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Old 05-03-2011, 06:58 PM
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Children & Airsoft?

So my 11 year old son comes in last week all excited about airsoft. He's never played before, but kids at school are talking about getting some sort of team together, blah, blah, blah. Problem is, I'm getting sparce info from 11 year olds - no specific info, just a bunch of excited babble about it. I'm glad the kid is excited, but being as I'm a mom who only uses a rifle to shoot the predators off the farm when necessary, I'm completely in the dark on the whole thing. I've searched on here for info on kids playing it, kids teams... and haven't seen anything, although I figure there's info on here somewhere about it. Is this really something that can be a child's game or is it more for 18 and up? They're telling me it's for all ages and whatever club they're wanting to join (which they can't tell me the name of) is for all ages. If there are some young member teams where can I get/find info on them? If this is something that's possible for the kid to do, I'm of a mind to get him headed in the right direction with the whole thing and not rely on a bunch of pre-teen babble that's not making any sense. Right now the kid is on the phone talking with his buddy about some old not in use prison in Vinton County and some place in Eastlake, OH where it's played. No idea if that's true or not. Anyway, any insight into this would really be appreciated so I can get headed towards actual info. By the way, we're in Ross County.

Smiling & Waving,
Sharon
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Old 05-03-2011, 07:08 PM
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Sharon, thats why Im here. My 11 year old got me into this, and we love it. I have joined a team, and my son has friends he has created a team. Generally most events require 13-14 up, with a signed waiver from parent, with notary. You can PM me with exact concerns, and I will be happy to address.

Thanks for being a pro-active parent instead of just doing the waiver and dropping him off. We strive to provide a safe environment to play, but with anything like this, the parent should know exactly what they are exposing their children to.
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Old 05-03-2011, 07:22 PM
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Generally, age limits are imposed by the fields where games are played. Most official paintball or airsoft fields have a starting age limit of 13 for liability reasons. However there are many kids who are younger who play in their back yards or on private property.

Depending on the type of guns used, airsoft is generally a very safe sport. Even safer than paintball. It is played by a vast varity of people and ages. The main precaution is using propery eye protection. Goggles or facemasks (like a paintball mask) are allowed and must meet ANSI Z87 or ASTM 1977 standards.

There are indeed several old prisons where airsoft games are held. The Mansfield Reformatory (where the movie "The Shawshank Redemption" was filmed) in Mansfield, OH, and the old Roseville, OH prison too. I think there may be another one too, but he name isn't coming to me right now. Most of the prison games are 18 and older that I know of, thought it's possible that they allow younger players.

There used to be an incredibly good beginner's guide to airsoft here on AO, but I'm not finding it. Feel free to PM me with any questions regarding airsoft, or post here in this thread. I've been doing this for quite some time, and will be happy to help.
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Old 05-03-2011, 07:22 PM
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Hi HayStack. Thanks for your reply. I've sent you a PM. Yeah, definitely not a drop 'em off and run type of parent. We want to know we're steering the kid in the right direction and not just going out and firing away.

Smiling & Waving,
Sharon
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Old 05-03-2011, 07:29 PM
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Hours,

My son is 13. He's been a WWII nut for about 3 years and he started doing the airsoft thing 2 years ago. He started small, cheap guns, etc. By this past spring he had saved his money and plunked down almost $200 bucks for a WWII Era Airsoft gun. Now he's peaked my interest. I've been to a beginner event at BTT (Backyard Tactical Training) and I highly recommend you find something like this in your area.

Your son is a bit younger so please be involved in him and his buddies getting together to play airsoft. It is fairly safe but rules still must be followed (IE: Proper Eye and face protection.)

Take time to read the stickies(the first posts in the forums) and just take time to read forums. Do some searches for Beginner type events, etc.

It' a lot of fun, safe and I enjoy going and learning the tactics, etc.
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Old 05-03-2011, 08:16 PM
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I see way too many kids nowadays walking around my neighborhood brandishing airsoft guns, whether they be cheap walmart LPEG's or more expensive higher end rifles that most of us use. Its discouraging, because to me this is a clear indication that parents are merely purchasing these airsoft guns for their kids and not thinking the whole situation through from start to finish. This is totally unlike what you have done, so thank you.

You obviously know the responsibilities that a real firearm holds. Take those same concepts of gun safety and responsibility and transfer them to you son in the form of airsoft. Yes, we can shoot eachother with airsoft rifles, but that doesn't mean that they couldn't be dangerous in the wrong hands. You wouldn't carry a real rifle open in public unless its an extreme circumstance, and the same applies to airsoft since most guns are nearly indistinguishable from a distance. In addition, injuries can happen. Like someone losing a tooth or eye injury if improper eyewear is not worn. This is easily avoidable however with the right amount of attention and care, but your child will not know the difference. Thats why you must be there to set ground rules.

