, and that it is both fun and safe. He says that he's met the most amazing people through the sport and that everyone who is able should try it out at least once in their lives. I hope that you, the reader, will take his words to heart and give paintball a chance too.

Name: Matt Lyons

Alias: "Judas"

Age: 28
Taking cover under fire...
Still finds time for a 'selfie'. Way to go Matt!
Years Balling: 6

With the Assassins since: Day 01

Favourite part of being an Assassin:

Favourite balling memory: He "snuck to the other team's base" and wound up eliminating 90% of them during a night time game all by ambushing them from behind.

He might go by Judas, but this guy's definitely a team player. Matt's been balling for 6 years and he's been with the Asylum Assassins since day one. He loves paintball, that much is obvious the second you start talking to him but what he really enjoys is the fact that being part of the team means being part of somethin so much more than "just the game".

avourite paintball memory is one that would've earned him a Victoria Cross on the real battlefield. He "snuck to the other team's base" and wound up eliminating 90% of them during a night time game all by ambushing them from behind. This might seem like lone-wolf behaviour, but Matt's been publicly recognized for his efforts to help out everyone around him which still stands as his favourite Assassins memory.

When I asked Matt if there was anything he wanted to add to his bio, or to say to the readers, he gave me this:

"What is paintball to me? Paintball is where anyone regardless of age, race, gender... can come out and have a great day of fun with no bias against each other. If you come out solely or with a crowd of people you can leave having met many new friends. Paintball appeals to the kids that played GI Joe's for running as if you were in Call of Duty. [Paintball] also appeals to the kid that played with Lego since half the fun is cleaning your gear and customizing it to your style and preference."

I think that's a pretty good way to sum things up don't you? Paintball is a game for everybody no matter who they are or what their history is. The game doesn't judge you, doesn't think you're lame, or weak, it just accepts you and brings you around other people who will acknowledge you for just being yourself.

Name: Connor Swann 

Alias: "Moose"

Age: 19
A great shooter in a great shot.

Years Balling: 5

Time with the Assassins: 1 Month

Favourite aspect of being on the team: "The shenanigans"

Favourite paintball memory: His first time at PRZ

Best Assassins memory: Holding off the side alley of cqb with no ammo.

This kid is serious business, and it shows in his bio. 

When he answered my questions it came across as something like what I'd see in some government agent's bio... Dead basic, need-to-knows only, and it leaves you with an air of confusion and mystery. Also, he's managed to hold off an alley by himself without any ammo... Yeah, ball-less so-to-speak Connor kept blasting air downrange and managed to keep his opponents at bay just out of fear from the sound of his marker popping off shot after shot. Don't ask me how it worked, or Connor for that matter as even he can't explain how no one called his bluff. 

Guess the old saying "gotta have balls to win" doesn't apply in some cases.

Name: Dylan James Swann

Alias: “Joe Dirt”

Age: 19

Respect the mullet, or else.
Years Balling: 3

With the Assassins since: August 2012

Paintballing Style: Git R’ Done, Gritty, Reliable.

Favourite aspect of team life: the close bond he’s established with each of his team members; the sense of brotherhood.

Favourite Paintball Memory: PRZ Paintball, Summer 2011, a successful Hostage Extraction game where he and a cobbled-together team of Sunday competitors defeated an extremely well-equipped, organized team. Dylan stalked back and forth between two stairwells to contain the enemy team as what he called a siege tactic.

Favourite Assassins Memory: The recent September road-trip of the Assassins to CQB Tactical Paintball which was Dylan’s first road trip with the team. Witnessing the new “cohesiveness” of the team was a highlight of the CQB experience.

Misc: “I just wanted to say that there is no sport or activity in general can match paintball for many reason:
  • It’s an athletically demanding sport but anybody can play it to some extent or another.
  • It takes a toll of your body that leaves visible marks which are conversation pieces at a later date.
  • The camaraderie is undeniable from the helpful tips on and off the field to the pod of * ammunition* that you give to someone bunkered down in a crappy spot with none of their own.
  • I've seen people give away expensive markers, hoppers, boots, masks, lenses, and clothing, anything you can possibly imagine to help others grow into a better baller!
In conclusion Paintball is one of the most amazing experiences any boy, girl, man, or woman… can have throughout their lifetime and if you don't believe me ask anyone in the community and you will hear some of the most passionate responses and stories you could imagine!”

Name: Ryan Holmes

Alias: “Kitten”

Age: 26
Kitten's got claws
Years Balling: 13

With the Assassins since: September 16th, 2012.

Favourite aspect of being a part of the team: Getting to share the sport with new players and being able to introduce them to PRZ Paintball field or as Ryan puts it, their “playground”.

Favourite Paintballing Memory: Playing at PRZ for the first time and getting to enjoy the size and variety of the terrain, indoor and outdoor terrain.

Second Favourite Paintballing Memory: Getting his EGO 11, his pride and joy.

Favourite Assassins Memory: The last game, “Battlefield Asylum” where the team played essentially against to other teams. Outnumbered and outgunned their held their own for the better portion of the day and grew to become a tighter-knit group because of it.

Misc: “Paintball is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.” “We need to grow the sport and keep it in good standing with the general public to grow it as a sport ‘cause if it isn’t growing, it’s dying.”

The Wrap-Up:

Now that's all I have at the moment for the team's roster info. Unfortunately I'm still waiting on a couple of submissions but since I've been getting asked as to when this article is 'finally' going to get published, I'm going to release it in this incomplete format and edit and repost it later on once I have all of the submissions from the team.

I've learned a lot from these guys in my short time dealing with them and the one thing that I have to stress above any other is that this is a family and not 'just a sports team'. It's my opinion that the Asylum Assassins are what this sport needs to really bring people into it. They're kind, outgoing and open people who love what they do and love to share it with anyone who'll sit and listen for a couple of minutes although they'd much prefer you rented a gun, gear, and went out to shoot up the course with them.

In the case that you'd like to meet them, they can usually be found out at PRZ Paintball, but if you wanna get in touch with them, or PRZ before making the trip out to Picton you can follow the links below and get something set up that way (I'd recommend it). So everyone, I hope you've enjoyed this little look into an up-and-coming team from a sport that seems to finally be catching its big wind.

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Contact Information:

PRZ Paintball:
The Asylum Assassins:
That's everything everyone. I'd like to thank you all for your time and please, do both of these wonderful groups a favour. Go to their Facebook pages and like'em up!!! They've shown my support, and they've opened up to the world wide interwebs through me, the least you can do is pay them a visit and like the pages!

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