Nickname: Back in the day I used to go by Little Dan, not so little anymore.
Occupation/Major in School: Paper chaser/sophomore/Management & Accounting
Hometown: Anoka, Minnesota
Team: Purdue X-Ball
Position: I think one of the best things going for me is that I can play nearly everywhere despite my height (6’4”). I was raised playing streetball with whomever I could find, so playing every spot on the field was how I was brought up. However more often than not you can find me in a corner, the dorito side, or occasionally breaking up the center.
How long you have been playing: Going on about 8 years strong now…wow that went fast.
Favorite field: Vintage Paintball Park. Best fields, best people to play against, and just an overall great atmosphere to be in.
How did you first become interested in the sport: I started out like most people playing with a few of my friends from school in the woods, after about three outings we thought we we’re pretty slick and entered a 3man league at a local field. We got beat down for about 6 weeks without winning a game, but it was the most fun thing I’ve ever done. To this day I remember the feeling I had after I played my first point, it was amazing and I’ll never forget it.
Why do you play: In all honesty I think I play more for the things that happen outside the net rather than the ones inside. Paintball has taught me a lot about life, and more importantly about myself. Without it I would’ve never had the friends I have, traveled the places I’ve been, or tasted the food I’ve eaten. It’s given me about 90% of the amazing memories I have in my life and I’m ever grateful. Outside of the shenanigans that I manage to get into while not playing, I love the game, plain and simple. Paintball is very tenacious in that no two games are ever the same, and nobody has it exactly figured out; too much is left to chance, or luck as some call it. I’ve never played a sport where winning feels this good and loosing feels that awful. The feeling you get when you pull a sick move or win a big point for your team puts you on top of the world, and I guess you could say chasing that feeling every weekend is why I play.
Equipment: Dye gear has always been my favorite, I had the privilege of being sponsored by them for two full seasons on Shock-Kidz and Velocity Wrecking Crew and I’ve been partial ever since. Outside of that I wear Sly goggles and a Sly pack.
Notable wins or tournaments: I have yet to win a national event actually, the closest I ever came was Chicago 09’ when I took 2nd in D2 xball with Velocity Wrecking Crew. Outside of that I’d say the best experience I’ve had were the two times I’ve played on pro Sunday, (D.C. 2010 & 11). There’s really no comparison, biggest stage, big lights, big pressure. It’s the greatest place to be on the field.
Things you are looking forward to in the upcoming year: Enjoying the ride.
Favorite paintball memory: World Cup 2008 with Shock Kidz. We had just beat Palm Beach Vipers to advance into the final 4 in the pouring rain, we had a huddle right after the match and with all my best friends around me soaking wet I thought to myself “where else would I rather be right now?”. I thought without a doubt in my mind we were going to win that tournament, perfect team, perfect gear, perfect conditions. In my eyes, that team was perfect, however we lost our next match in overtime and placed 3rd at the tournament. I still look back at pictures from that event and think how did we not pull it off…
Biggest piece of advice: Above all just have fun, once you stop having fun you might as well pack up and leave. There’s no money here, no endorsements, no boosters. The only thing you are going to get out of this simple game is a smile on your face at the end of the day, if it’s not going to give you that find a different hobby.
Favorite pro team or player: Aaron Tholey has taught me pretty much everything I know since I was a young pup (about 15 I think), he’s one of my best friends and still somebody I look up to in the sport. My favorite team of all time will forever be the Oakland Assassins, those guys were hard; they put it on people and looked mean while doing it. It’s too bad that only one or two of them even play anymore.
Fun fact: When it comes down to it I really am a big paintball nerd, I rarely get to actually chat with somebody that knows what they’re talking about when it comes to guns or anything else that relates to the sport, so when that happens I usually go off and get really excited.