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From Redwood roots to paintball royalty: The rise of Alex Fraige

“The biggest challenge that I faced was probably sacrificing the regular life path that most high school or college kids are told to go on. I want to do my own thing, my own way,” said Alex Fraige, a Redwood alum who is arguably the greatest paintball player the world has ever seen. 

Fraige grew up in Marin. Although he enjoyed typical high school sports such as football and basketball, they ultimately didn’t pique his interest. In need of something new, during Fraige’s sophomore year at Redwood, he would be introduced to the game that would change his life.

“[It was] Halloween [of] 1996. A friend and I went out to the paintball field at Mare Island. I opted to rent the pump gun, which was an ill-advised move to save $10, and didn’t shoot anybody all day,” Fraige said. “But I had a lot of fun out there. Got a bunch of welts and wanted to go back and do it again.”

From that moment on, Fraige began to spend more and more time at Mare Island, slowly developing a deeper love for the game. At the age of 16, Fraige decided to commit to the sport, spending extra time on the field.

“As I continued to play, I got better gear, met better players and saw the other guys that were out there every weekend. I saw the guys that were on teams and even started to understand that there was a competitive aspect to it,” Fraige said.

Looking at his opponents, Alex Fraige waits patiently for the right moment to eliminate the enemy. (Photo courtesy of Alex Fraige)

As Fraige began to play competitively, he found immense enjoyment. The tournaments and practices were fun, Fraige saw his skills improve and began to gain recognition in the paintball world. Yet there was still one issue — his mother.

“When my mom first saw me getting into paintball, she wasn’t in favor [of me pursuing it further]. She would ask ‘What is this paintball thing?’ and say things like, ‘You need to get serious about school and your life.’ [But] here I was knowing that this is what I love to do, so it was hard,” Fraige said.

Realizing he wouldn’t change his mother’s mind, the thought of quitting crept into his mind. However, after returning from Spyder Cup, an annual and high-level tournament located in San Diego that has since been brought to a halt, he was finally able to persuade his mom.

 “It’s funny because I remember so vividly the day I came home from the Spyder Cup and told my mom that I had just won a car. And to see the look on her face was awesome. Luckily, after that, I think my mother finally realized that this was what I was going to do,” Fraige said.

His mother was right — that is what Fraige was going to do. Little did she know that he would become one of the best in the world. 

It didn’t take long for Fraige to begin dominating the competitive scene. After regrouping with his team from the Spyder Cup, Fraige and his friends started the San Diego Dynasty. Although they didn’t see immediate success, the team would soon grow into a paintball powerhouse.

To grasp an understanding of how successful Fraige has been, he and his team, San Diego Dynasty, have won four consecutive National Xball League (NXL) World Cups. That is the equivalent of winning four soccer World Cups in a row. Team Dynasty also has over 60 pro major event first-place finishes, making them the most successful professional paintball team in the history of the sport. 

Despite their success and the high platform they have been raised to, Fraige still believes they have a bigger role in the paintball world.

“I feel like we have a responsibility to be better ambassadors for the sport of paintball than the previous generation of players. I think our goal is to improve the perception of tournament paintball because we have been put in a position of responsibility,” Fraige said.

With pen in hand, Alex Fraige smiles as fans approach him, eager to get his autograph. (Photo courtesy of Alex Fraige)

Further into his career, Fraige saw his role on the team take more of a backseat as he began to take on more of a leadership role. While this role may have meant less time on the field, it allowed Fraige to work on his businesses — Field One and Hormesis — which create paintball guns, apparel, supplements and more.

At 41 years old, Fraige continues to compete for Team Dynasty. Regarded as one of the greatest players ever to play the game of paintball, Fraige has inspired multiple generations. However, being the consistent ambassador of paintball that he has always been, Fraige had this to say:

“If you’re hesitant about [playing paintball], go out to a local paintball field, ask questions, be friendly and outgoing and there will be people who are more than happy to accept you with open arms and show you the ropes. If [paintball] is something you’re interested in [playing], I’d say go for it.”

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About the Contributor
Hayden Donehower
Hayden Donehower, Business Manager
Hayden Donehower is a junior at Redwood High School and a business manager for the Bark. He enjoys playing lacrosse, spending time with friends and surfing.