Paintball.com's All-Stars - Dave Thomas

Paintball.com's All-Stars - Dave Thomas

Crete, Illinois
by Scott Talcott

Dave 'Opie' Thomas
Although Trauma player Dave “Opie” Thomas needs no introduction, we want to attempt to do his extensive paintball experience justice.

Let’s get the nickname out of the way first. “We all started playing together back in the day,” recalled Opie. “I was just a little kid with freckles, so they started calling me Opie. It worked, and now that is how I am known in the industry.”

Thomas lays paint
The nickname may work for the industry, but we just want to go on record as saying that Opie might not be a good fit for one of the most respected players in a no-holds barred extreme sport. Shaquille O’Neal’s nickname is “Diesel”, not “Kool-Aid.”

Thomas was born and raised in Northern California, where he started playing paintball in 1989. “A friend took me out to play and I instantly fell in love with the sport,” he said. “Two weeks later I was working at the field.” Now it’s not just a pastime, Opie also works full-time in ProCaps' promotional department.

Trauma
Together with some long-time friends and fellow players, Opie has recently helped to establish Trauma, as one of rising stars in paintball. The team has won the last four NPPL tournaments in a row: 2001 World Cup, 2002 LA Open, 2002 Las Vegas Opena and 2002 Chicago Open. Before making the move and starting Trauma, Opie was himself a key player for Pro team Image. Image broke-up in mid-2001, beginning the new era for Trauma.

Back- player
Although Trauma benefits from the field knowledge of it's experienced players, like Opie, he credits the team’s success to starting out with younger players. This is a great tip for newer players to the sport. It doesn’t necessarily matter how long you’ve been playing the game, what really matters is how you play the game.

Trauma wins again
Winning teams also plan and set goals, so it’s no surprise that Trauma has set some high goals for 2003. “We want to keep our sponsorships and go pro,” said Thomas. “We’re aiming to go pro at the first event next year.” Will Trauma make it? “I think so,” responded Thomas.

Before heading off to another winning performance, Opie offered these final words of paintball wisdom, “Always play teams that are better than you.” Makes sense, you don’t get better unless you face a challenge.

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