As you know if you visited our home page or picked up one of those old-timey print editions, this is OC Weekly's Best of 2013 week, which we like to call (for legal reasons, trust me) Best Of. You've no doubt been enjoying the ripping issue immensely, but let's for a moment time trip back to Best of 2012 and the Personal Best subject we dubbed “Paintball Queen.” Exactly a year later, she is back to report on her Team Destiny of Huntington Beach becoming “the first all-female team to win a non-segregated, national championship in North America!”
I don't really know how someone confirms such a thing, because as near as I can tell there is no governing body overseeing all national competitions involving teams of both sexes. But I trust Secor is correct because, based on my short time interviewing her, she is whip smart, honest and capable of filling me full of lead paint if I cross her.
Even if someone comes up with another all-female team that previously won a non-segregated, national championship in North America, Team Destiny can still celebrate making National Professional Paintball League (NPPL) history. So it's historic one way or the other.
What follows, dear readers, is Secor's own report on Sunday's finale to the NPPL World Championships in Las Vegas, Nevada.
By Kat Secor
On Oct. 6, Las Vegas proved to have beautiful weather that morning as the crisp air surrounded the team as they took the field for the morning rounds, opening to warmer temperature throughout the day. This day also proved to be the day the girls of Destiny had been hoping for the entire season. Team Destiny officially became the FIRST ALL-FEMALE TEAM to win a non-segregated, national championship in North America!
Team Destiny is one of the few, if not the only, all-female, American based teams that competes at national level events on a regular basis. Players hail from various parts of the U.S., which puts the team at a disadvantage at every event as the girls are unable to practice together as a team as most of the other teams do frequently, especially when preparing to compete in championship games.
Needless to say, Destiny was looked at as the underdogs going into this event, and during the preliminary matches, they were only able to win three out of eight matches. Barely scraping into the quarterfinals by the skin on their knuckles, they were seeded 8th, which meant they had to play against the 1st.
Destiny's girls were able to overcome even the most challenging of teams, engaging them with ferocity, tenacity and extreme prowess, and finally winning the Championship Title!
As the team captain, walking onto the field that morning, going through my mind was making sure I was focused, getting the girls motivated and ensuring energy levels and adrenaline were sky high for all of us!
There is a different sense of strength that comes from being a part of an all-female team. That sense is of empowerment. We are female athletes, we are role models, all eyes are on us because we are women and often we are perceived to be not as “good” as men in this sport. We are constantly fighting for equality, street credit and achievement. We will always have more to prove, and it does not end but it keeps us STRONG. This pressure exposes the strong players, those who are capable of putting aside their pride to expose their weaknesses in order to improve. Realizing that where you are today is not where you will be tomorrow.
This pressure exposes the resilient, those who want to succeed more than they want to breathe, and those whose destiny it is to prove that we, as women, are capable of anything we set out minds to. Strong female athletes, managed smartly, coached with respect and support, communicating effectively, building trust and learning what to expect from each other, working together as a team, there is NO more gratifying feeling.
Upon the team winning the championship, the team's owner, Bea Paxson, issued a statement: “With Kat as our team captain, Steve Connor as our coach, who himself is a former champion pro paintball athlete, and the players on the roster to attend, I honestly felt that they had a very good chance to repeat what we were able to do during last year's World Championship match, and that was making it to finals. The right leadership was in place and the players teamwork, place team going into the next round.”
Paxson continued: “Ever-focused, their attitudes and overall focus, helped them achieve this. They had a rough start in the preliminary rounds, but they managed to progressively get better as they battled through to the end, and they ended up on top.”
She went on to say that this particular team fielded at Vegas never lost sight of their goal and they knew what they had to do to correct the mistakes they made on the first day. Paxson also expressed she is extremely proud of this team and that they are the first all-female team to win an internationally recognized paintball event, such as the NPPL.
Destiny's sponsors include: Valken, Anthrax Paintball, Virtue Paintball, R7 Replay, Social Paintball, RSH Media, PaintballPhotography.com, Tykoon Designs, Exotic Tan and LA Hitmen.
If you're interested in learning more about the NPPL, visit www.nppl.com.