Take a proactive role in their interests if you feel they are excited enough about it. Make sure your son and his friend have proper safety gear, such as full seal goggles. For younger children its probably best that they wear a paintball mask, as all mainstream masks are ANSI rated and will also protect your child's face. There aren't to many games they could go to at age 10-12, however that doesn't mean you or the parents of you child's friends couldn't do small, private games amongst yourselves. If you own private property away from public view, spend a Saturday afternoon playing. STAY AWAY from public parks and places of that nature. But most importantly, be there with them. I'm not trying to say anything bad about anyone's child, but most younger kids do not know the difference between a safe environmental and an unsafe one when it comes to this kind of hobby. So, make sure it is safe. Play with them, observe what happens. You'll probably find that its fun to play yourself!

Lastly, cost. Yeah, its expensive. Even the cheap hunks 'o junk at Walmart and ****'s Sporting Goods have gone above the 100 dollar mark. Main rule of thumb, if it costs that or more and sold at either of these or related stores, its not worth it. They use components that can not be replaced with mainstream parts and are made from cheap and inferior materials. If you wind up spending like 50-70 bucks, its fine and a reasonable deal, but keep in mind it will eventually break, especially in the hands of an 11 year old. There are now many inexpensive medium range guns available from professional shops (which wasn't the case only a few years ago). I'll start your searching endeavour with what is known as the G&G Raider series. They are extremely well built, low priced (under the 170 mark) and have great potential. You can search Ohio stores online and getter a better idea if you are willing to spend that much or not. A list of Ohio retailers exists on the AO front page, you can use that as a resource.

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Old 05-04-2011, 02:43 AM
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I started playing airsoft here in Indiana 13 years ago (to the month) at age 10. Back then as you can imagine airsoft was not as popular as it is today. And there were very few games and even fewer teams. I started off slow and small, mostly because my options were very limited at the time. I played with springers for a few years in our "backyard" games. Although we did have some huge and cool "backyards", 300 acres and an old western town at our disposal. Our games did grow over time but nothing amazing at first. It was not until 2001 until I purchased my first AEG (TM AK47S). And around the same time my friends and I stumbled upon this site and decided to cram 8 of us in a mini van and travel to OH to have our first real taste of MilSim. If my memory serves me the STRIKERS were hosting a game at a new at the time field called Fran Bar Park. There were about 100 or so players in attendance. Anyone remember the sever thunder storms and downpour of rain we got the night before? I do because we spent the night out in it. [Insert cornfield joke here] As a 13 year old at the time I can honestly say even with playing the few years prior I was not properly prepared for what I went through that day. It was a huge shock, mentally and physically. We were by far the youngest group of players out there. Some of the players were as old as and older then my parents at the time. Not to say we did not hold our own and I like to think my self and the rest of the team gained a lot of respect that day from OH teams like the STRIKERS and 6mm. I know I learned a lot and made a lot of great memories that day.

My point for the nonsense ramblings of airsoft past is this. Your son and his friends may have to start off a little slow, perhaps slower then they want. Until they are not only mature/old enough to attend larger MilSim games by themselves but also understand rules, and just how tough this game can be (physically and mentally). He and his friends may also have to start their own team due to their young age. Which is not a bad thing at all and in the long run may be whats best. My team started in 1998 when we were a bunch of 10 year olds and here we are 13 years later 16 members strong still kicking *** (of course not all original members). Here in Indiana there are a lot of young players and teams popping up all over, kinda sad that I have been playing airsoft longer then some have been alive. So it can (and has) been done. I wish your son and his friends the best of luck.

~Joker out....
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Old 05-04-2011, 03:08 AM
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I think a lot of great points are made here so I will not beat too many dead horses.

I may have missed what I have to say and if I did, I apologize.

But with kids being around the age of 11 or so. I highly recommend that an adult is either present on site or is playing with them to ensure safe play is in order. Sort of like how we have refs at our big games to make sure everyone is being safe and having fun. Keeping their goggles on during play, making sure the mags are out in safe zones, and ensuring no one is shooting people too close or excessively on purpose.

I am going to beat one dead horse by stating once more that these children must understand a LOT of responsibility comes out of owning these replicas. They look a LOT like the real thing and many parents wrongfully assume that because they have an orange tip there will be no issues. I have personally dealt with two issues involving airsoft guns and I would have preferred if it was 0.

