The Supporting Roles – Part 1: We all started this hobby with help, I know I did…and that person not only encouraged me to express myself in my hobby, but also went all the way to Hong Kong to purchase my very first gun bag as well as my entire first gear and accessories.
In my case it was my mother…in your cases it could be a father, an uncle, an aunt or even brothers and sisters. But we’ll touch base with your special person in the next installment of this line of articles. This is a tribute to all the people who supported us in our entry to this wonderful world.
So, my mother. Her name is Chin Hsiu Chen (yes, we’re ethnic chinese). I first got introduced to toy guns when I was just a kid (almost 29 years ago), no surprise there…most of us have been there haven’t we? And nothing much came of it, because even though I have always loved guns, those were plastic spring pistols. Sure it later developed to Non Blow Back Gas Pistols, but they’re still plastic replicas with a lot missing. Forgot the name of my first spring pistol, but it was called the thunderbolt model.
And so my love for it went to real guns, which I delved into with unending enthusiasm…but it wasn’t until my mother took to on a vacation back in 1994 to visit her family in Korea that I was introduced with the modern version of airsoft…the AEG. And her brother (my uncle) bought me my very first MP5 airsoft replica. The Korean company called Academy at the time only had two choices, the MP5 or the smaller copy of the M16.
When we returned home, I was restricted to playing in the backyard with a few empty cans for target practice. Back then, no one was playing wargames with AEGs yet…they had NBB Pistols and some even had 1st Generation GBB Beretta M92F from Western Arms, but that’s about it. No one wanted to play with a kid who has a fully automatic SMG.
A few years later, around 1996, the Japanese version came into play and what few of us there were got to know the newcomer, the Tokyo Marui AEGs…they had a significantly more choice at the time. Steyr, MP5, M4, G36, AK47, etc…so it was like a venerable buffet of choices. At this time the battery and dynamo of my MP5 has already gone south because I’ve already started playing simple wargames with some friends I found on Friendster who shared the same interest.
I told my mother I wanted one, so she gave me chores and stuff. Whenever I finished a chore she would drop some money into this empty jar she labeled ‘airsoft fund’ for me. I also went around to my neighbors to get chores, like mow their lawns, help them clean out their garage (got some cool stuff in the process as well), clean their pools, etc.
Finally I managed to collect enough to get a smaller MP5, so I told my mother I have already decided to get one with the fund I collected. She took me to the store, told me to choose a few models for comparison and ask the clerk about the price difference as well as specs. I chose a G36, an M4, and an MP5 but told her that I could only afford to get the MP5. She then told me that she would make up the remaining balance if I wanted to choose one of the other two models. Talk about early Christmas…I went for the M4 immediately. And so my first superior quality AEG came home with me.
By that time (1999), there were 17 of us playing together, so we made a club and sought out other people to play with.
More than once my mother stopped in Hong Kong on her trip abroad to but the accessories or gear or whatever airsoft related things I would ask her to get me. And she would always come through for me, even if she has to extend her stay for another day or two.
Needless to say, things escalated from there…quality gears became a necessity, accessories became very common, and more people joined airsoft. And people eventually developed the thing called Milsim, or simulation games taken from the events that transpired in real operations carried out by US Military / Law Enforcement Forces all over the world.
The game evolved, the number of people playing the game grew, new companies and new brands came out…but not all good things came with these new cheaper brands. New players came and joined us, but they usually lack discipline or sportsmanship. Zombies or whatever they call people who refuse to call their hits pop out in every game, events, and even competitions.
Once I even caught a few pellets to my forehead from a couple of feet away, all because this newbie broke the rules and fired blind from a corner. Went home with a large bandage and my mother simply told me to decide what I want to do, keep playing or retire. I chose to play on, and she told me that in all things in life, there will be people who break the rules and disregard other people’s safety just because they want to get ahead. So if I ever meet these people, I have to stay cool, think ahead and figure out how to outsmart them without playing the game their way.
Fast forward 17 years, I am still an active player and I now own 3 GBB Rifles, 4 GBB SMGs, 17 GBB Pistols, and a few miscellaneous airsoft units. I already abandoned almost all my AEGs for the realism and hardcore world of the GBBR…but I left one AEG for old times’ sake as well as to participate in a major game where large amount of ammunition is a necessity.
So to recap, my mother got me my first airsoft unit, she encouraged me to play, woke me up and helped me pack when I have morning games, helped my buy some of my gears and accessories, taught me how to kick zombie ass, and generally made me what I am today. Without her, I wouldn’t be the player I am today.
Read the Supporting Roles Part 2
Written By Liao1779
Cover picture by Ashleigh Wright