For today’s post, I’ve selected professional paintball player Oliver Cameron Lang as my subject for the “Case of the Fridays“.
I chose Oliver because I’ve known him for quite awhile now – and I always see him posting about his adventurous around the world, but also his adventures from our home city of San Diego.
I really think Oliver shows a passion for life in regards to his showmanship style of fashion, his zest for travel, and eagerness to do something exciting with each day. A lot of people think you have to travel in order to have adventure – and while he *does do that* - he also leads a prime example of how to have fun on a daily basis.
Here are a few photos I snagged from his facebook page that I feel give a good sense of his personality:
I met up with Oliver at his loft in downtown San Diego just as the sun was going down. Here’s a visualization to help give you an image of the discussion that follows.
What is your name/age?
”Oliver Cameron Lang – 30″
What is your occupation?
“Professional Paintball Player”
Where did you grow up?
“Marin County, CA”
How long have you been doing what you currently do?
“Since I was 14…so 16 years”
Did you have a 9-5 job before that?
“I worked at Blockbuster in high school, and then I worked with a paintball sponsor when I first started playing, and that kind of segwayed into more opportunities within the industry.”
How did you become involved in professional paintball?
“The big tipping point was when I was recruited to play for a certain factory team – they got me involved with research and design for manufacturing equipment, I contributed (and they valued) my opinion in meetings, sales…I was heavily involved in communications. The companies own a portion of the league, so my opinions even factored into the formats of how the sport was being played – to an extent.”
How much longer do you envision yourself playing on the circuit?
“I’m at a level right now where I love the sport so much…I can’t live without it, but I’ll continue playing the sport as long as my body can hold up. I understand the history of the sport and where its been and where it’s going – it’s a strong connection that I’ve had for a long time. If I take care of myself well enough, I can really stay involved playing for the next 10 or 15 years if I wanted to.
I think my next goal within the sport is to create my own league and format according to the kind of style I envision is best for the sport. Almost like an *Oliver Lang* event series. I have an idea of building a format that would be great for spectators and create a lot of growth opportunities for these younger guys that haven’t had the option with some of the other formats.
It’s not a sport that can be owned – you really have to educate everyone on who people are and what their roles are. You really have to paint a picture for the audience to understand the dynamic. It takes true education and understanding of how the sport is different in order to watch the game and really “get it”.
There are several different types of leagues all over the world that have separate rules and separate formats, it’s almost an entirely different game sometimes depending on which country you go to.”
What level of schooling have you completed?
“High school with a little stint in community college. The small stint ended right where the pinnacle of paintball was really hitting. Economies were booming all over the place, and we were just there at the right place at the right time. I plan to go back and take a few classes to learn about art.”
What is it that you love about your work?
“It’s what I love to ‘do’. I get to travel, make friends, try new and exotic foods – I get to experience things that you don’t normally have the opportunity to do in a 9-5. A lot of people don’t know what’s out there, and what’s possible…once you understand new standards of living where luxurious ideas become reality or amazing opportunities present themselves, you get used to a new ’normal’. But you have to make sure it doesn’t go to your head and maintain a mindset of being thankful for what we have.”
What is your least favorite thing about your work?
“There’s a lot of emotional tie into the experience. People don’t know that competitive side of me, sometimes I have to be an asshole on the field to get the job done. There’s a huge emotional drain if you don’t win, sometimes you feel like you let people down. Especially when you lose by a small fraction of error. Everything that you’ve done – traveled thousands of miles, slept in shitty hotel rooms, eaten shitty food, and lost sleep – all of that just seems pointless if you don’t come back with the win. It can be really frustrating at times to lose, and it’s difficult to not take that emotion out. I’m the nicest guy off the field, but when it comes time to compete – I take things pretty seriously.”
What are some of the advantages of your job compared with the regular corporate career?
“Flyer miles. (laughing). I’ve become accustomed to travel, and the biggest perk to my job Is that I get to hang out with my friends. It’s a bond that’s like none other when you win with a team composed of all your friends.”
What are some of the disadvantages compared with the regular corporate career?
“It’s difficult traveling so frequently – it makes it hard to have a long term relationship. I like sleeping in my own bed – even though I love traveling. A lot of times your sleep patterns are fucked from timezone changes, you’re bundled up in a ball in the airport – it all really depends on how willing you are to go through these experiences. Sometimes you lose a bag, and you just gotta think of it as ‘gone’ – can’t dwell on it. Just gotta keep moving forward.”
How different is the dating scene for you? Is it easier/harder to make time to be with your significant other?
“It’s difficult to have a long-term relationship because, really – how realistic is it to expect to have a solid relationship with someone that’s traveling 70% of the time?
It’s definitely a good conversation starter (playing pro paintball), but it really depends on the countries and if they speak English. In America, the common language is sarcasm and some places don’t even know what that is.
I’ve had long term overseas relationships and they’ve been great – at the same time San Diego is full of beautiful women and there are some girls that I’ve really looked forward to seeing when I get back from traveling. I’ve had some great physical connections with girls & that’s always nice, but really the most important thing is having an awesome conversation.”
Do you tend to prefer to live paycheck to paycheck or with a savings plan accounted for? Is your income predictable and regular, or entirely dependent on what you produce?
“There was a moment in life I thought I was making a large amount of money (so I thought), then I realized that it wasn’t that much when there’s even more possible – and then I realized that money isn’t the end all goal…it’s just the standard people have established. I need a little cushion for sure – but I definitely like to live month to month, let’s put it that way. I absolutely believe in having some tucked away in case of an emergency and health insurance doesn’t come through, etc.