One involved a group of teenagers (who should have known better to begin with) were pointing an airsoft gun out a window of an SUV at people around a shopping mall. By the time we got there an off duty police officer from another town had pulled his pickup truck infront of the SUV and forced it to stop, and had them at gunpoint. The driver of the SUV who was the primary suspect was charged with Inducing Panic and Disorderly Conduct and took a ride in a police car. The SUV (which belonged to his parents) was towed. Just imagine all the money that added up in the end in costs...it will hurt your kid as well as your wallet. The other two were also charged with Inducing Panic but given a summons and released. So, if one of his friends even does something and he happens to be involved in some way...he too can still get in trouble.

I recently pulled an airsoft gun out of a backpack a kid was taking to and from school, of all places...this kid was 12.

The fact is it WILL be treated like a REAL gun if it is mishandled. These are technically 'toys' but they are also NOT toys. We play with them but we should always treat them like the real deal.

If good safety practices are followed, proper handling is enforced, and good sportsmanship followed - this game is great and will be a great way to get the kids outside and running around. Once they get a little older and begin hitting some of our major events they will get a lot more out of it as well. Such as teamwork, leadership, communication, and many other good things they will be able to take with them and use.
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Old 05-04-2011, 05:51 AM
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I agree with everyone above and won`t repeat what they say. What I have to add is that if your looking for a team of younger people,you just found one. I am 14 (going on 15) and I have started a team in Southern Ohio. Team Probie,we are a group of mainly middle-school/high-school players. We are based in Scioto County and would love a new member. Although your son may still be a little young, when he is older maybe he could run with us sometime. PM me with any questions/concerns and visit our site for a little more info-http://www.teamprobie.webs.com/
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Old 05-04-2011, 06:55 AM
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Thanks for all the info, everyone. I have on the calendar for Hubbo and the kid to go to the S.T.A.C.C. B.A.S.I.C on 5/29. Won't be able to miss my crew of two when they're there as the kid'll more than likely be the shortest one, even if his hair is sticking up. He's still rattling on about backyard games, which is fine I told him, as long as he learns the rules and he and his friends are going to respect them. I'm not going to stand for any poultry casualties or livestock PTSD going on. So, any suggestions as to what they might need as beginners would be helpful. I figure it can be an expensive sport, but quite frankly can't go all out on it until I know it's something they're going to stick with. Right now the kid has a paintball mask and hubbo has diddly do, unless you want to count the old camo from his reserve days. The kid is babbling on about some airsoft guns at Wal-Mart and Dunham's that his friend said are good, but my experience with both places in lots of items are that they're not going to last, even if it is in the hands of an 11 year old. Hubbo works in the Dayton area and I head on up to Columbus every few weeks or so if that's helpful. The kid might just have to suck it up and go with whatever I come home with.

noob, thanks for the info on your local team. The kid has a few years before he'll be old enough for it, but if you do something that he might be able to get involved in, please keep us in mind.

Oh, and Joker, don't worry about being so much older than some of the others at this point. It won't get any better ;-)

Smiling & Waving,
Sharon
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:20 AM
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Yeah, we call those wal-mart guns. They basicly don't last. I would suggest since you need a cheap, yet there to last if he wants to continue, a G&G CM M4 for $140(but you can get 13% off with airsoftgi.com). I had the walmart guns before(6 years ago), and once I got into Airsoft more, I bought an ics. If you get the g&g, mags, bbs, a smart charger(so he doesn't overcharge the battery), and battery, you can have a loadout with a budget and can last for a long time. Just my 2 cents.

Hope this helps! and if you need links to some good products, help create a set up and help you out, don't hesitate to pm me.
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Old 05-04-2011, 09:01 AM
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Sharon,

There is a great Airsoft shop in Columbus called AirsoftSmith (www.airsoftsmith.com) and I would highly suggest you stop by and ask these guys about the gear, guns and accessories that are necessary or nice to have when playing Airsoft. They are a helpful group and will let you see the various guns they have in stock, which are many and range from springer pistols and shotguns to the high end models. They can also show you the types of gear that people use when playing at the organized events.

As far as what is needed, Goggles, and water are a must, decent boots a very good idea (almost a must) and all the rest is just frills. There are some games that require you wear military BDU uniforms, which can be picked up at an airsoft shop or army navy store pretty cheap, while a few open play games will let you in without BDU's. In general, it is a good idea to get an outfit so you can attend a larger variety of games. As for the rest of the gear and accessories, , it is not necessary when starting out (magazine restrictions not included and may have requirements).

My son and I have been playing for years now together...I wish you the best and hope your family enjoys it as much as we have over the years.
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Old 05-04-2011, 09:02 AM
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Everyone,

Lets please not turn this into which gun should they get. That is not the point of this thread.

