January 16, 2018

It’s the final day for Halo: Red vs. Blue Killstreak, Today’s routine started pretty much like 
everyday with Coach waking me up with “Hey, Ruff. Time to grab some breakfast”. I get up 
slowly. And I MEAN SLOWLY. Because I’m sore as all hell and trying not to let it show. I must say I really enjoyed having Coach as my roommate for this trip. Not only is he a District 
Lieutenant in the Valken Corps who is level headed but has also has been on a Valken Corps 
road trip before so he has the flow down like clockwork. That and he’s and all around great dude, eager to help and great conversation. I’m sure we had a couple snore battles in our 
sleep but we were both okay with it. Got my teeth brushed and headed down to grab some 
coffee and a banana to start my morning. We all got packed up checked out of our rooms and headed to the field together. The trip to the field was filled with stories from the day before in the car with myself, Lacey, Paco and Sandy as Train and Coach had Valken Corps stuff to do. 
We hopped out of the truck and there was a tad bit of chill in the air still and our tables had a layer of frost on them from the unseasonably cold Florida morning. Shot a few ropes over the chrono to test the paint and that Valken Graffiti was like a trusted friend who wouldn’t let me down. It held together perfect. After a quick player briefing it was time to hit the field. We grabbed our gear and headed to our headquarters. As with day one, it seemed like the Valken Corps guys along with a small group of others were the first to fight. Not sure if us players from the Midwest Region were not hindered by the cold as much or if we just knew this was it. BANG! Game on!
We bolted straight to the hyperball field to hold off the other team until we had some reinforcements here with us to support a bigger push. We are doing a great job holding them back from getting to their side of the field then next thing you know one of their tanks comes! They got me with a rocket to the bunker but we bought enough time to fill the area with players so this time Red Team wouldn’t have it so easy. Since yesterday I didn’t get on any missions I went to ask HQ what they needed. Just at that time the enemy tank was passing our HQ and I heard Frank asking someone if they will go do the mission to blow up the enemy tank with a landmine! I dropped my pink lady by the door grabbed the ref, mission card, and land mine. By this time the tank is a city block down and stopping for nothing . So I pull my best Barry Allen impression and ran like a flash towards the tank with the ref right on my heels like kid flash.  As I was running I was thinking if they make it to the curve it’s over. Running full speed breathing like a bull in a rodeo and they’re hitting the curve. Instead of following the curve of the road I cut through to meet them because my time window is closing. Closing with every step and gaining on them, I look back to make sure the ref is still with me to sign my card and he is! I wasted too much energy not to get credit for this. 10 ft away and tossing the landmine at the truck. It seemed to happen in slow motion, once it left my hand I followed it with my eyes. Yes! Perfect hit in the bumper and the ref yells Boom !!!!! I'm pumped! Got my card signed and headed back to the base big smile on my face.
 I really cant decide if that was my favorite move of the game, Or maybe it was this: about 30 minutes later the enemies berserkers are pushing hard up the hyperball field. If you're asking yourself “What’s a berserker?” It’s basically a shield carrying player with a marker wearing a white t-shirt with kill circles on the front and back. The only real way to eliminate them is to sneak up and mark them from behind or a headshot. It’s annoyingly difficult. They were basically at the center of the field and moving in a team bunker to bunker towards the 50. I run snake side of the hyperball field their at their 30 and just letting their shields have it not realizing they had someone at the other end of the snake. BAM! Took a face shot! I run back to HQ and spawn and run back to where I was. This time I know he is there. I hit snake and I shot the shields who are at the 40 by this point and pop in waiting for snake side to show his face. Wait for it… SPLAT! Got em right back in the goggles we wave and my mind has changed to kill the shields! I hop back in my bunker and give it a second. And then out of no where I break out like a bat out of hell one thing on my mind kill the berserkers! I run right past the right side of the right shield and aim and squeeze on in the back cirlce of the 
1st one and then number 2 ! Two shots 2 shields down, I got hit seconds after the second kill but, mission accomplished!!! As I headed back for air and paint, the blue team who was 
advancing gave high fives of gratitude that filled me up pretty good. We sat between the break before final battle preparing and sharing stories of the day. 