Without a doubt – never ever get into debt. I’ve learned that if the cash flow slows down a bit, I know I gotta go out and hustle.
Once you establish a standard for the kind of money you make, you really can’t go back down – you have to realize what you need to do to earn to maintain it.”
How do you imagine your retirement, or lifestyle past 60?
“I’ve got a plan – 60 – I’d like to be sailing around the Caribbean. Being cap ron. With or without my wife, ha!”
Do you see your career facilitating a lifestyle suitable for a family, or do you have the desire to have a family?
“Not right now, but I understand that. I’m at a very selfish point in my life – my new years resolution was to treat myself like a king this year. I want to have ‘myself’ resolved before I can fully meet someone and be in a relationship with them. I’m on a path right now and there are certain things I need to do before I move forward and have a family.”
What are your top priorities in the ‘big picture’?
“I think a lot of people look at money as the benchmark of success, but I look at spirituality, friendship, and experiences. You have to sit down and really evaluate what’s REALLY important when it comes down to it. One time I didn’t have much money and it made me really realize how valuable money really is. Family is definitely important…me and my mom are the only ones in my case. The only requirement that god has placed on you – is our responsibility is to procreate. You can be an individual and experience life for sure, but I think it’s easier with a mate – you’re supposed to have a “team”. Together we have a seed, we plant it, and we make this human being as good as it can be.”
If you had any advice to someone just graduating college or thinking about switching careers, what would it be?
“They have a long, long road/life ahead of them. Take that leap, get uncomfortable. A well-lived life is a delightful struggle. If you’re just graduating college & you don’t know what you want to do, you’ve got a long road ahead of you. They say you switch careers 10 times in your life. Explore the things you’re curious about, and if it doesn’t work out – you’ll learn and take that knowledge into your next endeavor.
There’s a lot of life to live, and it’s a wide road. The biggest way to understand that there’s a lot out there is to travel – see how people live differently.
I’m just realizing this now – and I’m just starting *now* to really open my wings and fly.
I’m at a point where I want to ascend…full blown artistic lifestyle. Get in to music, painting, dancing, really explore myself in terms of theatrics – maybe acting. But I’m curious about how I do in these kinds of things. I know I might not be great, but I know I can do them. I’ll figure out which things I like the best and sail those into the next decade.”
If someone wanted to do your job, what is important to maintain a position?
“It’s all about practice. I can always practice to get better and improve my style of play.”
Who inspires you?
“Well, I’d like to think one day I’d be a nice blend of Salvador Dali, Dr. Seuss, and Errol Flynn.
Shane Pestana – he taught me how to win. He taught me a certain kind of confidence that just allowed you to go after something and just win it. You just have to do what it takes.”
What do you think of authority?
“I think it’s very important, unless it’s abused. I think the right people in the right positions are important to make things happen. The desire for power is what corrupts it.”
What did you get into the most trouble for when you were young?
“I used to skateboard a lot and it was a constant battle with the police. The sport was kind of like where paintball was right now. We used to get beat by up the cops or we used to beat them up…or other security guards, it wasn’t always just me but we’re in a big group and when someone comes at you in an abrasive manner – you kind of put on your punk attitude. Everyone just wants a little respect though – and it goes both ways.”
What did you want to be when you want to be when you grew up?
“An underwater archeologist to find treasure.”
What are some of your favorite sounds?
“Haha, I actually invented a sound – when you rub a piece of rubber together – it goes *Brrrrrraaap*. I like the sound of aluminum getting sprayed with a faucet when it’s getting cleaned in the sink.”
What’s your favorite curse word?
“It’s gotta be fuck. I like cursing, but only when it means something.”
What’s your favorite memory from your past?
“Going to a skateboard competition where I met this proskater I had followed in the news for awhile, he introduced me to his crew and they all signed my t-shirt. I couldn’t read any of their signatures when I got home though, ha! Except for one guy though – Drake Jones, he wrote his name in all block letters. If I ever become famous I’m gonna sign my name legibly.”
If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be, and why?
“I’d have to say some sort of cool bird. How could you not want to fly?? Hummingbird maybe. It’d be cool to kind of zip around and drink nectar”
What are some of your favorite smells?
“I love the smell of this Paulo Santos stuff – which holy wood. Holy basil is by far my favorite smell – discovered it on a shamonic adventure.” (hands me a branch to smell)
If you were a character in a famous movie, who’s role would you play?
“James bond. Hands down.”
If you could go back to any point in history for a month, what time period would you visit?
“Probably the point where they started creating pesticides so I could stop it from happening.”
If you had to obtain $1m illegally, how would you do it?
Which long lost childhood object would you most like to find?
“A gold necklace that my dad gave me. It was beautiful, and my dad was a jewler – I lost it in a bush one day, I searched and searched but just couldn’t find it.”
What age do people become “old”, what’s the secret to staying young?
“60, or just on the cusp. Simple – eat well, exercise, sleep, and feed your soul.”
What’s your favorite quotation?
“Nature is the true definition of art. I came up with that the other day.”
If someone wanted to get in touch with you and ask you more about what it takes to get involved in your career, what would be the best way?
On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to get back to them?
8 or 9. It depends. I get a lot of paintball kids emailing me all the time…if it’s a genuine question or thought – I’ll 100% get back to you.
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