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Tuesday, 04 December 2012 00:00

Brothers in Arms

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Jason and Corey Bornstein, aka “The Hebrew Hammers” are not unknown names in the paintball world; their smiling faces are always a welcomed sight at any paintball tournament.  For the 2012 season, they have signed on with Sacramento XSV and it has started off to be a good one with XSV taking first place at NPPL 2012 Surf City Open, Huntington Beach.  Not often do brothers sharing the same passion, so I took an opportunity to get some insight on this dynamic duo and how they came about in the paintball world.

How long have you been playing paintball?
JB – We’ve been playing about 11 years now.

How did you first get introduced to paintball and where?
JB - Friends from school were all starting to get paintball guns and playing in backyards.  My parents wouldn't let me play because they thought I might hurt someone accidently.  The summer of `99 my parents surprised us with a day of paintball at a local field while we were vacationing in Oregon.  We were just visiting the area and only 6 people, including us, showed up.  The irony behind this particular field was the fact that it was owned by Mike Sinatra, who also owned the legendary Mare Island Paintball Field in Vallejo California.  I was by far the youngest there, but I had found my calling, they switched me around all day as I overwhelmed my opposition.  I had found my passion.

What was your first tournament?
JB - Young Guns in the Pan Am (which later became XPSL) series. I didn't do so well but learned a lot.

CB – Mine was a young guns tournament at Vallejo fairgrounds.

I remember first meeting you guys when you played on Ballistic years ago, tell me a little about your history with Ballistic.
JB - I was working at Kapp Paintball Park in Santa Rosa, CA when some co-workers asked if I would play on their Rookie 7-man team in San Jose at the upcoming XPSL.  I had tried out for Mommas Boys (Look them up if you don’t know of them!) but didn’t make it, so at that point I didn't really have any other options so I joined Ballistic.  We did well; in fact we took first place in San Jose, Oregon, and went undefeated in Vegas.  It was an amazing year of paintball!  We decided to make the jump to NPPL but I told the guys that we were picking up my little brother, everyone could see the potential in him and we had lost one of our players to Mommas Boys so it worked out.  The first year in D2 NPPL was a tough year, in Huntington Beach we made a decent showing, I think we placed 5th but Tampa I can't even recall as we didn't make Sunday.  It was rough as we all worked and the previous season we had used all our winnings to pay for travel and other expenses.  Mitch's dad, Tom, helped fund the team but it was costing too much that season, so half way through me and some other players joined Old School Hustle as they had a full sponsorship.  My brother didn't make OSH but he was practicing all the time with us and after an unsuccessful run with OSH, Ballistic was ready to make another run in 2006.  We held tournaments and worked really hard to make it work, and Tom was still helping out as much as he could.  Looking back, I'm so appreciative that Tom was able to do what he did and not do anymore because I developed responsibilities and a good, hard work ethic on and off the field.  Ballistic won Huntington Beach in 2006, we were back.  We took 2nd in Tampa to Hogan’s Alley but beat them the first match in Boston where we later took first in overtime.   I played a 1 on 1 for six grand and it took only a few seconds (Lucky shot off the break, but I'll take it)!!  We had some issues with the direction we saw the team going so we took it upon ourselves to make ends meet; it was time for us and Tom to part ways.  Boston was actually our first event as XSV influence (OG ballistic crew, missing only 1).  XSV influence took 5th in San Diego and we bounced back with a first in Orange County to end the season.  Real life hit most of the team following the last event and even though we all loved each other and knew we would be successful competing in semi-pro we all had to walk our own paths.  It was hard to part ways and no team will ever be the same, but I am fortunate enough to have done it all with my brother and our journey was just the beginning.

CB - After playing young guns for a few XPSL events, I was picked up on Ballistic with my brother.  As the youngest player on the team, I looked up to all the others as my role models.  My brother and the rest of the team worked very closely with me to help me become a better player.  We practiced every weekend rain or shine at our local field in Santa Rosa as well as other fields up in Northern California.  The practice and commitment that we had to each other and the game of paintball eventually paid off for us when we won the NPPL Huntington Beach Division II title and continued on to win two more events that same year.  After the team choose difference routes, I’m sure we all wondered what could have been if we were to play that 2007 season in the semi-pro division, unfortunately can only fantasize.
What was your progression into Professional?

JB – After XSV Influence, Corey and I tried out for XSV because at that point we were ready to play pro but I don’t quite remember why that didn’t work out, I think they only wanted me.  Anyhow, I got a call from the former Mommas Boys owner/captain/player who told me I think it’s about time you and your brother come and play for me.  A week or so later, Corey and I drove down to so-cal to try out for the Bushwackers flagship team.  The year Ballistic/XSV Influence was winning everything the two pro Bushwacker teams were in dead last and inevitably lost their pro spot.  We were under the impression that the Bushwackers would buy back a spot and finally Corey and I would be competing on a Pro team.  Then we got the news that there would be no pro team but two semi-pro teams and the kicker...Corey would play for Anaheim Bushwackers and I would play for OC Bushwackers.  I was pissed at the time, because regardless of not playing pro I thought for sure Corey and I would be playing together.  Fortunately, that didn't last long, after the first event in Huntington Beach I sat down with the Captain of OC bushwackers and told him when I step on the field I want to be playing with the best 7 players and my brother is one of those 7.  We made the switch for the second NPPL event in Tampa and playing alongside my brother, we took first place.  The 2007 NPPL semi-pro division had great teams and great competition all year long and after all that hard work my brother and I had helped the OC Bushwackers earn a pro spot for the 2008 NPPL season.  We made our professional debut with the OC Bushwhackers and since then we've played for Oakland BLAST where we won the 2009 NPPL Pro Series, SD Aftermath, NP Entourage, and Comin' at ya and now we’re with XSV.

