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Zit-Faced Dance of Diversity

Posted 02-28-2010 at 05:41 PM by gertrude
(TL;DR at the bottom.)

ď[The realm of diversity is] a realm where each of one is different from the other. Strikingly different, in fact, unfathomably different. I think a river cannot be fathomed. Once we try to measure it, it has already moved on. But I also think, or, Iíd say I wish to think, that all of us are here because we have this very human longing to be whole. This longing of the heart to merge, merge with our surroundings, merge with each other, but in the end, to even merge with ourselves. And this longing of the human heart, I think, is an indication of the realm of oneness, a realm which is as valid for our lives as the realm of difference. Ö If we look deeply into our individual motivation for being here, we will start to see it as an expression of our wish to merge, and when we begin to see this, the two realms which we inhabit, which as you know, can sometimes be in conflict, will naturally be in a state of harmony.Ē
ĖThe Gift of a Broken Heart, Bernd Bender

Airsoft Ohio is a pretty neat place. It is both diverse and homogenous, inclusive and exclusive. Iíve seen the best of people here and also the worst from people for reasons both great and small, and I really appreciate the gift of friendship some of you have extended to me despite our differences. I think AOís great gift is that of harmony through conflict: a stumbling social dance that is both awkward and pure, fierce and heartening.

Iím going to try to explain what I mean by all of this through a viewpoint as an outsider. The reason for this is twofold: firstly, Iím female. We are still outsiders in the game no matter how long we have been participating. There is a certain bravado and comradeship between men in combat or sports-related activities, and whenever women participate, some of that ease and esprit de corps is lost. The second is that while I was a part of the group and participated for a couple years, I no longer actively participate and in fact live most of the way across the country. I believe that these two factors make me a great candidate to make some of the following observations.

Airsofters pack up and play up their differences between packs. There is a tendency to label each other by team name or by skill (noob or vet) and then be more or less accepting of each other depending on the label given. Members of opposing teams frequently berate each other on the forums, and it becomes something almost like the Jets and the Sharks when they meet. (Here you can see, for instance, Son of Liberty and SPEAR, doing their native dance in downtown Cincinnati.)

However, airsofters all stick up for each other when it comes to the outside world interfering or commenting on the sport, and when it comes to defending one of their own. The Punisher tragedy in specific, and generally speaking, national coverage of airsoft are two good examples of airsofters sticking up for each other and their pastime. Additionally, while a lot of derogatory language is used in regards to homosexuality, gays and bisexuals are usually included and embraced as friends. (Hehe. I said Ďembraced.í) So despite the fact that thereís a lot of catty, drama-filled QQ on and off the field between teams and groups of friends, everyone agrees that protecting the sport and also protecting AO itself from outsiders is more important.

I think we can honestly say that AO is overwhelmingly male-driven. I can think of perhapsÖ seven or maybe ten women tops Iíve seen or heard that play the game. In this way itís almost completely homogenous. Yet as stated above, there are gays and bisexual(s?). There are people from all faiths. There are many different interests and ages and political affiliations. Much like our volunteer army here in the US, there are a lot of different types of people that join up. (The only difference being that most airsofters arenít fit for the actual armed forces for one reason or another, or they are former armed forces but no longer serve.)

So despite all of these differences that people here have between them, AO is really a place that makes things happen. Its leadership is sensitive to the overall mission, its members are enthusiastic about the future of the game, and the only people who have anything bad to say about it got burned probably because they were jackasses and/or incredibly socially/technologically inept. So rather than just being a place of difference, it's a place of diversity and growth.

TL;DR version/conclusion:
Itís really tough for me sometimes to come here with all the negativity, arrogance, mud-slinging, hypocrisy, and ignorance. But thereís a brotherhood and friendship here that you canít get in other places. There is a sense of belonging and of having fought to make your place here that is singular and beautiful. There are many, many imperfections in the way we handle each other, yet on this forum we are less a group of differences, and somehow manage to form a group of diversity in a kind of socially awkward, zit-faced, poor-***, brutishly funny dance that's somehow, someway in harmony.
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  1. Old
    sticks's Avatar
    TL;DR.... but from the TL;DR version it just sounds like you take AO way to personally. I will NEVER be your sister!(although that one time I met you IRL you were pretty cool).

    Love ya gerty,

    Posted 02-28-2010 at 07:49 PM by sticks sticks is offline
  2. Old
    gertrude's Avatar
    Eh, the tl;dr version sounds like qq that I'm not involved more, but from the long version I state that I understand I'm an outsider. Outside some of the 08th, I'm not strongly connected to anyone here, but it's interesting to me and makes me feel good that there are people who feel like brothers.

    Really, I'm just impressed that the website/community works. That should be the tl;dr version.
    Posted 02-28-2010 at 07:57 PM by gertrude gertrude is offline
  3. Old
    Son of Liberty's Avatar
    I was specifically named in a blog. I feel satisfied.
    Posted 02-28-2010 at 09:05 PM by Son of Liberty Son of Liberty is offline
  4. Old
    Texx's Avatar
    I disagree with the loss of Spirit de corps. We played a zombie game and my chick friend was very a convincing corps. Sometimes, I had to pinch her to make sure I wasn't dreaming. That's the excuse'm sticking by.
    Posted 02-28-2010 at 10:14 PM by Texx Texx is offline
  5. Old
    Agent Spencer's Avatar
    Cool Blog Sis........
    Posted 03-01-2010 at 07:15 AM by Agent Spencer Agent Spencer is offline
  6. Old
    Teddy Bear's Avatar
    ^^^ haha, SOL reminds me of the one in the green/yellow jacket. Very nice blog, thank you gertrude, once again.

    On another note:
    "Additionally, while a lot of derogatory language is used in regards to homosexuality, gays and bisexuals are usually included and embraced as friends. (Hehe. I said ‘embraced.’) " makes me remember that all my freinds in the game have to give me a hug at least once a game lol. .... I will find you ....
    airsoft just wouldn't be as fun without the Hazing and mocking lol, thanks again gertrude.
    "Snuggle Me ... Fear Me"
    Teddy Bear
    Posted 03-01-2010 at 09:20 AM by Teddy Bear Teddy Bear is offline
    Updated 03-01-2010 at 10:18 AM by Teddy Bear
  7. Old
    gertrude's Avatar
    I disagree with the loss of Spirit de corps. We played a zombie game and my chick friend was very a convincing corps. Sometimes, I had to make out with her to make sure I wasn't dreaming. That's the excuse'm sticking by.
    Totally Fixed ^^
    Posted 03-01-2010 at 11:46 AM by gertrude gertrude is offline
  8. Old
    Torque's Avatar

    Being one the few females in a male-dominated sport and forum, you get look right into the very bowels of how men really think, feel, and act around one another. It's total pack mentality. It's raw. It's insane. It's silly. On many levels, it makes no sense at all. Probably devoid of any real merit.

    So, u still like what you see? Why? You should run away.... very very far away.
    Posted 03-04-2010 at 12:10 PM by Torque Torque is offline
    Updated 03-04-2010 at 12:14 PM by Torque
  9. Old
    Sciurus's Avatar
    Interesting blogs, and posts gertrude...I'm vexed by their complexity... But I truely admire your acumen, and lexical ability.. If you do not write for a living perhaps you should consider it..My compliments, honestly impressive.
    Posted 04-06-2010 at 10:40 PM by Sciurus Sciurus is offline

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