If you told me in 2006 when we started SPECTRE that the organization would be where it is today, I'd have a very hard time believing you. Yet here we are, already a month into 2016 - SPECTRE's 10th Anniversary season.
I spent all of 2015 through August preparing Aftershock. It became a much larger project than I expected, chiefly because my quest for personal perfection kicked into overdrive and I got involved in what some might say were too many details for one person. I compiled a 26 hour scenario with over 50 unique missions - each with their own props, a dozen named characters, a branching storyline, and nearly $100,000 worth of unique sci-fi set pieces over the course of 4 months - 40 hours a week on top of my day job. The first year would be a loss, which was fine, because this wasn't about the money. My obsession became bringing back the "Golden Age of Scenario Paintball", no matter the cost. For all the time I put into it, and for how exhausting it was, the event was a rousing success and we immediately scheduled the sequel at EMR for August 19 through the 21, this year.
I slept for 18 straight hours when I finally packed everything up and made the drive home. That was all the time off I would take before I dove headlong into preparing for France in October, where I experienced international paintball for the first time at Citadel and made plenty of new friends from all over Europe. The set pieces, terrain, and level of competition made American paintball look like child's play, and the generosity and hospitality displayed by everyone involved were unlike any I have ever experienced. It's easily the most awe-inspiring event I've ever played and I hope to make a yearly trip out of it.
Aftershock and Citadel were humbling in many ways, but imparted valuable lessons. They reminded me that I fell in love with paintball in the first place because of its community; that those long drives (and flights!) are worth it because of the people you meet and the family they become. The opportunity to play paintball on top of that is gravy. Europe made that incredibly clear when I realized I had known many of these people for less than a day and they had already offered me spare rooms in their homes if I ever came to visit their country - and I certainly intend to take them all up on that offer when the time is right.
So why is all of this important? Simply, after last year I have a greater drive than ever to bring the paintball community together in ways that will continue to evolve the sport. Much of last year's behind the scenes planning went into our retail opening, our event sales, and a renewed focus on our team building endeavors. As a team we've accumulated a wealth of experience over the years that beckons to be reinvested into the sport.
This far in, we've become enough of a community fixture to turn around and support the teams and players that have spent so many years supporting us. Beyond our retail opening, the first major initiative of 2016 is to begin the sponsorship of various teams and individuals in an effort to further promote the sport by highlighting those who put their all into playing a hard, honorable game, while welcoming new players to the sport. We'll have more details on those first teams and individuals in the coming weeks.
While Aftershock, and event production and sales in general, will remain large fixtures this year, we are also proud to open our team building programs to the public, which dates available throughout the year at various locations around the Northeast. We've proven time and time again to be force multipliers on the field, and this year we look to share our expertise with any team, paintball or real world, work or family.
There's plenty more to come on top of this, so keep your eyes on the page for the next few weeks. Or, sign up for my new mailing list to have everything go straight from my desk to yours. If you're not the reading type, we'll be putting out details on our new podcast in the very near future.
In the mean time, enjoy the rest of your offseason, and I look forward to kicking the year off with everybody at EMR in March.
Thanks as always for all of your support over the years. Here's to 2016!
Owner, SPECTRE Paintball