5 years since PUSH

5 years since PUSH

A film that influenced an industry
article by Young Choi

When I think of one of the most influential things to happen to tournament paintball, I don’t think of the Angel, Shocker, compressed air, or even the air ball bunkers. I think of a documentary film that influenced many to get out on the tournament scene and that film is Push. Push debuted at the 2000 World Cup and at the end was well received with a standing ovation.

Back then the small company to come out of nowhere was called Division One (now known as Monkey with a Gun). This revolutionary documentary by notables Patrick Spohrer and Bryon Benini followed some of the most powerful teams (SC Ironmen, Avalanche, Image, All Americans, and Aftershock) at that time as they prepared for the 99’ World Cup.

When I first got a copy of this film I was just blown away. The whole paintball industry and the players were blown away also. No other groups of people were able to capture the highs and lows of tournament paintball like Benini and Spohrer did during this time period. Sure Traumahead Sportz and Pig TV brought the action home. Push illustrated the emotions and the rock and roll lifestyle that tournament paintball players lived. Traveling all over the continent to practice and compete. Watching Push definitely made going “pro” a goal for many.

Push made team Avalanche cool and Rocky Cagnoni even cooler. Division One captured the breath taking move that further pulsed Rocky Cagnoni’s greatness. If you haven’t seen this move shame on you, in a match up versus the SC Ironmen Cagnoni realizes that Ironmen Davey Williamson just broke the 50 in the snake bunker. Realizing that Williamson is in a position to shoot his Avalanche teammates in the side of the head, Cagnoni runs cross field and jumps over the snake to bunker out Williamson. Cagnoni then continues to close out the game by bunkering out Ironmen Shane Pestana in the Dorito bunker and applies pressure to the Ironmen’s back line so Cagnoni’s fellow Avalanche teammates can finish off the Ironmen. Rocky Cagnoni grabs the flag and brings it home. But that one bold move made Rocky Cagnoni immortal as far as paintball legends go.

The massive determination and emotions shown in this film makes anyone that watches it to want to pick up their gear and go off to a field to continue those feelings on their own. Push made a huge impact locally here in the Northwest, players just came out of the wood works blazing the Push soundtrack on their car stereos. AFI could be heard from the parking lots and all of a sudden players with Spyders and Tippmanns donning camo from the weekend before were progressing towards the speedball fields with Autocockers and Angels in hand while wearing the newest JT gear at the time.

The local demands for tournaments increased leading to local fields upgrading to meet the demands. Whereas it was uncommon for a field to invest large sums of money into an airball field before Push, after, it became uncommon for a field to not have one.

Amongst the players, all the talk was about the new Push film. “Did you see it?” “I’m gonna play hard to go pro someday.” Many times I have heard players admit, “Push is what got me to play tournament paintball.” That alone is massive accolades for the people that put their heart and souls into this film.

I also noticed that the number of teams attending the national events increased after Push was released back in 2000. Even with the split of the US leagues, both sustained and even grew further. I’m sure that the paintball media (like this site) and the internet helped out, but something tells me that Push was the seed for the growth in tournament play.

To see a clip of Push click here

Division One later came out with Sunday Drivers. Some time after that film, Patrick Spohrer started Monkey with a Gun and released the well recieved "Cereal Killerz". Monkey with a Gun is now working on "Heroes for the Day."

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