Alright Buffalo Paintball friends, family, fans and supporters get ready for another Spotlight drop! This week we got to sit down with Johnathan Shields from Long Island, New York.
John is currently an undergrad student working towards an Associate's in Environmental Science but when he's not focused on his studies it's all paintball! He played his first game in 2018 at Woodloch resort in Pennaylvania. He had already been watching videos from some of the magfed YouTubers like Alabaster Slim. Fast forward 2 years after his first time playing and John played his first game as a magfed player. In August of 2020 he dove into his first true "big scenario game".
John doesn't drive but he's still made it out to 9+ fields over the last few years. He travels with his friends and teammates; he goes where they go. He's played Cousins Long Island, Cousins New Jersey, Liberty, Capital Combat Zone, Albany Paintball Experience, and Skirmish to name a few. This sport pretty much taken John all over the Northeast. While he's done a fair bit of traveling his favorite part of paintball is the people. John says "This sport forges friendships and bonds in a way like no other. I was never really the most social person, but everywhere I go to play paintball I either get to form new bonds that stay around or reconnect with and reinforce older ones." He says it's all about that sense of community, paintball is family amd nothing beats that.
We mentioned that August 2020 was Johnathan's first scenario event. That was event was our very own Buffalo Paintball's Battle of Bunker Hill, at Liberty Paintball. Him and two of his best friends drove upstate, rented out a room for the weekend and played thier hearts out. He reflects back on what how much fun that event was, meeting Buffalo Paintball owner Andrew LaPorta, Luke "Killa-B" Miller and more of our family. A few weeks later he ran into Luke at another scenario event and one thing led to the next and before we knew it John was scheduled to come onto the Buffalo Paintball Podcast. He's been out to a few more of our events since then and we're looking forward to seeing him at more in the future.
We talked to John about what are his bucket-list scenario events and asked him if he could pick out one that is a MUST attend. He told us it was a hard choice because he's got a top 4 that he's started working on; ION at Skirmish, Living Legends, OP Honey Badger and Cousins Big Game. He's already played Cousins big game and thinks if he had to narrow down the event list to just one he'd have to pick out Honey Badger at PRZ (that's the game that produced the videos that got him into magfed afterall). I have to say I agree that it'd be great to see John and Buffalo Paintball fam at OP Honey Badger but I might be a bit biased since I'm from Ontario and PRZ is a short drive away. He's all about the scenario games and loves how "every game feels like an adventure".
We talked to John about some favorite; markers, fields, memories ect. His favorite marker is his 98 custom with the MCS Blizzard conversion kit. It's just a solid marker, always reliable and easy to maintain. He loves how customizable it is. If you want to know about one of Johnathan's most memorable experiences just ask him about his last minute trip with Steven Mendoza of New York Savages to Heartbreak Ridge and how he ended up as XO for the final battle. For now that is going to be the furthest he's traveled and one of the most memorable; it'll definitely be a hard one to beat.
Parting words and advice to new players? Of course! It wouldn't be a Buffalo Paintball Spotlight without advice for new players. Just like so many of the great ambassadors of our sport that we've interviewed Johnathan says "Paintball is a family. Don't be afraid to ask someone for help, don't be afraid to talk to others about how to improve or just talk about the sport in general. Someone will be there to lend you a barrel swab, or turn on your air tank, or wipe your lens for you if you get shot in the face. They'll give you advice on how to pie corners or move between cover. We're all here for each other." We couldn't agree more with his closing statement; we are all here for each other!
Until next time, play safe and play fair Buffalo Paintball fans!
~Eli Gallibois - Spotlight Author | Buffalo Paintball