Occasionally I find people speaking of another possible con: dishonest/mean players. I have to try hard not to laugh. Really? I shouldn’t let my children play this because they might run across someone who isn’t playing ‘fair’? My usual reply is, “Good point, I guess since they will not encounter anyone in ‘the real world’ who acts this way it wouldn’t be a good idea to expose them to it here.” The hardest part is saying this with a straight face. Seriously though, I get the point, yes there will be people who come through the games that don’t call hits, go out of bounds, etc. etc. I take this as another lesson for my boys. What do we do about this? How do we, as Patton’s, respond to that kind of disrespect? I can go on and on about second chances, giving the benefit of the doubt and knowing when to step in with understanding or step in with dismissal.
When the rubber hits the road I must lead by example. I’m out there playing and my sons are watching (sometimes at the other end of the rifle that just shot me). I know how hard it can be to keep a cool head when you’ve just been shot by someone who isn’t playing by the rules. I have also been known to holler out colorful things in the pain of the moment. This is good for me to deal with, looking my own ‘fairness’ in the eye. And this is the very battles I spoke of above.
What my sons learn out on that field will help to see them through the unfairness they will encounter everyday for the rest of their lives. I want to know I helped nurture the warrior in them so that they can stand firm in the face of a bully in 7th grade, against the wave of peer pressure in high school, in self-control before a vindictive boss, and in so many other battles we all face.
So I can truly say that this, more then any other area of growing up, is where I want my boys to learn to deal with the battles of life. When they leave the field after a game they take away how to lose & how to win, how to lead & how to follow, how deal with pain & how to deal with hurting others, how to communicate & how to listen, how to work as a team & how to work on their own. I know in this game I can help guide them in how to push through personal disappointment & how to celebrate personal success, how to help others through rough times & how to
be helped by others, how to keep their cool & how to deal with losing their cool, how to plan & how to deal with a plan falling apart, how to be all that they are called to be & how to call others to similar heights. I can say all of this with confidence because I have dealt with it all on the field myself. If a parent were to ask me, “How can you let your sons play airsoft?” my reply would have to be, “How can I not?”
~Crystal Patton AKA Huntress