(By Carmen Borgia, Crossfire Magazine, January 2002)

Fresh from the World Cup, Carmen Borgia had a chance to sit down and chat with Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees and newly addicted paintball player. Here's what he had to say.

CB: How did you get exposed to paintball?
MG: “I first played in 1984; it was called Survival and there was a bunch of us who all decided to try it. It didn't have the goggles or the protection, but it was all very low velocity so no one really felt anything when they hit you. I used to see [the paintballs] come out of the barrel - they were that slow. I got into it then and I loved it. It was more of a woods scenario.”

CB: How did you hear about it?
MG: “I heard about paintball from some Australian thing I saw on television where they were marking sheep from a helicopter with [markers] and some guy decided to start playing games with them. I thought it looked like fun. I found someone who was doing it here and I just asked around. Someone told me they were doing it right here in the Everglades, called Survival. So I bought all camouflage and a pair of glasses that protect your eyes. I just went out to the field and played, and I loved it.”

CB: Did you just play that one time and hold off for a while?
MG: “No, I played for about a year, but then I got really busy and couldn't get time to do it. Also, the fields weren't lasting long, people really weren't that interested. The fields were closing up so when I went back to play they were gone.”

CB: What got you interested in playing again?
MG: “I was having lunch with Frederick Renucci – my friend and teammate who keeps me safe, organized, and makes it all happen for me. One day and I asked him if he ever played paintball. He said no, but that he had heard of it. So we checked on the Internet and a lot of sites came up - I'd never seen anything like it. With all these wonderful masks and protective gear and markers, it just blew me away. I thought we've just got to do this again. I'd heard about a field called Rough and Tough, which is located in Florida and run by Pete Bofil who is also a pro player from Team Rage. It was a nice wooded scenario and two obstacle courses.”

CB: What is your favorite marker to play with?
MG: “My favorite gun is definitely the Angel, particularly Rocky's version of it [from Warped Sportz]. I love that one because it's very light and very accurate. I got a new one at the show this year, which is fantastic. So now I just use the two Angels.”

CB: What other markers have you used in the past?
MG: “The very first I ever had was the Black Angel. I like the Intimidators, I have two backups of those, and two E-mags. I have about nine markers in all.”

CB: How did you pick your team?
MG: “People like Ken, who is a great favorite of ours and a great team member, started showing us things. Eventually we all became a team. There was about six of us - Ken, then Dad, and Jason - and we could see who was passionate about it by who turned up every Sunday. Those who were dedicated became Royal Rat Rangers.”

CB: Is this your first tournament together?
MG: “The World Cup is our first tournament. We didn't know whether we'd win anything or not, but we just wanted the experience. I thought, ‘If I never do, then I'll never know.' This year we were definitely going to do it. So, we practiced as much as we could trying to get our moves, communication, and codes down. Communication, I've learned, is really the most important thing. For a novice team to go out with 300 points – we never thought we'd get 100 points.”

CB: When was your biggest fear encountered?
MG: “My worst nightmare, of course, at the World Cup was that I would get left alone out there and get bunkered to hell. And guess what? The first game I turned around and all my guys had gone, and I went running. It was All American I think, and they got me good. But I experienced it; after that I wasn't worried anymore. To tell you the truth, I think their air was a bit low.”

CB: Can you compare the adrenaline rush of performing a live concert to the rush of paintball?
MG: “The greatest thing in my life is having a natural high. The greatest natural high besides my wife and kids is going on stage, performing, recording, writing the songs, and then releasing it to the world. It's the same kind of rush with paintball because it makes me feel young and alive. It's exciting, it's safe, and it's fun. The stress relief is unbelievable. My favorite shower of the week is when I finish playing. I'm just in another world and so relaxed. I am still, two days later, floating. I love the fun of it all. It's not being dangerous, it's not being stupid, but it's like being a kid for the day. And the camaraderie!”

CB: When I saw you last year at the World Cup, were you just checking it out?
MG: “We got there too late, unfortunately, on the last day. I was intimidated then, and I thought, ‘I can't play them, these guys know what they are doing. They've been playing a hell of a lot longer than I have.' But then we all decided to have a go at it. We have pictures from this year of the guys walking the field, looking so worried. Then after the first game, everyone looks so relieved and happy.”

CB: I wondered if you were really into playing paintball.
MG: “We are. We've been doing this just under two years now. We want to play as many tournaments as we can, even if I can't play every time, the team is going to. We've got replacement captains and all that.”

CB: What do you see your team doing for the next year? What are your goals?
MG: “Next year? To be the number one team. We will do that? I'm going to have lunch with Avalanche to talk about it.”

CB: As far as circuits, which tournaments do you think you'll be attending?
MG: “I'd like to eventually get to the status of a pro team and play as many of the tournaments that we can possibly play.”

CB: Do you think you'll be going to all the NPPL events?
MG: “Oh yeah.”

CB: Do a lot of your peers in the music industry know you play?
MG: “Yes, most of them do. I've talked about it to people and of course the first question they ask is, ‘Does it hurt?' I said, ‘Well, Elton,. Let me put it this way: You can't wear that.' But seriously, a lot people have asked and I said to get bunkered is like getting hit with a wet towel. You're just so annoyed that you got hit that you don't think about it.”

CB: What is your favorite band or favorite type of music?
MG: “Well, I listen to all sorts, I don't really have a favorite. It depends on the mood I'm in; I like all kinds.”

CB: What are some of your hobbies besides paintball?
MG: “I love photography, editing videos, and experimenting with sound. My hobby is really electronics - gadgets and making things work how they are supposed to work. I'm a computer freak too, so I love computers, especially with digital photography.”

CB: Musically, what has been your best moment?
MG: “I think it was when our very first record went to number one, which was 'Massachusets'.”

CB: And how about your greatest paintball moment?
MG: “My greatest paintball moment was playing in this World Cup. It was one huge moment and one of the greatest weekends I've ever had.”

CB: I've seen the Gibb story on A&E and I think you're the same guy I saw in the 70s. It's very cool for me to see you playing paintball.
MG: “Well, thank you. I always have such a good time. I was afraid that I wouldn't get accepted, but I really felt at home. I chatted with a lot of the teams and players like Rocky, and everybody was so nice and helpful.”

CB: As captain, what do you talk about to the team?
MG: “I talk about the most important things: speed, communication, and the excitement. It's not necessarily motivation to win, but to do the best. The top thing is to have fun. I won't tolerate negativity. Learn from it and move on. “

CB: What kind of strategy changes do you think you'll make in the team after the World Cup?
MG: “Once again, we've learned from other players, by watching them and how they interact with each other. I know that when we take the field this Sunday, we'll be playing a lot different than before the World Cup. We learned, and we have a different confidence level too. It put a lot of confidence in the players.”

CB: You looked like you were just really enjoying yourself.
MG: “It just amazed me. All the camaraderie, the chemistry of the people, and everyone was ready to help. I wasn't going to go into this thing like we were a pro team when we're not. We were novices, and we wanted to learn.”

CB: You're taking the right steps, and you seem very open-minded about it.
MG: “I'll tell you something, none of those guys have egos. We just want to have fun and see how far we can go. The more we win, fantastic, but we're not going to let it get us down just because we didn't win one year. We have to build it and it's going to take time.”

CB: You surprised a lot of people, and I'm sure yourselves too.
MG: “I was so proud. They did everything the way they were supposed to, it was perfect. When they came out and lifted their masks, they were all sweaty and red with pride. That alone made the trip worthwhile.”

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