Just recently, Patrick Tan (owner of Pro Paintball) and I had a chat over PMs on some current events and I asked him about team Demonz Red, and what went on with the team. He was more than willing to share us the inside stories of the MPOC 2008 Series Champions. Here's something for all of us to learn.
Demonz Red according to Patrick Tan
Team DR started with no hope, no strategy, no sponsor and no direction but as a band of friends who came together to participate in the prestigious PALS Event Taiwan 2007 that year. As more of a second liner to the then main Demonz team, Team DR came to become of the strongest competitor in division 2 that year. A group of us all from different team backgrounds, some playing in different divisions emerged that year as the series runners up in Division 2.
The platform for further success was set; sponsors came into play JT, Energy Battery, Deathstix, PB Assassin even local distributors like KCHL came into play with stako tanks.(This was and isn’t only gear sponsor but actual cash sponsorship from Pro Paintball which included training pallets – basically you were playing for free! Trainings, tournaments you name it).
We competed in many tournaments throughout 2008; here is what we achieved as one team one dream:
MPOC 1st Leg - Runnersup
NPL 1st Leg - 3rd Runnersup
Pro Paintball Cup - 2nd Runnersup
MPOC 2nd Leg - Runnersup
MPOC 3rd Leg - Runnersup
Terengganu Open - Runnersup
The Sultan of Kedah Cup - 2nd Runnersup
NPPL Invitational Asia - 2nd Runnersup
NPPL Invitational Asia - Best Malaysia Team Award (Free trip to Huntington Beach 09)
NXT 7 Man - 2nd Runnersup
MPOC 4th Leg - Runners up
MPOC 5th Leg - Runners up
MPOC OVERALL CHAMPIONS DIVISION 1 (M7 FORMAT)
WORLD CUP ASIA 08 DIVISION 1 - 5TH Placing
JPL Final Leg - 4th Placing
Not bad for a team that was originally meant to play division 2 in MPOC ’08 (Paul can attest to this). So what happened?
In early 2009, Pro Paintball introduced a ‘management fee’ to the players. Management was probably a wrongly conceived and further misunderstood term. It was made very clear that the money originally was to be paid on a monthly period to support and assist the sponsor on the training pallets. Nothing else changes, all the goods, sponsored items and tournament costs were still FREE!! Every team member was present at the meeting. If you must know it was only RM200 a month, it honestly doesn’t help in anyway even if you had ten guys paying it. Do the math and you will understand when you have ten guys showing up for training (yes, pro paintball pays the starter pack) and shooting 3 boxes (average) a week. It was meant to be a supplement and more of a commitment. Even though unfortunately, many to this very day choose to think otherwise.
We manage to claim what we originally won in the NPPL invitational tournament (the Huntington trip) back to us by the organizer, however the money was never paid in full. Most of the team members never even bothered asking about it after NPPL declared bankruptcy. Thru the dedication and hard work of one particular team member we managed to recover RM 28K. Suddenly there was an air of excitement and everyone became interested. We had a meeting (where even players who had been absent for awhile were invited), discussed and agreed to amortize the money in exchange for tickets to Paris (Millennium Series). Again, Pro Paintball offered to sponsor the registration and pallets with the help of their principal JT Europe.
Tickets were then in process to be book, some could go, and some chose not to (work and other commitments) but generally everyone (in the team then) was offered a share in the prize. Unfortunately those who left the team before this could not be allocated a share.
One small flame became a fire that suddenly went out of control. Suddenly everyone was accusing that tickets were not booked, promised sponsored items for the year didn’t arrive yet (team members even thought the original ‘management fee’ asked for earlier in the year were meant for this purpose). Accusations that pro paintball wanted the money a 100% were even raised, never did they bother to cross check only assumptions were made.
Forgotten were the efforts put in to find the new ‘gun’ sponsor this year. Forgotten was the better times we had as friends, forgotten was the every now and then free item which they would have. Instead were petty quarrels about paying for replacement shells, being charged for o rings (for dm’s) that our current gun (eclipse) don’t use but meant for sale in the shop.
More misunderstandings and gossip burn heavier than ever. Players were becoming extremely calculative, names about who needs what and wants what were thrown around. Even a player that was never meant to be on the team complained. He had forgotten about his free pair of pants given in good faith when he was not even in the original line up. I remembered asking him before if he was ok paying the money but was not being put on the roster. His answer was simple, don’t worry – I appreciate this team and being a tech/ crew was something I enjoyed doing. Well said.
Pettiness was everywhere. There was discontent in the team, minor misunderstandings sparked players to take camps, some rallying against the very sponsor that made them who they are. In short, the team reached its expiry date.
Everything else didn’t matter – I MUST GET WHAT I WANT if not what’s the point of paying the RM 200 every month?
We had a meeting, where some answers were met and some were not, there was really no point going further. Everyone who attended that meeting probably had their own mindset and given the benefit of doubt, no reasonable answer could be accepted that night. Everyone in the team lost something that night, big or small depending on individuals.
Sad? Well basically Pro Paintball has been sponsoring the paint and whatever event costs involved. We had players come and go in between this time. In my years in PB, I have been accredited to be a crazy and stupid man (yup, I started the first ground floor retail shop way before there was Napshot, before Skirmish moved downstairs, where numbers of PB players in leagues knew each other by name - then famously known as Werdna Hol Sportz), I have been called an idiot (I ran the 3 on 3 Werdna Hol Cup league – which great teams like Zealous, Warriors and even Red Sevens first tournament experience came from) for losing so much money on it. I have been called a bast%#* by too many to even remember. So no, I’m not sad – I feel the lost though, not monetary but loss of friendship – something money can never buy.
Instead I choose to remember it for the better times when we had, when we were all nobody, where playing and winning was just something we wanted and hoped for. We did build it up from scratch, blood, sweat, laughter and tears were shared.
Will there be a new demonz team after all this? Well I’m not sure about the name Demonz again but there will definitely be a new division 1 team soon. Afterall, when the sunsets and rises again – after the storms and bad weather, another day has dawn and the race has to continue doesn’t it?
*Photos are copyrighted of their respective owners.