Sharon,
Welcome. There has been some really great information in this thread, so I won't beat any dead horses except one.

I would strongly urge you to have your son and his friends wear paintball masks while playing. Teeth are expensive, and I'm sure you have money invested in his teeth (braces).
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Old 05-04-2011, 01:20 PM
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Hi Grease Man. I appreciate the opinions and that's what I take them as. Looked some up and they at least give us a starting point. He may end up getting himself what he wants for now and then he can always move up if and when he's ready. Besides, when all's said and done, he's paying for it - gotta love the birthday and grass cutting money. He's also 11 and I don't care what folks say about girls, boys change their minds at least as much. Seems like for the most part, due to age, he has a few years before he can join a team and who knows what'll happen between now and then.

From what it seems like, hubbo and the kid need paintball masks (got 2, not sure if one'll fit an adult face, but we'll see about that), an airsoft gun of some sort and whatever minimalistic things go with it until I know if this is going to continue, camo-wear, and boots. Hate to say it on the boots, but more than likely when it comes to the end of May function that might not be happening yet, but we'll get there.

Thanks for all the input, folks! It's nice to get some info from foks that have done this so I don't have to rely on relayed messages from one kid to another.

Smiling & Waving,
Sharon
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Old 05-04-2011, 03:20 PM
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I dont want to sound like a walking billboard, but BTT allows younger kids (under 13) if they have a signed waiver and someone 18 and up (you, dad, older brother/sister) comes with them (they dont have to play) just to be responsible for them.
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Old 05-04-2011, 05:53 PM
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I've been playing since I was about that age, of course, now I'm older and can drive to these events myself. It takes a lot of cooperation from an adult to get into this sport as a kid. My advice, if you're nervous about it, have his father or an older friend take him to an event, go with them, and watch. If you like what you see, let him play. If ya don't wait till he's older or whatever you decide, he's your child, not mine.
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Old 05-04-2011, 05:55 PM
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I dont want to sound like a walking billboard, but BTT allows younger kids (under 13) if they have a signed waiver and someone 18 and up (you, dad, older brother/sister) comes with them (they dont have to play) just to be responsible for them.
BTT's gotta be the best place ever to take the kids. Caleb's done a great job with the place. I'd go there and watch an Operation and see what you think. The kid's will have fun too!
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Old 05-04-2011, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by hour3suns View Post
.... I have on the calendar for Hubbo and the kid to go to the S.T.A.C.C. B.A.S.I.C on 5/29......
This is the best way to go. Even if they dont play. Sometimes its just better to go to an event and talk with the folks. I am sure they wouldnt mind answering any questions. Although alot of great advice has been given thus far I am sure you will find you can get all your questions answered very quickly when doing it to face to face with other players. It will also give your Hubby a chance to see how it all works so that he knows what your boy has been babbling about all this time.

We once had a guy show up at a Springfield event with his young son and said they was just there to see what it was all about and asked Blade (the event organizer) if he could hang around. Not a problem. Afterwords I talked with the guy and he said they had a blast just watching and learned alot in just a few hours observing.

Hope this helps.
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Old 05-04-2011, 06:27 PM
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Not to threadjack but what can be taken from this is that parents care what their kids are exposed to. So running around cussing(i catch myself all the time so forgive me) showing bad sportsmanship and bad habits are going to ruin the future of the sport. We can all learn from this. As soon as you hit the field you should be proffesional. Take the youngbucks under your wing and show them the ropes. Warcat slap's me around all the time when I start cussing. It's almost second nature for me but I know it's a horrible habit especially around the young players. It's a great sport for everyone including the younger generation and they'll be the ones "rushing the hills" for us when we're too old and decrepit to do so.

Sharon, it's a great sport and I'm sure no one would care if you threw on a red rag, a face mask and walked around to see what was going on if you're prepared to possibly take an accidental bb every now and then. When my little guy(he's just over 1 now so it will be a while) is old enough to know the deal I plan on getting him out and letting him play. Just be prepared, as much as I hate to say it but I do it myself, to explain that some of the language he might hear is not appropriate. We can act like it doesn't happen and I'm not trying to scare people away from the sport but it's the truth. Just have him nicely ask the people acting inappropriately to watch their language. I would immediately apologize and correct myself in that situation bc on the field, I have a tendency to slip a few bad words out myself. Just last game at Red Dragon I saw a younger kid running around with his mom playing. His mom just had a cheaper walmart gun but she looked like she was having a blast.

