18 March 2013

PALS Thailand with Destiny - Coach Sonny Lopez

Team Destiny made it out to the Thailand PALS event for the first time ever. At the last minute the team was able to secure the plane ticket to have myself coach them. I accepted the offer and made plans to visit Thailand, which is a place I have always wanted to visit but never had the chance before. Thank you PALS and Destiny for making this happen!

Most of us met at the LAX international terminal the same day Linh and Kat returned from the Hawaii Airsoft and Pump Paintball event. Once we were all together getting ready to board the China Southern flight the journey to Thailand begun. We all knew this was going to be an event for the record books. 

Our layover in China was only a couple hours and we were sure to stay away from the smoking area this time around. Before we knew it we taking off again and some hours later we were landing in Thailand! It was time to have some fun. My first surprise was how hot it was and then I realized I completely packed wrong for this event. At one point G-No stripped right in front of the airport to change into some shorts. I was going to have to find some more shorts if I was lucky. We got picked up and promptly sat in traffic for what seemed like hours. Their traffic really is a whole other level and we shared stories and talked about what we wanted to do on the trip and what the plans were being we were going to the field to practice the same day we landed. The whirlwind didn't stop for nine days!

The field was so nice it was really surprising. Known as Expressway Paintball Club and I became an instant fan. Not surprising that it was nice but rather the details they thought of. Enough tables for everyone and a pro shop on site was a nice start. The pingpong table was a cool addition but really stood out was the plexi glass windows so your not squinting trying to look through a net. That was a really nice touch. Also another nice detail was that the bathrooms were really inviting and well kept! Big props to all behind the scenes on bringing PALS Thailand to this field, the small things really add up to the overall experience. I would recommend it to anyone visiting Thailand who also wanted to play some ball while in town to head out to Expressway.

Once at the field the girls trained hard and figured out who was going to play what spots and what our team plans actually were. The core Destiny crew was Katherine Secor (captain), Katie KellyLinh Truong, and Cathy Saul-Villaneva.  Newcomers to the Destiny team was Karla Andrade Alvarez, Guia Salvador, Catherine Chew. All three newcomers were actually international players coming on board. Be sure to check out their facebook profiles after you read this. G-No and myself were there to help the team and he also guested part time for a Mac-Dev team and can be seen playing in the Social Paintball video farther below.

Just like at PALS WCA Malaysia 2012 the Destiny roster had never played together prior to getting on the plane to attend the event. We got one practice day at the field the event was held at and made the best of it. This PALS event was an outdoor event with two fields which was different than the PALS Malaysia event that had at least 3 fields all indoors. The weather was very nice to us and only rained briefy on one day of the nice we were there for. The paint shot well and we were very careful to only pod up right before the match due to how humid it was. We scouted our teams and made sure all the new gear and guns were in working order. It was now time to play.

In the above pic the players are (left to right) Kat, Karla, Katherine, Katie and Linh. Lots of K's right?

This image is a really good one showing their technical breakout skills. The guns are up and the team is looking strong and confident. Linh is making her way to the snake side knowing Katie Kelly will watch over her. The girls were now rocking Valken and Sly gear for the first time and they were really happy with it and you have to admit those masks look Hot. After the prelim games the team easily made it to Sunday and prepared for the quarterfinals. Everybody got points in and guns, gear and paint all preformed well. 

Overall the event had nothing but smiles and people sharing stories and making new friends. The watermellon and coconuts were lifesavers and delicious! I have come to really enjoy these PALS events and am very interested in taking the LA Hitmen team there sometime soon. 

Some of these pictures here are borrowed and some come from various media some might even be liberated. Check out the photographers and players websites and facebook pages and of course support their sponsors! If it wasn't for the paintball media and sponsors much of this would not be possible. 

No words for the mud wrestling pics you see above and there are dozens of them you can find at Gary Baum's website. They had fun and that is all that mattered. Everyone certainly had a great time watching them get down and dirty. Note Karla's facial expression: ROAAR! Linh's is more like "Weeeeee" and Kat's legs are actually underwater. Don't worry they didn't catch anything that we know of.

We made the Sunday club yet got knocked out in the quarterfinals. We actually got knocked out by a team we beat in the prelims and after they beat Destiny they went on to win the whole event. The girls played their hearts out and had the disadvantage of never playing together prior to being in Thailand together for the first time. That did not matter though the team that beat us played straight up ball and deserved to move on. I am proud of the girls and know if they got to play together on a regular basis they would be winning and placing in the division they are playing at the PALS series.

This pic is actually on a boat/taxi of sorts. It was such a smart way to travel. But once just once a big ass wave came in and soaked some of us. That was gross. But laughable as long as you don't catch something or grow a new eyebrow. Shopping was a blast and negotiating prices is an art some get and some don't get. Our Linh and G-No were secret weapons. 

Hats off to the PALS event for such an amazing time. Once the event was over we decided to spend some time sightseeing with friends and even got to play with some tigers and elephants! Do you all see pirate Linh below?

We had an amazing time visiting temples, a massive mall, the largest Buddah in the world, petting tigers and riding elephants. What an experience and we figured out basically $20 USD can feed you for a week there. I love Thailand! To our new friends we will be sure to keep in touch. I think if anyone gets to visit Thailand you have to visit the tiger retreat and the elephant rides. Be sure to tell them you want to wash the elephants at the end. Be sure to play some ball at Expressway and of course visit all these links!

Our last night we had a dinner with the Trauma crew (some cool Australians in my book) and you can see the girls are ready to go to sleep. To all involved Thank you! Destiny Paintball PALS Thailand www.socialpaintball.com www.valken.com

Tired of pics? The official Social Paintball YouTube video is here. Social Paintball's Joel Pitra was there and shot this video highlight of the event. Thank you Joel and Israel from Social! 

1 comment:

Shagga said...

Hope to see you guys again next year.