So, after an unfortunate event recently where I happened to find myself at the wrong end of a pretty unjust decision by a marshal at a local site (A pretty short story I won’t bore you with) I learned two very important lessons.
The first is very simple, Don’t give bad sites your hard earned money. You work hard and make sacrifices to play Airsoft, often we have others around us who also make adjustments to their lives to allow us to spend time playing. You’re doing them and indeed yourself a disservice by continuing to play at a poorly run site where you start the day not knowing if it’s going to be a good game or a poor game. Find somewhere that values your custom and reward them with your enthusiasm. The sites that fail to provide a good experience will struggle, their turnover will be high and their reputations will spread far and wide… it’s a small community and the competition is fierce.
The second lesson is far deeper, it’s about brotherhood. For want if a better word there is a connection we often feel with likeminded airsofters, sometimes it’s a very gung ho and often misplaced sense of elitism but often it’s simply a recognition of someone’s character and a heartfelt acknowledgement of their good nature.
Anyone who knows me well will know I shy away from the whole military jargon scene that seems deeply imbedded within our pastime (Although there are a few notable exceptions). Using phrases such as “Operator As Fuck” when your posing in your Cryes or “Weapon System” when referring to an Airsoft Replica make me cringe unless the phrasing is overtly self depreciating, I’m sure if you look long and hard enough at my personal IG feed you’ll find some pretty cringeworthy shit but I assure you it’s mostly pretty self deprecating and not meant to convey that I’m anything but a chubby airsofter with a love of weapons and gear.
If I told a good mate of mine whose a serving Royal Marine that I was absolutely “threaders” during an airsoft game he’d laugh his arse off and probably tell me to wind my civvy neck in.
It’s a term used by Marines, to other marines… It’s not so much a “you can’t use our phrases” deal, it’s more a case of you should know it’s not a word you can legitimately use unless you understand that simply being tired after a morning farting around a plate carrier and M4 with your out of shape self doesn’t quite cut it. The same follows for a few phrases and knowing their true context is key.
I’ll be fair though, we often emulate police and military units. Some of the phrases and words make perfect sense and don’t come across with that misguided sense of entitlement… One of these that’s often used is Brother. “Brother” is often a term of endearment and a phrase used to extend a sense of belonging to someone else… by saying it your saying “Hey, I like you, your my kind of weird” and although people do take the piss, it’s a goodnatured phrase with often no malice or sense of misguided self worth. Just because I feel uncomfortable saying it back in my thick west-country accent don’t for one minute think I don’t appreciate the gesture.
The other form of brotherhood comes with time, spending a fair amount of time with people will often imprint a bit of your psyche into them and vice-versa. I have been fortunate to have played with a great number of genuinely nice people, a few idiots but mostly alright guys who happen to share a rather unique fondness for Airsoft.
Amongst these people there is a core of people who I’d say are within a fraternity, some of them share the same patch, others simply have spent enough time around each other to be uncomfortably comfortable with their odd ways. These people are the ones you spend time with outside of Airsoft, you go to their house, they come to your wedding, you go to the pub or for a meal and simply chat shit. You lend them gas and ammo and they chuck a Mars bar and a shared mug of Coffee your way after a 4 hour night op.
These people make a good game a great game, you’ll remember those moments longer than that awesome “John Wick reload you did last week” and I guarantee you that when the shit hits the fan and you need a spare replica or your car blows up, these are the guys who will sort you out.
In a nutshell, surround yourself with likeminded people who bring out your best qualities. Ensure you value those who truly sacrifice to allow you to enjoy your game (And yes, that does mean skipping the occasional game to spend time with the family) and in the words of Bill S. Preston Esq. and Theodore Logan…
Photo Credits – Kris Roberts/ATRG/Black Ops Cribbs