Written by Maximilian Jany
Photographs by Gaston Roulstone of switch Multimedia
Apocalypse is a Johannesburg based paintball team consisting of seven determined paintballers. The following seven players are currently on our roster;
Dane Sam, Grayson Hopkins, George Karasanthas, Jared Marshall, Mike Van Der Walt, Nick Mitri, Paul Da Silva
- This is your guys second full season on the South African scene. What’s the story behind the name and the team itself?
Apocalypse was formed in 2011. Basically there were two teams battling it out for the 2010 PBC (Paintball City) 3-man series. Star Ballers (Jared Marshall, Mike Van Der Walt and one other) and Serenity (Dane Sam, George Karasanthas and myself). The two teams finished first and second for that series. Although we were competitors, we did get along... well kind of. We all decided after the completion of the 3-man season that we should join forces and start up a
5-man squad. We then asked Grayson Hopkins, who played for The Fallen to join us as he had on several occasions run down the snake side and shot all three of us.
Regarding our name, we wanted our competitors to experience the end of the world when playing us. We hoped a strong sounding name would intimidate our opponents...
- Apocalypse have played a few different events and formats this year. What has been the highlights for the team?
Our highlight has been to have found sponsors and several sponsors at that. Even though we were not the best team in town. I think our sponsors saw something in us that maybe we didn't see in ourselves. It's such a good feeling when someone shows they believe in you. Every single player on the team has improved tremendously this year. It is such an honour when your peers and your competitors come to you and tell you that the team is looking good.
- You guys managed to pick up Ex-Reaper player Paulo Da Silva for your guys 2012 season. With his experience, how has it changed the dynamics of how the team plays?
It definitely has and we were very fortunate to have Paul join our team. We were friends for a while and I think Paul saw how we all got along and that we did things for the fun of it and that there is no pressure to perform on our team. If players don't perform, we encourage them. There is no pressure in our squad. Paul's experience has proved very beneficial for us.
- Apocalypse picked up some Planet Eclipse markers last season and picked up an Eclipse sponsorship for the 2012 season. How has this affected your guys 2012 season?
Well most of us were Eclipse supporters to begin with. Only Gray and Nick were shooting other markers. Those two soon saw the light though and now the whole team shoots Eclipse, wears Eclipse, eats and breaths Eclipse. It has been great. Eclipse guns are plug and play. Press the on button, load paint and off you go. We haven't had a gun go down yet this season.
- Last year you guys travelled to Malaysia to take on the Division 2 scene at World Cup Asia. Any plans to take to the international paintball scene this year and show that South African teams can hold their own?
Yes, we are going to Malaysia again this year for sure. It was such a great experience for us and we all really enjoyed the experience. We made the quarter finals which was great. This year we hope to do better!
- Podium finishes don't just happen, it takes a lot of effort and determination to make it in this sport. How often do Apocalypse train and do you guys train alone or alongside other teams?
This is so true. We had no podiums last year as a 5-man team. We found it difficult to gel together and the teams we were playing against were all good teams. We decided this year to put much more time, effort and structure into our training and it has paid off. Also landing awesome sponsors has helped. Paintballshop has been absolutely great. They are definitely one of the reasons for our success. We often train with the pro teams and we have gradually got closer and closer to their level. At the recent RPL event (event 3), we even took games off the pro teams. This never happened when we started training with them. We aim to practice twice a month.
- With the 2012 season in its second half and no chance of Apocalypse slowing down. What is on the cards for the team going into the 2013 season?
Well we have won both GPPL events this year as well as all three BNT 3-man events, so things are looking good. We will keep pushing and hopefully win the remaining events for both of the above mentioned series. We will only look at 2013 when we get there - so in January next year.
- You guys are making a name for yourselves in the Johannesburg scene and there are more and more new teams and players joining every month. Do you guys have any words of advice for the new players and teams in South Africa?
We all play paintball because we enjoy it. It is our passion. Winning is great, but not everything. As a team we are all friends and get along famously. We enjoy each other's company. We are so fortunate to have this. If we win, it's great - if we lose, no problem.
Play paintball with people you get along with off the field. Make it about having fun and meeting people. Don't take it too seriously. We see players who need to cheat to win. Once winning becomes so important to you that you need to wipe to stay in the game, then it's gone too far.
Just have fun.
Nick Mitri for team Apocalypse.