The Admin Vortex

We all know one, at some point we’ve probably been one ourselves…

“Admin Vortex”

A term coined and used in the British military to describe the less organised individuals within a unit, often recognisable by their poorly maintained uniform, bits of webbing/open pouches flapping about and their endless scrounging of kit after being unable to locate their own.

Airsoft might not have much in common with the military, but one thing that carries over is the Admin Vortices that inhabit it. It’s like a plague, and once branded you ha e to work bloody hard to not be seen as “that guy who always forgets something”.

Common issues you see in airsoft, particularly at weekend games are the guys you see who suffer (and cause those around them to suffer) from the following issues.

  • Missing essential kit such as water… seriously, get a fucking grip.
  • Not following game uniform requirements
  • Not researching the game they’re attending
  • Inability to program their own Radios
  • Gear not properly looked after, not fit for purpose
  • Not understanding or knowing game rules

There’s many, many more things I could add… But for the sake of time I’ll let you think of those times you’ve seen it for yourself.

Richie and Tim from The Heresy Group summed it up in a recent after action report from a weekend game they’d attended, seeing people dragging kit in Tesco bags and tin mugs stuck on the outside of their inadequate packs… Thinking that they look like DEVGRU but actually looking like some homeless dude whose just raided a Millets.

Now let’s not dismiss what I’m saying as simple snobbism, far from it. What I’m trying to put across is that if your embarking on a weekend game, prepare for it sufficiently… Don’t be a liability. Your pack should carry practically everything you need within it, not hanging off the outside like Charlie Muggins from Carry On Camping.

There’s always situations where this might not apply… If I’m heading to Caerwent then I’ll bring all kinds of shit, cot bed, table, cool box… not that tactical but I know I can drive up to my accom and dump it in there. If I’m heading to a rural weekend game, if I can’t fit it all in my pack… I need to either be merciless on what I carry or buy a bigger bag.

The moment you start relying on the goodwill of people there you become a liability and are actually not only contributing nothing but also possibly taking away from someone else’s experience, now I don’t mind helping people out… I carry a toolkit and first aid kit to every game as much for those around me as for myself. I’ve helped people on virtually every Weekender with things from loose rails and stocks to dehydration and hunger.

But how many of those occasions could have been sorted preemptively by that person making sure that they brought the right gear, kept hydrated or had done a shakedown before game on? Every fucking last one.

I covered the essentials needed for a weekend game in one of the first blog posts I wrote, there will be occasions where I revisit a topic and preparation is one of them. I’m not going through it here, this is merely a post to remind people that although you absolutely have the right to attend a game however you wish, there is a growing resentment among organisers and those who do put in the effort to make sure they’re prepared for the game towards those who turn up expecting an easy ride.

So, minimum expectations?

Uniform/Clothing… Make sure it conforms to the game rules, your local site running a Milsim-lite might not care about OPFOR running around in MTP but there’s several organisers who will give you two options… change or leave. Some organisers will just expect your shirt/jacket and trousers/pants to be in the team colours but in certain games there’s an expectation of going full OPFOR if you play that role.

Kit… Make sure you can look after yourself, that means pack dry kit that you only wear when sleeping. The bare essentials are keeping your berthing area warm and dry… if you can’t keep warm, then at least keep yourself dry.

Suitable footwear and a complete change of clothes for travelling to and from the game in… nothing will lift your spirits like fresh shorts and a shirt for that post game drive home, nothing will piss off your driver like wearing piss wet combats and getting mud all up his cars upholstery.

Bring some way of heating food unless it’s the warmest of summer nights, a pot noodle doesn’t count as food, nor does a packet of trail mix and some dodgy arsehole burning 9 million Scoville ostrich biltong…

Ration packs or wayfarer meals provide more than enough energy. If you want to be a flash bastard bring a pan and bacon (depending on the game/site rules). If you’re a real porker… BBQ (check site rules beforehand).

Water… fucking loads of water, big bottles and some small ones too. Bin off that energy shit unless it’s developed for endurance sports, Monster and Red Bull are the quickest routes to dehydration aside alcohol… It’ll fuck you up quicker than you’d think and you’ll end up dehydrated and feeling like shit. If you don’t like water? Tough… get used to it.

Comms… make sure you can always carry your comms with you, having a fancy set of comtacs stuck to a helmet left on your cot is less than useful, if your leaving your comms behind then your impacting your individual effectiveness and also potentially a safety issue on large sites where being alerted to walkers etc on site might prevent a serious incident.

