Even though it is quite popular, Airsoft is considered more of a hobby than a competitive sport. But could it become more than it is right now? Does airsoft have the chance to become a ‘real sport’ like basketball or soccer?
The answer to this question usually depends on who you ask. If you would ask a passionate player, with years of experience, the answer would be a resounding yes accompanied by the ‘I can’t believe they haven’t made it into a real competition yet!’. However, if you would ask someone who doesn’t really know the game, you may get a shoulder shrug.
But let’s have a deeper look at the matter at hand and see if airsoft can become a widely recognized real sport.
It Requires Physical Fitness
Whether it is played in an outdoor field or an indoor arena, players must be able to walk long distances, run, crouch, crawl, and perform all sorts of activities that require physical fitness. Keep in mind that this is a simulation of a battlefield, so participants must endure the conditions (more or less) of a real combat situation.
Of course, the game can be adjusted to accommodate less-fit individuals, but for a competitive match, there is no room for error.
It is a Game of Strategy
Players don’t just get in the field and start shooting BBs at each other until there’s only one standing! Just like with every other sport, the teams need to base their actions on a well-devised strategy that takes into consideration the opposing team, the terrain, and other aspects that could influence the outcome of the game.
Moreover, team leaders must know their own team’s strengths and weaknesses and build a strategy based on this knowledge.
Players have the possibility of choosing from a wide array of airsoft weapons starting from low-cost models to high-end airsoft guns that feature all sorts of tools and improvements. As such, the sport can be differentiated from paintball where there’s only one type of gun and one type of ammo (paint pellets).
However, the way these guns work (by shooting BBs) can be problematic for a competitive game. Given that there is no sure marker to let everyone know when a player is hit, airsoft is based on the honor of the players. And, while most advanced players don’t try to cheat their way out of this, there is still a lot of guessing, especially as an outside observer.
One way to solve this problem would be to use marker BBs which leave a trace on the target. However, they also leave residue inside the guns and in the barrel which reduces the gun’s efficiency and can even create jams.
There are Clear Rules
Just like soccer and hockey have their own set of rules, so does airsoft and players who choose not to follow them are penalized or eliminated (depending on the gravity of the disobedience). Moreover, there are several types of games, where the objective is different. For instance, in some missions players must capture the opposite’s team flag while in others they need to capture a specific target.
Overall, airsoft is a fun and resourceful game and it deserves to be considered a real sport. It has cool weapons, well-thought rules, and it is based on strategic thinking. Still, it may be a while until we get to see an airsoft championship right next to a soccer one.