I have been playing Airsoft since its legalization here in Ireland back in 2006. I suppose at the time I never knew this Sport was going to later define me, shape my life and the person I would become today. Being disabled I always had trouble fitting in, felt cast out most of my teenage life. I always wanted to be a part of something big and when Airsoft came along i knew this was my calling.
The team I’m with is called Na Taibhse which is Irish for Ghosts. I have been with them since the start of all this in 06. They have been my support and backbone from the start. Before joining, my team captain who is now one of my closest friends and right hand man when it comes to the TANK, asked me to join on one condition that i be called Tank or something cool like that, so there the name was born, the 2.0 i added later, like a vehicle number.
Before i embarked on this wicked journey i know i was going to need to get serious, I needed a new set of wheels and not just any wheels. It would have to be big, bulky, beastly and so my G50 was discovered and imported from Germanys finest wheelchair makers.
I started off with two G36’s with drum mags mounted on both sides of my chair.
but I wanted more. It needed to be bigger, more scarier so those were replaced with two M249’s para. Then i wanted more so I attached two 6 slug revolver grenade launchers and movement via control and small computer box.
This was one expensive rig costing up to 8 grand. It was a beautiful piece of kit and looked great but in the long run it was a nuisance and just not practical in the real airsoft world. So off they came and just two m249 para’s mounted in front of me like the top of a Humvee.
Now the kills were racking up and I’m getting really stuck in to some intense firefights.
Through the years i have dedicated most my time and efforts to the TANK. It was very important to me that it looked realistic to what a small mobile weapons platform might look like in the real world. I wanted it to look believable that it could be something from a modern day army so I always made sure it looked authentic and that the guns looked intimidating.
I wanted it to look like a man in a mobile weapons machine. As if it was being operated by a soldier or pilot. I did not want to be recognized as an actual vehicle or machine, so thats why i only have it shielded a bit like the gun mount on a Humvee so it doesn’t look silly or to vehicle like.
My hit rule I created with my team captain, because I am the first disabled person to play in Ireland I feel it’s my right to make this an official rule for me. We named it after a mini game called Juggernaut, which is basically taking your hits when your comfort limit has been reached.
This may seem a bit unfair at the start but when you think about the fact that I’m a huge target, no agility, taking cover is not really an option and your average player doesn’t really expose themselves much. This rule gives me a fighting chance and if you think about it further, 1 or 2 stray bullets won’t really do much to a Humvee but if you give it a few bursts you will damage it but don’t let that give you the idea that i storm in like iron man killing everyone and ignoring hits. While I enjoy getting shot at lol nobody can take getting riddled with bb’s. I mostly take direct shots to vital places, head, chest, neck I’m hit, if not and i get a few bursts then I’m out but if i get a wussy single shot to my shield I’m just going to laugh at you and give you a baaaad fire response lol. I treat the rule a little like I’m a lav or a tougher foe on your Playstation, so don’t expect me to go down on the first shot but after a few bursts I’m gone.
Playing Airsoft has always been a unique feeling for me. It’s always been an escape from my reality of being disabled, once i roll onto that field i am no longer a person with a disability, I’m a combatant just like everyone else. Our passion is the same, our goals the same, working as a team to win. I receive the same respect and inclusion as everyone else. I no longer feel different, I feel equal and that to me is a great feeling.
I also feel that Airsoft has given me a great strength. A will to fight for as long as i can, to not give into illness, living with such an illness like duchess dystrophy it can be pretty scary. After the loss of my brother to the same illness in 09 I became terrified of it but I’m grateful to have such an amazing hobby that takes me away from that horrible feeling. When i strap that helmet on, grasp that trigger i feel invincible, my fear becomes my fuel, pushing me to my edge, beyond my limits so it has done wonders for strengthening my mind and will power.
I have been given a great sense of pride in the last 2 years. One of my all time goals was to get to a 24 hour Milsim in the UK’s mod army city for years. I was told ‘’no way, too dangerous’’ bla bla. People speaking for me like my brains were made of cheese lol. I had many people say I couldn’t do it but eventually I crossed paths with a lovely lady who changed this and got me access, so I geared up, went over with my team and many other Irish folk and we kicked some serious ass ha. Funny enough it was one of the most accessible places I have ever been to ha, so much for the great danger eh? I fought to the best of my ability and even though it was the coldest temperature I have ever experienced (seriously though the gusts of wind were excruciatingly cold). I bit down hard and battled on through the day and night, had an amazing experience with some truly great friends. Being at Copehill Down was my biggest achievement.
When i returned home, I received some great feedback and received so many kind comments. I was even made an honorary member of a big UK based team called the Shadow Stalkers. I was really overwhelmed, it was such a happy feeling for me that you could say a small tear had formed in the corner of my eye lol, really small now ha.
Since then i have befriended many and met some really great people. I would like to think my skill on the battlefield has increased dramatically and that I’m a worthy foe. My playing style has always been overwhelming the enemy with surprise while laying down some serious firepower and giving a fellow troop a chance to move or flank. I always role with a Tank Vanguard who will scout ahead and keep me covered when needed. We have a unique fighting style together that works well. He is my extra eyes and ears and i could not do this without him.
Through the years i have had help from many in this great community, such help as early gun mount prototypes, to gun modifications, without their help and support i wouldn’t be here today, especially my dear Father and also my mother with the many suit modifications.
One might think after reading this that my journey was all uphill free from any struggle or pain but truthfully it was not, on many occasion did i feel like giving up or that some things are just impossible. I had to cross many bridges, teach many minds. I will not say this started off as a happy journey but it certainly built a strong proud character in the end, who eventually got what he first set out to do. I suppose what I’m trying to say is if you want something bad enough in life and you believe in it, there’s no reason why you can’t achieve your goal. Never let anyone dictate your faith, your limits, your desires, you and you alone are your own master. Never let anyone tell you, you’re not able or good enough.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my story as much as i have enjoyed sharing it.