I just received the following message from Karen and Carl Bortol, the owners of Team VICIOUS. I haven't even read it yet, so you are getting the official word at the same time I am.
We have decided to give our team’s response to John Dresser at PbNation as he has been fair in his reporting through the years and checks his facts before releasing information. Please remember that things posted by others may not be the entire truth. Many times things you read have been taken out of context and do not accurately represent what really happens in an organization. Many times things you read, never transpired.
It is with very heavy hearts and very swollen eyes from yesterday’s airport goodbyes that we make the announcement that Team Vicious will no longer be playing in the PSP.
Real life has finally caught up with our team after ten years in the sport. When Vicious began we encouraged a bunch of young 15-17 year old kids to treat paintball as a hobby, not a career. Education was a priority. Go to college and get degrees. Now they have great jobs, paid health insurance, bonuses and 401K plans. We think we made the correct decision.
We started the 2006 season with seven kids from Nebraska. We always stated that when the final original player was done, the team would end its run. This team was not about hiring what many considered to be paintball superstars. It was about taking a bunch of kids and seeing if they could make it work. Bryan Bortol, Parker Rosenthal and Zak Sherman played together for 10 years. They have experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat during their PSP tenure. Chris Hooker was also an original player and had to end his career this year with a back injury.
Along the way we added Trevor Resar, Shane Colby and Matt Sossoman. We wish we had them from the beginning of our pro PSP run. Alexander Borromeo and Nate Schroeder were added this year and if only we had found them sooner. The biggest compliment I think I ever received was someone who stated, “I never went after your players because they are too damn loyal.” We realized how close this team had become during Bryan’s wedding this year when they were all in it and Shane was Bryan’s best man. They all clean up very well. Congratulations also to Matt who was just married this month.
We never paid these players a salary, and we never worried about any of them in the off season jumping to another team. For years we heard that Vicious was never going to amount to anything without getting some “hired guns” to win championships. That was never the original intent. We were going to win events with a bunch of players that not many other pro teams would even give a tryout. Loyalty was the biggest thing that held this team together. You had to be a team player to make it in this organization.
We never went after the rock star image. Our team never drank at the field. We have so many underage followers that we tried to promote a positive image so parents would allow their children to get involved in the sport. Our players were also encouraged to handle social media in a positive manner.
We also hope that Vicious will be remembered for their contributions on and off the field. This year we did well on the field. We took 2nd in Dallas, and were beating top teams all year. We were never relegated. Only four teams managed to stay in Champions all year. We sent last year’s WC Champion to the Challenger’s Division. We also sent this year’s WC Champion winner to the Challenger’s Division. Many times we were one point away from playing on Sunday, which included losing an overtime point to Impact at this last WC to play on Sunday. It is hard to put so much time, effort and money into a sport where your fate can be decided by a bounced paintball that you wished would have broken, or a missed call by a ref. I wish all pack hits were minors.
Playing Canada this year was probably one of the best things we ever have done. It wasn’t just about the domination and winning the NAX rings. We had fun. It is a lot easier to play paintball when you are having fun and doing well with your friends. We also felt respected by the league and hope that they felt respected by us in return. CXBL is a great league to play. It is not as time consuming as playing the PSP or Millennium. We picked the league because it allowed our players to miss less time at their real jobs. We also survived because of being adopted by Nathalie Gorman and the Frontline Heroes. Best Canadian pit crew ever!
Our team stayed very humble. At their last pro signing they still wondered why people were standing in line for their autograph. They were also good at participating in the philanthropic side of Vicious. They held mini golf tournaments that raised money for a homeless shelter and a humane society. They also gave time and money to needy families at Christmas. They were one on the biggest supporters of breast cancer awareness and childhood cancer in the sport. In their final year at WC they helped raised over $12,000 for breast cancer. We tried to teach our team how important it is to give back to others. They were always willing to give their time to mentor lower division players. Thanks to the team for all of the other teams they have helped get better.
We need to thank our field sponsor. MadCow Paintball in Nebraska, owned by Bill & Teri Metzger is our home field. The Vicious Streetball Events that have been held there through the years have been some of our most fun moments in paintball. Their dedication is what helps keep paintball alive in Nebraska. This field is where many of our players got their start in this sport.
We are thankful for our sponsors during the last ten years. Empire, Gen X, Inception Designs, Exalt, Eclipse, and Ninja. We put a great amount of effort in marketing our team through the years and tried to represent you in a positive manner. Paintball is a very expensive sport that required sponsorships, and owner money to survive. We would love to have had one more year, but time is not our friend.
We have made lifelong friendships in the sport. We have provided so much financial help to teams outside of our organization that we can’t even name all of them. Many times people would tell us we were wasting money helping other teams and we should use it to buy players. Not really the way our family thinks. I hope we made your lives a little bit better. It was a pleasure meeting and helping you pursue your paintball dreams. Thanks to many of the teams who found us and personally thanked us for helping. It does mean so much to us.
Special thanks to Simon and Emilie Stevens. We were lucky you became such a part of our paintball lives, and look forward to continuing our friendships. Thanks Timmy, Stewart, Ronnie, Lucas, Ray, Richard, Burgess, Gil, Sean, Matt S, and everyone who ever helped pit. Ben Frederick, next time to Florida better be for a wedding. Jake & Julie, thanks for surviving through these years. The team could not have done this without the two of you.
Special thanks to Todd Martinez. He had retired from coaching and was persuaded to take a chance on coaching Vicious. Coaching had been a major struggle for this team since the first year we went pro. He gave them the direction the team needed. Our personal friendship will extend way beyond the PSP field.
To our fans and supporters, we thank you for staying the course with the team. We tried to make you proud of your support. To all the parents that trusted us with your kids and letting them miss school, family gatherings, weddings, and so many family activities though the years. Our Vicious OT on PbNation has over 600,000 posts. Thanks to Foot and Mahoney for keeping it going. Thanks Penner for all of the great photos through the years. Thank you to everyone who posts and keeps us safe on the boat. Thanks John Dresser for letting it live.
To the Vicious players, we thank you. Thanks for putting up fields, reffing tournaments, time spent away from your loved ones and missing opportunities in real life to play this sport. Thank you for being part of our family. We can only hope you know how much you mean to us. Thanks to the DSS Team for practicing against them all those years.
Vicious leaves the PSP ranked the #4 team in the PSP, which to many is considered the fourth ranked team in the world, and we are the #1 team in the CXBL. Not bad for a bunch of kids that many people never gave a chance at the pro level. We will miss seeing you on the field in PSP. London Vicious? UWL Vicious? 10 Man Vicious? We shall see.
In the meantime we are beginning to look for the best time to go for our 2015 Vicious Cruise. Maybe a quick trip to Vegas in December to celebrate and give the team their CXBL rings. Our adventures will continue.
Carl & Karen Bortol
Proud Owners of Team Vicious