I had no idea what Airsoft was before I went. I lived in a world where the most dangerous games I could think of were laser tag and punch buggy. I wasn’t equipped to hold a fake MP5 submachine gun with plastic bullets against a group of men who owned their own military fatigues and guns.
Going in I should have seen that my ass would get served with a round of high intensity bullet rounds, smacking in five different directions all across my body. Of course being naive, I thought Airsoft would be a fun excursion with my friends, that might possibly hurt, but you know, not make me waiver in fear as I call out for mercy as a sniper laser zones in on my chest.
The first thing that happens when you arrive at the Airsoft center is that they make you sign a wavier that doesn’t leave them liable for any injuries occurred while in the game. That should have been a sign to get the fuck out and never return, but unfortunately for me my pride got in the way and wouldn’t let me dash out faster than Sonic the Hedgehog running through a loop-de-loop.
After signing over your personal well-being, you get ushered into a dark room with a small TV that tells you how to: cock your gun, fire, hide, not get shot in the face, die, etc. After 10 minutes of fear and personal quavering as reality hits, you get saddled with a tactical vest that offer’s the most basic protection to the chest and holds your magazines; and a mask and helmet to prevent eye and head injures. Then BAM! Off you go to get slaughtered.
It’s dark. There are wooden walls that give you cover for the first few moments before you emerge into the arena. Swearing and breathing heavily, I go in trying to crouch and somehow make my six-foot frame seem smaller. Paranoid, I hit the first person I see coming from the other direction behind a large wooden wall. My first trial at hitting an opponent fails heavily as I hear a “What the fuck? I’m on your fucking team!” Opps. I say sorry and slink off, wishing that the difference between teams was more than a black or brown camo coloured helmet.
I get hit, repeatedly, as soon as I make my presence known. It hurts. My arm feels like its on fire as the pellets hit me. I scream hit as I manoeuvre out of the way. My ass gets barraged as I turn away. There is nothing quite like a hailstorm of pellets to the ass to make you feel alive.
I keep coming back trying to find my opponents, but it’s dark, my glasses are foggy and I feel sweat coming down my forehead. I hit a man, feel crazed with power and get shot in the arm immediately after, really blowing the ego boost. I try again, keeping close to the walls, hunkered down as far as I can, and suddenly pellets fly and I’m holding down the trigger as I fire furiously at a man dressed in dark beige camo on top of a fort of cardboard boxes. I yell “hit,” but feel a bit of victory.
Victory is a fleeting feeling in Airsoft as the next round has me being pelleted in the arm and leg. The next encounter with a shooter ends with me being nailed twice in the stomach at close range and clutching myself like I’d done too many tequila shots and got my ass served to me in a bar fight.
In pain, sweaty, and fearful for my backside, I leave the arena and hand in my equipment. I ask the guy at the counter if other girls come and play Airsoft. He looks at me and shakes his head, saying that it’s mostly guys with past experience (with guns I am guessing), which come and play Airsoft; now if only I had asked that question before my integration into the battle zone.
I leave the Airsoft facility with pride and bruises, knowing that I did something so far out of my comfort zone, but also knowing that I’d never hold a gun again. Well, not until the zombie apocalypse happens.