Is it hard to transition from one Pro team to another?
JB - I haven't had a problem. I find it real motivating and feel as though I have to earn my keep all over again.

CB - The hardest part is learning the new calls

How is it being on XSV?
JB - It's been smooth sailing playing for Rich and the boys.  XSV really takes care of their own and that means a lot to both me and my brother.

CB - So far it’s been great. It’s awesome to be a part of such a historical franchise.  The way the team functions from practice to events is organized and productive.   I’m looking forward to the rest of this season and my future with XSV.

What influences have you had throughout your career?
JB - A friend of mine who now plays in the NFL taught me to stay humble no matter what the success.

CB – For me its tape, I watch a lot of footage on paintball.  You can learn a lot from watching the game. The teams I have been on as well as the players I have played with have had many positive influences on me as well, which mostly come from my experience with Ballistic/XSV Influence.

Have you made any sacrifices to ensure you can play with your brother?
JB – I had opportunities to play professionally but I waited and earned it with my brother.

CB – And I have joined teams that I had to work my way up the rankings in order to play with his squad. We have also both declined offers because they wouldn’t take both of us.

So, it doesn’t really sound like you encounter any sibling rivalries, has there been issues being brothers and playing in such an extreme sport together?
JB - None at all. For us its simple, we want to win.  Seeing each other succeed is what is most important.  Although if you put us up against each other its game time.  To compete at a professional level alongside my brother...I can't truly express what that means to me.  I pushed him and he hated me most of the time.  If Corey didn't play perfect paintball he had me in his ear, every weekend, all day, chest out, real life, Kevin Hart with it, hahaha!!  I was tough that's all I’m getting at.  The rivalry we have today is driven by our ambitions and we are far from finished….

CB - We have always been and always will be a package deal. A rivalry between us would not win tournaments.   At practice it’s a completely different story, the rivalry comes out and we play for keeps. But its practice and we know that it’s only getting us better and more prepared for the upcoming tournament.

How would you characterize your style of play?
JB – I’m coming to eat you, sometimes I don’t eat breakfast I just eat the enemy...

CB - Mouse Trap…I plant the cheese, you go for it, next thing you know MOUSE TRAP
What is the worst or most embarrassing thing you have done at a tournament?

JB - Corey and I were debuting with New Port Entourage in the NXL half way through the season and they had yet to make Sunday, but this event NP Entourage made it to Sunday.   We were playing well and we were going against Aftermath the first game on Sunday.  We knew it wouldn't be easy but we also knew we were going to win...well, we lost that match.  Aftermath played well and I felt that I had contributed too much to that loss.  I was angry and upset, so I took my gun and put it right up to my jaw and pulled the trigger...Fortunately, it wasn't caught on tape though it'd probably looked pretty wild.  I’m also thankful it didn’t scar but I'm telling you, I almost knocked myself out with that shot.  

CB - One time the ref was checking me after the game was over, and my gun fell and shot me in the stomach. Luckily the game was over so it didn’t count.

In your opinion, what are the 3 best paintball teams and 3 best players?
JB - 1. Dynasty / Dalton Vanderbyl  
2. Damage / Dave "the beast" Bains  
3rd spot is still open and I'm feeling XSV is going to earn respect all season long
Aaron Tholey... he's been killing it for years and chest out, Kevin Hart with it!
I have a few shout outs too for Colt Roberts, Greg Siewers and Justin Cornell

CB - Teams are constantly changing so that’s hard to say, but some of the most consistent teams in my eyes are Russian Legion & Dynasty.  The three best players would have to be Dave Bains, Neil Eberlee, and Yosh Rau.

Can you describe how it felt to win HB, your first Pro win?
JB - I’m still riding the high! Finally got a first place victory, now I just need one in the NXL...  

CB - In 2006, when we won the Division II bracket at HB as Ballistic, I remember Dave Bains came up to me and told me “remember this feeling”.   Winning HB as a Pro brought back that exact feeling.  After four second places at the pro level, I finally broke through and got that first place.  It feels great.

Which brother is the better player?
JB – They call me Hammer #1

CB - CB all day, but I’m always down to do a one-on-one for that title…

Do you have other hobbies?  What occupies your off paintball time?
JB - I shoot pool, play basketball, run, bike and I'm looking into triathlons come early summer.  I don’t play golf (To the boys back home)!!  School occupies much of my time during the week; I’m taking seven classes so I can graduate this semester and not pay the tuition increase this fall.

CB - When I’m not playing paintball I am usually doing schoolwork.  I’m a fourth year Nutrition major at Cal State Long Beach, and I spend nearly all of my time dedicated to that.  I also work out and do push-ups for fun.

How do you foresee your life after paintball? And hopefully that is a long while away!
JB - Traveling and living in many places. I think after I graduate school I'll have the freedom I need to explore new endeavors. "Train by day, Joe Rogan podcast by night...all day!"

CB - After paintball I see myself potentially going through dental school and becoming a dentist.

I’d like to thank Jason and Corey for taking the time and opening up to me and big congratulations on their first Pro win this year and best of luck with the 2012 season and XSV.

Read 8542 times Last modified on Saturday, 29 December 2012 15:22

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