This interview was conducted with Crimson Sabres team captain Mike Nelson. Mike was born in Norwich and headed over to Canada when he was 5. He’s ex-Canadian Forces, now married with two kids. He played his first game of Paintball waaaayyyyyyy back in 1987 and as we found out, the Crimson Sabre’s are all decent folk too…
Hi Mike could you tell the Bedlam Paintballer’s about the Crimson Sabres?
A bit about the Team…
The Team was founded in October 2007. The forming of the Team was with two friends of mine at the time, and we used the model of our last team “Balrog’s” as an outline. The Crimson Sabres are primarily focusing on military simulation (mil-sim) and scenario style woodsball. But the team is far more than that.
Far more? What other things do you guys do?
Things like; Participating in charity and sponsor-oriented events as either participants or volunteers, Refereeing and working at various paintball events, attending team BBQs, camping and various other team rel-action (relaxation) events and outings.
Are there other ‘factions’ of the Crimson Sabres?
The Sabres also sport a Team Support Group (TSG) of non-active fighters and volunteers who are a part of the team but aren’t part of the fighting corp. The TSG aids the team both on and off the field and performs work such as photography and multimedia services, camp control and operations, medical services, and so forth.
The Sabres also have a Junior member squad called the Sabre Cadets. This youth program is for the children of active members 10 years of age and older. The Sabre cadets support the TSG and are also involved with limited paintball training and play to expose them safely to the sport and to have fun.
Do the Crimson Sabres ever take part in Canadian paintball tournaments?
Sure! Our home field had a season of ‘tactical’ tournaments, sadly these turned out to be more than speedball tournaments outside with wooden obstacles…though we held a steady third place throughout the 5 months.
In the UK, paintball seems to be regarded as a “Day out” rather than the sport it appears to be in US and Canada, any thoughts on why this is?
I don’t honestly know.
Here in western Canada paintball doesn’t seem to be anywhere like it is even in eastern Canada let alone like the states. One could argue its all about shooting things and as we know the yanks have ‘bond’ with their firearms etc, so maybe its that?
Here for example, I mention when I am out talking to local business about sponsorship (the ones advertising sports team sponsorships) I get a blank confused stare when I mention I captain a paintball team and sometimes get well sorry thats not a sport is it?
Maybe we need to join forces and market the uk and Canada more and get it out that paintball is not just a day out, it is a sport..
I mean come on, we train, workout and have a team fitness consultant… I don’t see many beer baseball leagues around my area with one (lol).
You mentioned you use military styled tactics in your paintballing, what kinds of roles do the team play in a match?
Keep in mind.. im an old cold war soldier and a canuck (lol) which means everyone’s main role is support the teams present objectives.
The military uses the term ‘rifleman’ we say ‘markerman’ and everyone is trained in the other roles. We do have a heavy gunner and will be training some ‘special operators’ soon who will be tasked (when in big games and maybe small ones too) with various tasks such as: infiltration, objective assessments, skirmish and whatever crazy jobs I (or my squad leaders) can come up with during a game to get the job done.
Now, apart from paintpalling, you mentioned that you guys do alot of charity work, what kind of things do you?
An example would be last summer (2011) we assisted in the running and process of a charity scavenger hunt for Meals on wheels. The team being used to working together in a ranked system allows us to utilize our resources to the maximum potential. we are willing to do whatever am organization wishes us to do, we believe it is our privilege to be there not theirs to have us. This past November (2011) one of my recruits took it upon himself to organize a food drive for the veterans.
We of course play paintball for charity as well, Crimson Sabres have played for Veterans, Tsunami victims, Red Cross, fallen soldier funds to name a few.