The final battle was on the hyperball where most of the action for the weekend. But this time things were quite different. In the center of the final battle area they had two cornhole boxes a red and a blue. The object was to get your rocket carrier the opportunity to put a rocket in the box. But there was a catch only one person on your team could touch the rockets, and our runner? Yep, Frank Connell. A retired ole’ Pro. The other catch, we switched sides and do it twice…this could go so wrong or so right. So we battled it out pushing back and forth trying to help our runners get to the 50. It was intense and focused. Even when the blue side was down to 30% of the size of the Red Team. At the end we fought hard but they won final battle. So we are heading back to gear down and do the final score awards and giveaways compliments of Valken Sports, First Strike and Paracord Addiction. The awards ceremony got under way And Blue Team was up first. There were several different awards I had never heard of before at this game which I thought was super cool! Kudos to the promoters and field owners for that. When he got to the MVP award, I already knew in my mind who I felt deserved it the most and I’m guessing our general felt the same way . And when hesaid Paco’s name I couldn’t have agreed more. This was my first time really running with Paco and I gotta say dude is a straight up Gangster on the field!!!!! He was running at one point with a marker and a law rocket getting bodies . Next award was for breakout team and this one went to Valken’s own,“The Deplorables”. Final award from our side was most valuable team, and I was super excited when I heard Frank say “The Valken Corps”. If it was a contest I would have guessed many of the award reciepients from both sides. The players and teams who were recognized really did deserve them and a big shout out to those players. I had a chance to meet and play with all of them and lots of times I think politics plays into awards, but these were all well deserved. So to hear “Valken Corps” for MVT really took me back a step. How cool is that to be recognized on a field we’ve never been to as this crew?! After finishing up the ceremonies we headed back to get our stuff together, break down camp and load up the vehicles. Even though we played hard all weekend you would of never known we were tired if you watched us break down.  We had camp down and loaded in the van nice and neat in no time, and we had one last stop to the field owner to ask “Is there anything else we can do for YOU?”.  We drove out waving and saying a “window-down” farewell to every player we passed. I started to think about what I was going to write as my event wrap up. I’d rather it just come from the heart. 
What is Valken Corps? It’s about representing where you’re from and connecting with others. It’s about meeting other players and teams and getting out of your “bubble” because just outside of your “bubble” is a huge world of opportunity in paintball. It’s about leaving your mark by doing something for others. Half your team, all of your team, no team, it doesn’t matter in the Valken Corps, it matters that YOU are there, connecting, playing & sharing. When people found out that we came from all different areas, different teams and just shared a common love for paintball, I could see them get inspired. It truly is your Corps. It’s ALL about camaraderie! Join, participate and if you have any questions or are shy, you just ask me. I would love to help you have ½ of the experience I have had. Seriously, join the Valken Corps for free right now at or get your patches now or later. It don’t matter. Just connect, whatever level of player you are. Our General shared that he has been playing for over 24 years, and paintball has been a huge part of his life but at this event, with these people was the first time his 17 year old daughter and he got to play together. I’m glad I was there for that and all the other memories made this week. It never would have been if I didn’t take that first step.
Before I sign off for this trip I want to take this time to say thank you to the Valken Corps players, volunteers, First Strike Paintball, Pull Pin, and the family at Valken for the opportunity to not only be part of this amazing family but for the amazing weekend. I will be representing Valken this year and moving forward and we have some great things in store you won’t want to miss. I needed this opportunity to learn a bit so I could better share with you all, what we are doing. In this process, I am reminded that I only wish to give back some of the love you have shown me, and the chance to share my experience with the rest of the paintball world. And to all of you who have taken the time out of your life to “Ride with Ruff” or shared this blog; much love and thank you all! Until we ride again stay real … Ruff #vsup #whateverittakes #foraslongasittakes