NXL Chicago: Post Event chat with Carl 'Microwave' Markowski

Prior to the NXL Chicago event we decided to grab some time with Chicago Aftershock's Carl Markowski to find out where he, and the team, where at mentally and collectively.

They played good, but still didn't quite get the results they wanted. So we hit up Carl again for a post-event catch up to find out a little more about the before-and-after situation.

Image © IM2 Studios

Hey Carl, how are things man? So, Chicago. It didn’t go the way you guys had anticipated. But it wasn’t a total disaster though right?

You started out strong, dishing out an 8-1 mercy win against Boom who have shown a lot of potential this year. How did it feel opening the event which such a big win?
It felt great! The team played with confidence and poise, which we knew we had the capability of doing. We just needed that to fall over into the following games.

Image © IM2 Studios 
Image © IM2 Studios

That’s the Shock way isn’t it? To take the upper hand and keep going until the bell rings.
Keeping the pressure on is a must with Shock. I feel that we are at our best when we put the pressure on initially.

Does this approach hurt the team when the upper hand is lost, or when games are slow or close?
I don’t think so. Paintball is funny in that the upper hand sometimes falls onto the team that looks like their backs are against the wall.

Is this what happened against Dynasty? You were in a 3-3 match against the team that’s pretty much the antithesis of Aftershock. They have a habit of pulling wins out of the jaws of defeat don’t they?
The Dynasty match was a back and forth battle for sure. When it was going into the overtime point all that I had on my mind was my job and the confidence that I have in my teammates. You can never let the moment get away from you otherwise you won’t be able to focus like you should be.

Do you think if you’d have taken the win against Dynasty the momentum would have taken over into the Damage game?
Absolutely. The Boom victory gave us momentum going into the Dynasty match and it would have been the same case if we had pulled off the win against Dynasty. You always need to keep a level head no matter who you step on the field against otherwise you will be humbled by who you least expect.

Damage have really stepped up their game this year and have always been well organised. Do the issues you guys have with team practices start to show when you’re up against well organised teams?
We actually had two full weekends of pro team points and it was super beneficial for us going into the event. I don’t think that Damage beat us due to their organizational skills but rather they simply out played us and stuck to their game plans. If we would have played like we did on Friday I feel that we would have made Sunday.

I guess that’s always gonna be one of the hardest things to overcome. You can improve as players and hone your skills but if the team can’t get the hours under its belt as a unit and formulate a bunch of steady plans, you just can’t compensate for that. Is there anything you guys can do realistically to combat that?
We’re working on getting more quality practices in even if we have to travel but we are still limited. I would like to get more practices with Boom and the Outlaws since we are practically neighbors. I think the top teams all have one thing in common and they are around each other even when they don’t have to be. So, aside from practices, they are building that bond and trust that is needed on the field with off the field team activities.

We try and get together as much as we can but it’s difficult when we are so limited on getting everyone in one place at the same time besides practices and events.

Image © IM2 Studios

When Shock are on point it’s hard for a lot of teams to beat you, even the likes of Impact have found that out, and those guys practice a lot. Will you be going into World Cup with an plan to disrupt the order a bit? Or will you try and work on more planning?
Aftershock has brought on an assistant coach to help spread the responsibilities that Bruno has on his shoulders. We will be going into Cup with the same mentality and goal as we do every event. Our confidence has grown along with our trust in each other, in the coaching and our team game play.  We have been successful when we stick to what we know and if we can collectively achieve that goal at Cup we will be a major threat and a force to be reckoned with.

Whichever way you go you’ll be having fun though doing it right?
For sure. I’m always having fun when I’m out there, honestly. The day it stops being fun I’ll have up my gear and call it quits.

So what were your personal highlights from the Chicago event?
Well, going 2-2 was some sort of improvement but as far as some personal highlights go I would have to say that not getting a penalty for talking, pointing or anything like that is a plus. Haha

Any of your boys pull something out the bag that blew your mind?
Rodarte pulled off a sick little 5 pack during the Boom match. That really helped boost his confidence going into the Dynasty game.

Will the squad you have keep the faith and really come together to scare some teams in 2018?
Thats the plan haha. Our team has been getting better and better with each tournament. All we need is more time together on and off the field and with that, everything will make sense. Everything takes time but we can’t let our patience be overshadowed by our desire to win.

Any last words? Bit of smack talk for your Cup opponents, whoever they may be?
Make every moment matter even if its the smallest of details or the biggest decision.
The choices you make now determine who you are tomorrow.
You will never get this day back so live in the moment.
Be grateful and appreciate the small things in life because there are people out there with far bigger problems then your own.
You only have one life. Live it.

Ha ha thanks for that man, really appreciate your time. Good luck for World Cup and for 2018.

Anytime guys. Great talking with you as always.

Don't forget to check out Carl's Audio and Video 'Playing On' Podcast on YouTube and your podcast app of choice.