The sun is beating down on your head, your body is aching from last night’s festivities and small inch in diameter bruises, welts and scars cover your skin. Tired, dirty, sweaty, and sore, this is paintball in all of its glory and this is where you will find Jason Pineda, 23, graphic design.
Pineda began playing paintball in seventh grade with his church group but in 2001 he found a much faster and more aggressive style of tournament paintball.
“I started playing young guns with a team called Pressure Point. It was the beginning of my long career,” he said.
Pineda continued to hone his skills playing with several other teams in the under 16 tournaments known as young guns events. After just a couple of years, Pineda was offered a spot on a local team called Hostile Kids. At the time, Hostile Kids was a ProtÃ©gÃ© for the well-known southern California amateur team Hostile Takeover. “I think I got on the team because I shot all their faces off every time we played,” said Pineda.
After splitting from Hostile Takeover, the newly dubbed HK began moving through the ranks of all of the major tournaments.
Pineda and his teammates rose to a level of celebrity status that very few non-pro teams get to experience.
“I have been interviewed by Splat Magazine and several other magazines and traveled all over the world; all for doing what I love,” said Pineda. “When I started, I never thought it would go this far.”
Pineda took advantage of this stardom and started a clothing company. “I knew HK had a huge fan base, and my brother had been making some great designs, so I knew if I could get them on shirts I could sell them,” he said. His company, Inspired Clothing, has a large variety of items and a steady client base. “We have really taken off as a company. Inspired is now a sponsor of HK and helps fund some of the events we play.”
For Pineda and his team, the game is about family and having a good time. “We only practice twice a month. We still like to keep the team about having fun,” he said. “We have been doing it our way since the beginning and it works for us so we will let the other teams burn themselves out practicing four to six times a month; that’s just not us.”
Pineda’s former and current teammates acknowledge his hunger for the game.
“He is not just a great player, he is a great ambassador for the sport. He may give you a little ribbing here and there, but when you need it he is always there to help you learn and fix mistakes.” Said a member of the HK family Linnemann, 21, engineering. “You never have to ask him to sacrifice himself for the team; by the time you see it needs to be done he’s half was down the field taking care of it.”
“When it comes to game time, there isn’t any one else I would want on the field with me,” said Captain/founder of HK, Scott Kressin 21, undeclared. “He has blind faith in his team; an attribute that is absolutely necessary in the heat of the front lines.”