Nolan Reeher of Tampa Bay Damage Crew

Interview By Te’Shawn Crenshaw for Splatlife Media
Photo By: Gemfox Photography

Nolan is a new guy on the block. He fell in love with paintball a year and a half ago and has became hungry as they come in our sport. He claims his story is typical on how he got into paintball, but for this 23 year old it was a lot more than just “typical”. I’ll let him tell you why. Nolan Reeher’s story will inspire those starting from the bottom for years to come. I present you, one the first bred from the Tampa Bay Damage Crew.

Splatlife:  For those that don’t know you, where are you from, what field do you practice at, and who is your team?

Nolan:  Well, I’m from Tampa, Florida born and raised. I currently play D4 for Tampa Bay Damage Crew. We practice out of CFP (Central Florida Paintball) in Lakeland, Florida.

Splatlife:  You got picked up by the Damage Crew, that’s awesome. Walk me through the process through tryouts for that. You were being evaluated by the pros basically?

Nolan:  Yeah, try outs were different days. Semi pro, D1, and D2 try outs one weekend and D6-D3 try out another weekend. I missed the first try out for D4 so I had to come during the semi pro, D1,D2 try out day. I tell you what though that was a tough try out. The fact I was at first afraid to play people in such high caliber made me nervous. With me being so new I had to stick it out and give it my all, trying to run with those guys was a task. The pros did evaluate a lot of players, as well as our coach Tom Fox who previously ran the Wicked Sports team with a lot of success. They ran certain drills: low body drills, low paint drills, 2 on 1′s, 3 on 1′s, field awareness, communication, watched for speed, gun skills, snap shooting and determination.

“Everything you look for in a paintball athlete they looked for.”

After being evaluated, people were told know when to come back. It was the best experience I’ve had so far and was given a chance to come back. Tom gathered my information and the process was done, I had made the team.

Splatlife:  Wow that sounds intense! You’re a brave guy walking into that with high caliber players like that. Honestly that’s how I felt walking into Alex Martinez’s shop looking for a job with all the pros gearing up that I looked up to but your story takes the cake! Were you just nervous with every drill that was coming? You stepped in on a day where no mercy was given honestly.

Nolan:  I was nervous because I had all the pros watching, Kyle Barry, Michael Waring , Jason Edwards, Jacob Edwards, LP Everett,  Daniel Holiday. Plus all the semi pro guys I’m playing against. I was nervous of the drills, man oh man the drills were intense, I was afraid of messing up.

“So much pressure to do good or show that you belong when your such a new player to the game.”

I wasn’t the only one either, some other lower division guys were in the same boat. Stepping in on a day were things are a hundred times harder than your typical D4 try out. I didn’t expect my self to do great…but I had to build confidence in myself to try it. You will never know how far you will make it unless you try. Trying in my book also means not half assing anything. Give 110% or why bothering to show up.

Splatlife:  That’s a great attitude to have, don’t let the fire burn out and you can go far, that’s guaranteed in this sport. How long have you been playing paintball for?

Nolan:  Well, I have been playing for just about a year and a half. My first time playing was like your typical story. It was my 23rd birthday in January and my best friend took me to play paintball. Ever since then I was hooked. I began playing every weekend. I didn’t even know what speedball was until I tried it. Eventually I bought my first setup which was a Proto PM7 and from there I joined my first team Tampa Bay Rawrsome, met some of my closest friends through that team and people that taught me a lot, Alain and Aisar Cure. Rawrsome eventually fell apart and what was left of us merged with The University of Tampa non student line. I played events such as MILP, CFPS, SPL, and NXL World Cup between both the teams, I couldn’t get enough.

Splatlife:  You’re in a hot spot for paintball and playing for one of the best teams to make their own organization, you know that? The history runs deep. I’ve been a Damage fan since I was 13.

Nolan:  Yeah man it’s such a great opportunity. I’m so grateful that I could even have the chance to be here and be a part of this organization. Instantly I was a Damage fan when I found there was even a pro league for paintball. I’m from Tampa, why wouldn’t I be a fan of my home team? 

“Most of your typical people look to sandbag and win small tournaments. My goal is to bigger than that.“

It may take some time but with hard work and guidance from these seasoned pros what can stop me? I have watched every video that I possibly could find about Damage trying to learn the history. It’s almost shocking I’ve been on the field running points with these guys. It’s such a blessing, nobody knows how much it will mean to me to just get better.

Splatlife:  You’re getting an opportunity most teams don’t, pro instruction right there at your disposal, feed off that. I get that with X-factor and I trip out. Who’s your favorite on the pro squad?

Nolan:  My favorite pro? That’s a tough question. Honestly it would have to be Michael. I look at him playing and say, “That can be me”. We both play the Snake position so he’s the one helping me with that spot. He’s got that positive attitude, super serious but yet funny on the field. The determination you see him give is something I look up to. He’s worked hard himself to get where he is at. Something you can admire in someone that was once in your shoes. He’s always willing to help and show the new guys some of the tricks to the trade.

Splatlife:  That’s a good choice, watching Michael play with that speed he has is so exciting.

Nolan:  I have always wanted to ask him to race. I’m pretty fast myself I think. Maybe asking him to race this Sunday will be something that will happen lol. They don’t call him the gazelle for no reason though.

Splatlife:  What’s your personal goals for this year if you had to sum it up?

Nolan:  My personal goals? Well one is to understand the game more. I would also like to learn other positions such as dorito side to be more versatile, win events, work better as a unit than an individual, but also work on my personal skill level. My ultimate goal is to be the best I can be and give 110% every time. Wether it’s on the field or showing up to watch pros practice, I’m there.

Splatlife:  Nolan you’re definitely determined and I hope many like you see this and will add fuel to the fire after reading. Is there anyone you’d like to shout out or thank before we end?

Nolan:  Well I would like to thank Alain Moreau for giving me the confidence to play and being a good friend. Aisar Cure for showing me the ropes in the beginning, super legit D2 player from Venezuela. Most of all Tom Fox and all of the Damage guys for this great opportunity. The sponsors as well Macdev, Bnkr Kings, Virtue Paintball, Wicked Sports Paintball. None of this would be happening if it wasn’t for them. Thanks to everyone that believes in me.