A simple game of cops and robbers wasn’t enough for Jason Bornstein. Now, the thrill of hunting someone else down to keep himself in the game is nothing new for the senior communications major.
“I always felt I was winning but we never really knew because it was always ‘I got you, I got you first,’” Bornstein said.
It wasn’t until elementary school that Bornstein, 24, first heard about paintball. But after his parents finally let him play on an actual paintball field, he knew it wouldn’t be his last.
“I was the youngest kid there and I just had an absolute blast,” Bornstein said of his first paintball experience on a family trip to Oregon. “Some buddies from my elementary were getting into (paintball) but I was going to be the best at it.”
The Santa Rosa native knew he was going to excel in the sport but that feeling of superiority over the rest was never more relevant than after his first-place finish at the National Professional Paintball League tournament with his team XSV at Huntington Beach on March 31.
“Originally my goal was to just be the best,” Bornstein said. “I wanted to compete with the best and beat the best.”
Bornstein, who plays alongside younger brother Corey, and his squad took the first place trophy and are now ranked No. 1 in the world in the NPPL standings for 2012.
The weekend tournament brought over 100 paintball teams from all over the world, ranging from local Southern California teams to teams coming from as far as Norway.
The victory was the first of its magnitude for Bornstein after competing on multiple teams that have traveled hundreds of miles in search of the top spot in the paintball world. His travels have led him all over America as well as to distant countries such as Germany, France, England and Malaysia.
Sponsors for his teams have always paid for most of the expenses required to compete professionally, but paintball didn’t always pay for itself. After his first run-in with paintball, Bornstein took a job as a paperboy and began paying for any paintball expenses with the funds he earned.
“In terms of a career, I wanted to get to that top level,” Bornstein said. “I also knew that I wanted to pursue something else, and that’s why I still go to school. I’m going to have other endeavors in my life; not just paintball.”
Bornstein and his brother have played on the same team since 2005, but chose to go to different campuses for college.
His brother chose to attend California State University, Long Beach while Bornstein brought his studies to the San Fernando Valley.
“My major leaves all the doors open since it’s pretty broad,” Bornstein said. “Some day I hope to start my own company. I want to work for myself, not somebody else.”
Bornstein already has a head start on his dream of owning his own company. He’s started Poor but Pro which, in his dream scenario, will help professionals of all kinds who don’t “get the financial recognition.”
“They don’t have the money in their pocket but that shouldn’t matter,” Bornstein said. “I think we’re seeing a shift from this material greatness to someone just being professional and great at what they do.”
Poor but Pro would help aspiring athletes and artists with any financial help that would benefit these people and their adventure to achieving their goals.
“If I could write the story, (Poor but Pro) would be bigger than Nike and Adidas,” Bornstein said with a smirk.