Annnd we're back with a fresh Buffalo Paintball Player Spotlight. We'd like to introduce you to Michelle McGonigle. She's one the many with the legendary 13th Legionnaires and a long time member having joined their team in 2006. Michelle is from New Jersey and works with vinyl installations doing things like vehicle wraps.
Michelle started playing at 14 while visiting her grandparents in Tennessee. It wasn't long until she started looking into the game back home in Jersey. Before she knew it she bought some gear and so did her friends; they'd fill C02 tanks at a local bicycle shop, grab a couple cases of paint and play in the woods or empty piers. There was a calling to play on bigger and better fields and it was answered at Picasso lake.
Michelle met the members of 13th Legionnaires while playing at Picasso Lake and she joined their ranks in 2006. By the time Michelle was 18 she was fully immersed in the world of paintball and began attending larger scenario events like NJ-Nam at Usana in Elmer NJ.
Local fields Michelle will typically play at are OXCC, Picasso Lake Paintball, Quickshot Paintball, and OXH (outdoor xtreme Hatfield). But don't expect her to sit still over the years she's traveled a lot and have played tons of fields! A few are Cousins Manchester NJ, Black Ops Paintball in Fayetteville NC, Sherwood Forest in Indiana to name a few; she says "trust me I can go on". The furthest she's traveled so far is Indiana for the bucket-list worthy Supergame.
Picking a favorite part of the game is impossible; Michelle says there is too much to favor about paintball. "I love the rush of it, the adrenaline. I enjoy competition and having the bond the team I play for has, really makes you love it." These are the things that have had such a huge impact of why she's been playing for 15+ years. That said, Michelle does have a favorite moment; it's sharing the field with her oldest son (who played his first scenario event at Endless Legends in 2020 by the way). She also enjoys reffing when she can, I mean you're getting paid to get shot, what's not to like. Every ref I've ever talked to does it for the love of the sport and uses it as an excuse to be around the game more; Michelle is not an exception to this rule and believes it's a labor of love.
Because Michelle started young, has been involved for so long, and provides the perspective of a woman in our sport we asked her to share her experience and recommendations on those topics. Her recommendation to new players would be invest in a good mask. She says to the young players, don't give up, it "doesn't matter how far you go in the sport or if you decide to go anywhere at all with it, don't give up", "play with passion", and "learn from both victories and defeats". For the women in the sport. Well I've heard my fair share of input over the years of some pretty opinionated guys that think we have no business being out there (Buffalo Paintball obviously does not condone that statement). She thinks its unfair but she tries to never really let it get to her. "I've heard some pretty low things said about me and I just let it roll". I give females a lot of credit for even trying it let alone if they keep playing it. And if you love to play then play.
Parting words: "Don't let anyone chase you off that field, you chase them"
~Eli Gallibois - PFOSA Founder | Buffalo Paintball