This past Saturday after much planning and preparation, I finally played my first airsoft game. For most of the summer, I wanted to go out and see what it is like and now getting closer to fall; I feel I have only touched a shallow waters of a deep ocean.
In my city, this would be considered the edge of where sport and legality meet. Reading and seeing it with open eyes has made me appreciate it in a deep sense I can’t describe on my blog for it would reveal a bit too much about my past.
Tonight I traveled a long way to a quiet industrial complex to play a game of hobby and sport. A game where getting shot at is normal and pain demands to be felt. I purchase my tool in April in hopes of playing it in mid-summer. Everything was set; eye protection, batteries, bag, gun. Almost at a moments notice, I could trek the hour to the nearest field for a day long excursion. Which today I did at Siege Airsoft.
Many would say it’s lunacy to shoot each other with guns loaded with pellets. Is it as crazy as watching two men bare fisticuff in cage without protection? Fringe sport as it is has show me what it really meant to play airsoft. As much the mainstream demonizes airsoft, I saw a lot of good tonight. After a pilgrimage to a store in hopes of calibrating my rifle, I met a few seasoned folks about their take on the game. As my rifle spent the hours in the hands of a technician, I can see the meticulous care and dedication; I saw a store brim with replicas and the few willing to uphold this game as a venture and a hobby. By the end with 4 hours before closing, I met a stranger who took me under his wing and a person I long awaited ever since I joined the community online. As I entered the chaotic nature of the Staging Area at Siege; it is apparent with BB’s dribbling across the floor and chatter in the humid summer air, they are not freaks looking for a a thrill. As normal as you or me, they want to do what a lot of people want to do – play a game. Perhaps with tolerance it could be much in sync with soccer and hockey, less organized and more fluid. As I sat there and watched people load up and get dressed, I can see the eagerness and discipline in everyone around the room. Loading for me is simple and simply dressed, I sat and joined the sea of people waiting for the game instructions by staff. First game for me: VIP. As lots were drawn for 4 VIP’s a stepped up, how hard is it to be the VIP? As the staff instructed, there was a calm silence in the room as we are briefed about the game rules. As we stepped off into the field, it felt very surreal. partially built structures laid erratically within a warehouse sized room. With three small structures with stairs to a second floor laid front, middle and back of the enclosure. Well lit, I looked over to the predetermined teams. As the VIP, we had to hold tight for the team to take us to an extraction point laid across the map. As the game counted down from the referee tower in the middle. I crouch on the second floor in the second building. Game in three. Two. One. Then footsteps pounding as rounds ricochet off the wood and metal. I managed to fire my gun off. Pop pop. Pop pop pop. Then a sting on my arm, definitely feels like a hit. I crouch down in instinct and cried for a medic. Only 10 seconds in and already down. As I was healed, I over hear our escape plan. Peel back to the friendly side and push hard up the left. As we left under the rules of the VIP being escorted out, we held this guy’s back and ran straight to our side with very little rest we run under a set of arches and out of one of the buildings. As we reached the front, the pops sound violently close. As we neared the middle, we held our ground and began shooting back with vigor. We managed our way into a metal shed and held on. With nothing more than our escort. one of the VIP’s and I sat, shooting our of every opening we had. As the winds down to the last minute, it was time to make a hard move. We push behind out teammate and not stop until one of us reaches the top floor of the last building on the enemy side. As I watched dim blurs fly past the window and BB’s pelting the side, it was down to three of us to make it count. The spring to the stairs was easy but as time dropped to mere seconds, I made a quick dive over the last 6 steps. Belly first into a bed of plastic BB’s and a low groan in pain. It’s over, we won. After the round we left for the staging area and for me, to lick my wounds. In clear light, I saw I was shot about twice in the arm. By now, pain has left me leaving nothing more than exhilaration. I went back in for a few more games playing as a mercenary, then to help my team find and recover an object which is the supposed “bomb”.
After coming home with very little bodily harm, I feel elated and appreciative. In real life, gun fire bullets designed to maim and hurt people. What I experienced was very little to what people experience in their life. The realization of how safe we are to the world doesn’t fathom the pain of witnessing in it. I want to play more after this experience for sheer enjoyment. Not many games out there can induce such an adrenaline rush. But the next time I go, I’ll be sure to carry a long sleeve shirt and a gun that works properly to maximize my time there.