Greetings Fellow Airsoft Enthusiasts!
We are at an important crossroads in the transition of airsoft from a backyard hobby into a legitimate competitive sport.
I like to compare where we are now to the development of American football. Football games remained largely unorganized until the 19th century, when intramural games began to be played on college campuses. Each school played its own variety of football. Rules were simple and violence and injury were common. The violence of these mob-style games led to widespread protests and a decision to abandon them. President Theodore Roosevelt threatened to shut the game down if drastic changes were not made. On December 28, 1905, 62 schools met in New York City to discuss rule changes to make the game safer. As a result of this meeting, the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States, later named the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), was formed. Airsoft as a sport is in its developmental stages with many of the same challenges that football experienced.
Airsoft is a team sport that uses simulated guns to conduct tactical military simulations. The word tactical is important here because camouflage and stealth are integral aspects of these simulations. Airsoft teams train rigorously to develop proficiency to compete in local, regional and national competitions. Participants develop leadership skills, learn communication skills and learn to work as a team. This is a physically demanding sport and these athletes are doing physical training, eating properly and hydrating to increase their competitiveness. Airsoft simulated guns provide law enforcement and the military with an affordable means of training. Airsoft is a valuable sport in exposing participants to the military with many of our players joining the Armed Forces.
A process like this does not happen overnight and sometimes current events can overcome even the best laid plans to organize our activities. Now is the time to bring our community together – players, manufacturers, retailers, field owners, clubs, teams and event producers – to establish safety rules and practices, minimum insurance requirements, competitive guidelines and youth education programs. Either we choose to govern ourselves or be victims of undue government regulation.
Take the leap of faith in believing in something bigger than yourself, your team or your regional interests. Please join me in supporting this awesome sport.
John A. Bucciarelli
United States Army Retired