There’s no excuse for not having comms, a baofeng is about £25… fuck buying 30 smoke grenades, spend the money where it matters. Also, knowing how to use your comms… Learn radio procedure and how to program your kit on the go. Comms channels are often allocated on the day of the event or can be changed due to clashes with local cabbies or businesses.

Load carriage… “good enough for airsoft” is famously said at almost every game, at a Weekender you’ll find that shit goes sideways… running through vegetation or through doorways ends up with gear snagging and if it’s not strong enough, it’ll break. Expensive gear isn’t immune but cheap gear is prone to it. Most importantly, tailor your load carriage around the gear you need… not the other way around.

Team work… you don’t need to turn up knowing anyone, any organiser worth their reputation will either spread out the new guys to more organised sections (depending on experience and their relationship with them) or more often they’ll assign the randoms together with a trusted member acting as section commander.

You don’t have to agree with what they say, but you should provide constructive advice and follow their orders anyway. Bringing a few mates and forming your own independent callsign is obviously the best way forward but remember, recognition is a double edged sword… the actions of your buddy reflect on you, your actions reflect on him. If I see one arsehole breaking rules or dumping litter whilst wearing a specific team patch, the rest are unfortunately tarnished with the same rep.

Attitude… Don’t ever think you’re better than someone purely based on the quality of your gear. What I’m saying in this post is that you need adequate gear, not expensive gear.

Yeah sure… a jetboil and an ENO Nest hammock are fucking fantastic to have but a cheap gas cooker and pan set from go-outdoors with a surplus sleeping bag and bivvy bag will keep you “moderately” comfortable. Bring an attitude that says “I want to have a good time and contribute to the game” like attending a party… ALWAYS bring a bunch of flowers and a bottle of wine, don’t turn up expecting a free drink.

This isn’t difficult, I doubt if any of my readership falls amongst this annoying element but I do know that we have the ability to change the mindset of those who are afflicted with a lack of admin savvy… all it takes is the following two things to happen.

    Game organisers following through with their own rules, this means if you say you’ll remove people from site for rule violations then do it. I understand that some rules are hard to enforce but if you have a no bullshit reputation then you’ll find enforcing them is easy.
    • Players, arm yourself and your buddies with all the information about a game before you pay your deposit. Know whose going, learn about the site and organisers, ask questions and make sure you have the correct gear needed.
  • One of the main reason for events being regarded as on a decline of quality is that these two steps are just not happening… Sites seem eager to take players money and not upset the apple cart when one of their customers wants to wear a Multicam set of waterproofs to a game where they’re not allowed to wear Multicam. But pleasing this one person has a knock on effect and pisses off a dozen other people. Like that moment King Abdullah II Of Jordan didn’t get the memo about wearing black cryes…

    Players don’t take accountability for their own actions and generally have the mindset of “I’m a paying customer, I’ll do what a want” which is counter productive and tends to mark you out as a knob. We need to start giving each other a little kick up the backside and make these events something memorable. Telling your mate he can’t wear a leopard print UBACs to a Milsim might seem unfair but for some games it would ruin the enjoyment of others.

    The darker side of this is “Milsim Bingo”, it’s a simple game where you hand out copies of a bingo sheet which instead of numbers there is a list of things commonly seen at a weekend game. Examples include… “triple stacked molle”, “punisher skulls on guns”, “SEAL Team patches/merch” 😬 and the old favourites, “dual wield pistols” and “Knee holster”.

    If you’re caught as a bingo player and found guilty of a “line” then you’re excluded from the game. The first person to get full house has bragging rights until the post game beer/carvery.

    Ultimately, I don’t care if you spend a weekend having a shit time because your guns broke, you couldn’t sign into comms and you’re piss wet through after the first hour with no shelter or dry clothes… but if you start affecting my game then you’ll be an anecdote shared between friends for the rest of our airsoft days.

    Final note… No one is immune from forgetting a vital bit of kit, I recently forgot my sleeping bag. Not an issue in a dry building at Caerwent in August but at the Trees in November it would have meant a trip back to Hereford for another sleeping bag. Once is acceptable, more than once means you either didn’t listen (and therefore should not be helped by your mates), don’t think it’s important (and therefore should not be helped by your mates) or are incapable of learning (and therefore thicker than a bowl of porridge).

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