By AJ Barrett
For those of you who have faint memories or have not been in the paintball world for very long, Danny Park is not a “new” professional player as I’ve heard many refer to him as. Although we have only seen his assertive dominance in the snake for both Ironmen and Impact in these previous two seasons, Danny originally entered the pro division in 2009 with the 5 foot militia, San Diego Aftermath. His time in the division was brief, and after returning last season, he proved that he had not lost a step in his game. Shooting backs and insane rundowns were things we grew to expect from the young athlete, but his early departure from his former team, Edmonton Impact, was something fans were not expecting. I was honored with the chance to sit and talk with Danny about this incident and other current affairs in the league, and this is what he had to say:
When the news snippet of your release from Impact made its headline on PBnation, it was really quite a shock to a lot of people. The other roster changes that we are seeing unfold were rather predictable for the most part, but yours stood out the most to me. Throughout the past two seasons that we have been able to really watch you thrive, you’ve been consistent and aggressively taking charge. Bart Yachamec mentioned to the public that this release was solely based on the lack of playing time you received, but do you feel that there were ulterior motives to letting you go?
Possibly, but I’d rather not speculate as to whether or not there were other motives behind his decision to let me go. Bart’s a really nice guy and always looked out for the best interest of everyone on the team. From his point of view I can definitely see how he would think it’d been unfair to keep me on the team knowing I wouldn’t be getting the playing time he feels I deserve.
Well, it definitely seems that it was a really smooth transition between you and Bart. That’s really good to see in the paintball community rather than a Steve Smith/Panthers feud. I’m sure the way you handled it didn’t/won’t go unnoticed. Is it safe to say that we can expect to see more dynamic play from you in the Champions bracket in 2015?
I hope so!
Do you have any off-season plans, or a specific direction you would like to go in terms of a team that you would care to speculate on?
At this point I’m just waiting it out, seeing what options I have.
I understand. I’m going to shift gears here for a moment with this next one: This off-season has been utter chaos within just the first two weeks with teams breaking up or leaving PSP, player changes reflecting that of the NBA, and the inevitable relegation inviting top d1 teams into the battlefield. Who do you expect to see as the top team(s) in 2015?
My guess would be Impact, Ironmen, Damage and if word on the street is true about the Russians going back to Heat, I’d also put them up there.
I also believe Dynasty will be up there, I definitely think they’ll improve from last year or from this year I should say.
You say that if the Russians return to Heat they could be on top. Why do you feel/what have you seen that makes that small roster adjustment so much more crucial to the team?
It has to do with the format we play. The three russians (Mishka, Fedrov and Sergey) are some of the best players in the world. When you only have 5 guys on the field at a time with just 20 minutes of game time, you can pretty much run the same 5 nearly every point (which is basically what Heat did with these three Russians when they were on the team). Looking at what Heat accomplished in years past when these Russians were on the team leads me to believe they’ll be a top contender.
I would have to agree with that. It will definitely be interesting to see if the rumors pan out with Heat opening up 3 slots on the roster. You had a brief appearance in the professional division in 2009 with San Diego Aftermath. With regulations/rules that have changed since that era, which ones do you feel have impacted the game in favor of showing who the better players are?
I suppose the most significant rule would be the BPS drop. It was 12.5 back in 09 and the 2.3 drop in BPS is actually a big difference, making it slightly more difficult to gun battle.
That was only five, now almost six, years ago. Paintball players are a rare breed. They are continually getting better, smarter, faster, and more intuitive. This applies to professional players as well. What changes in your game have you had to make (if any) to keep up with the rapid rate of player growth around you, and what advice can you give to divisional players who are struggling to improve at the rate of their competitors?
Coming back into the sport last year I didn’t really change my approach. As a front snake player I’ve always had the mindset of being as aggressive as possible and that’s never changed. For divisional players that want to get better, just keep practicing. Play against better competition. Always work on the fundamentals, snap shooting, running and gunning, etc.
Well, that is just about all I have for this interview, but I want to thank you for taking the time to let us learn more about you and your thoughts as this off-season is already turning out to be one of the craziest ones yet. I’m very sure that we will be seeing you performing at the top level of the sport next year and for many more to come. If there is anything that has been left unsaid or that you would like to put in the air, feel free as I bring this to a close. Your time and input is greatly appreciated by all of us here at Social Paintball.
Thanks for the time AJ! I’d love to continue to play and that’s the plan. To those who have asked or may be wondering, there’s no bad blood between me and anyone associated with Impact. I have a great relationship with Bart and everyone on the team, but unfortunately things just didn’t work out in the end.
Source: SocialPaintball.com, Behind the Scenes: An Interview with Danny Park