BUT, like I was saying, it's a very fun sport. I have played 3 games to this day and I am absolutely addicted. I'd be happy to take your little dude under my wing and show him the ropes as I'm sure MANY of us are. As a Marine, you're tought to not rag on the guys that aren't as knowledgable or just uninformed but to teach them how it's supposed to be done which all of us should be willing to do. If he wants, he can just hide behind me the whole game but I doubt that will happen once he get's his first hit. He'll be running around like a maniac just itching to take people out and come home and brag about all the "kills" he got that day. I'm sure your old man would enjoy it too. I thought I was in good shape until I started playing airsoft. Now I can't walk for 3 days after an event.
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Old 05-04-2011, 06:37 PM
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Excellent point Gunner. Sharon and I have been in contact, and I mentioned that topic. We will strive to keep this a very clean event, and if the vets honor what were trying to accomplish, we shouldnt have many vets there at all ( with the exception of the few I know who are bring out new players).

Adrenaline pumps, and all need to learn how to control it, even some of the vets. We will be using a warning system for BASIC events on language. One warning, two a time out, and three done for the day. We simulate a honorable career, and I certainly have not right to correct or comment on what goes on in the real world of war, but here I do.
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:29 PM
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My 13 year old (sorry, he's corrected me, just about 14 year old) said he's also interested so he may very well be joining in the end of the month also. He's a shy guy and this might do him some good. So, if you'll be there you still won't be able to miss the trio - it'll be the lost and frazzled looking hubbo with the short kid and the shy kid. Me, I'll be at home with the younger, although I'll be thinking about what's going on. I'd make a better medic than out there shooting the bajeezers out of everyone. Yeah, I'd be the one applying bandaids and telling everyone to play nice. And as for the cussing, we're not worried about it. I'll make an example out of anyone.

What's BTT ? The kid just found out his buddy that started him on this adventure is moving to the Dayton area in mid-summer so looks like Hubbo and the kids will be on their own to learn the ins and outs. It also seems like something they might all enjoy doing together sans mama.

HayStack, got your info and if I don't get ahold of you by month's end, I'll get Hubbo to get in touch.

Thanks again to everyone for all the info. It's really appreciated.

Smiling & Waving,
Sharon
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:39 PM
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Sharon, I have to agree with Chief. You would be suprised how much you learn just sitting around talking to people. Your sons can get first hand opinions on what to get and what not to, do's and dont's, ect. If they want to give it a try, im sure that there would be a person, myself included, who would lend out extra guns and gear to your sons and let them tag along for the event. We are all about promoting safty and knowlege on this site and any day we can help someone out is a good day.
Hope this helps,
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:44 PM
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hour3sons, please have him do so, sooner than later. I travel for work, so he can call me anytime. We will make sure they lot are all welcomed and comfortable. Your list of questions were a bit long and I prefer to talk than type. The main reason was I may have a gun to borrow , but I wanted to cover your list.
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:45 PM
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Trust me, if there's one thing I fear in this world, it's women. I'd walk away with my head hung in shame the minute you gave me the "eye." Even I come home and brag to my wife about shooting this and that. Of course I leave out the part about tripping over this or running into that so she probably thinks I'm an airsoft expert. Regardless, I'm sure they'll all have fun. It will definitely be a bonding experience and I look forward to doing the same with my little man. I can just see it now, "hey son, here's what I want you to do. Charge that town and when they all pop out and shoot you just hit the deck and I'll wipe them all out and heal you." No, just kidding, but seriously, they'll have a blast. We could use someone to walk around and distribute water, patch peoples booboo's and slap the people who aren't setting the right example so you're more than welcome, lol. Don't let them get discouraged, we're all noobs at some point.
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:52 PM
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I'd like to say that I love what I'm reading here. This thread is what AO is all about and I'm so proud to be a part of AO.

Sharon, I play with a group of guys much younger than I because it's what's nearby and organized. Being a college student in the middle of rural Findlay Ohio, beggars can't be choosers. The group I play with is organized with it's own leadership and rules. The guys range from ages 11 to 20 (me). These kids get really serious when playing and when I got involved with the group, I was surprised at how knowledgeable and tactful these young men were. They treat their weapons like the real deal right out of the box. I actually looked to these guys when I got started last year and now I'm teaching the new guys in the group what I can. It's one big brotherhood of guys (and gals) having a great time.

The older guys in my group do a great job keeping the language down to bare minimum, but they make it up in taunts. We have been working to cut it down and so far so good. Just another heads up that at events, taunting might be an issue from less experienced players who haven't grasped the concept of "good sportsmanship". Might want to remind the lil guy that it's cooler to shoot your gun and not your mouth

Hope you and your son enjoy the sport!
See ya out there!
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