‘Command & Control’ – Being An Airsoft Site Owner & Dealing With Our Community

Before we delve too deeply into this post let me first state… I don’t own a site. As a committee member at The Manx Airsoft Club I am entrusted with the certain aspects of the operation of the club and own essentially zip. A group effort of individuals who work together in order to offer a service in a non-profit orientated business means giving a lot and taking back pretty much nothing. Doesn’t really sound that appealing does it?

Pete working a private party as Game Marshal

Being on the committee lets me (and the other committee members) make alterations to how our site is ran, thus directly affecting the gameplay, enjoyment and realism depending on what type of game is played. If your starting to get lost with the waffle, I apologise… this could possibly be the hardest and most complicated post I’ll write within this blog. I’ll try to keep my words basic and to the point and divulge exactly what I’m piping on about.

What I’m trying to get across is, although we may come across as the owners of ‘The MAC’ …all in all we are really just a bunch of guys, voted in by members who safeguard the development and maintenance of the club. We don’t take a wage, there’s no special perks and to be quite honest it’s hard f*****g work.  To be able to do what we do you must have a certain mentality: “Will this benefit the club and players?”

The MAC’s Chairman and tallest player, Graham

If you’re doing anything at the club as a chair that isn’t directly linked to the overall enjoyment of play to the players or to preserve the club itself then basically you’re doing it wrong. Our main objectives as The MAC committee are:

  • To provide engaging, high quality gamedays: Including private events, larger events, team/club training sessions.
  • Maintaining and developing club facilities for the benefit and enjoyment of players/members.
  • Distribution and allocation of club funds to directly benefit the club and it’s players/members.
  • Represent the club and players/members in all forms of Island, UK and further team reputation at away events.
  • Provide instruction and education to newer players on the sport, rules and responsibilities as an UK Airsofter.
Thats me, Jomarre, taking some players for a spin in our WMIK

All sounds very complicated to anyone not in the know, but basically it boils down to ‘keeping the club and players happy.’ Thats it really, all we strive to do as committee members and your ‘staff’ as you could call it is keep you happy. Making sure you have enough BB’s available, at a wholesale cheap price to buy constantly. Keeping pyro in stock so you can throw bangs to your heart’s content. Organising away trips (transport/booking/team allocation) and making sure it all costs the minimum possible. Changing the Airsoft site around, cleaning it and adding new features to keep you entertained. advertising to new players to keep you with someone to play with and against… the list can go on. But, basically, that’s what we do.

Some committee guys have certain specific roles: we have a Chairman, a Treasurer, a Secretary, suppliers, labourers and even non-committee maintainance specialists when the tasks get too tough for one or the other. Considering there’s literally no financial incentive or “freebies” gained by being a committee member, it would make some people wonder why we do it (and some have done it for 15 years now). I can’t speak for all of us, but for me the opportunity to help create something that s people enjoy doing is simply incredible. Recent examples including the post-weekender praise the committee received is payment enough. Players not just from The MAC but all over the Island revelling after an immense weekend full of milsim based gameplay, to me is the real incentive. To be part of something successful that our players are proud to be a part of is the ultimate real incentive.

Smiffy our general game master and brains of the operation

There are certain aspects that we may not be top of the board with. At times I’ve learnt that without motivation, getting the job done can become quite a task in itself, I can contest to that as I’ve done it as well. End of the day we aren’t perfect, we offer as much time as we physically can to the club and the sport and at time that can be none at all. Luckily we have a good rounded group of guys ,in and out of the committee, who will spare what they can to keep us going. For that we are all grateful, as players members and committee.

This is where we differ from UK and other clubs. We are NOT here to make money from you, that is not our design! To be honest, we don’t actually have that much anyway and what we do have is ear marked for more consumables for our players/members. The majority of the UK abnd other sites are they to make a profit, it’s not their fault it’s probably their full-time employment and passion rolled into one, we just happen to differ slightly. The same can also be said about the Island’s other site ‘Double Tap’ as a club we are very smiliar. Sadly we hear stories of other clubs popping into the picture, solely aimed at ‘making a buck’ from our small community here on the Island. Rumours of disdain and spiteful comments towards us and our brothers at DTAC have been noticed and to be honest… we are not interested. We are tried and tested, used and abused and after 15 years we are still here. We’ll still be here in the next 15 I can guarantee that. In regards to comments like “that club is crap” I say well, as a club you’re talking about all of us, the club entirety, not individuals. We’re not worried, our player membership speaks for itself.

A senior player, Whitey, helping marshal at OP: Enduring Liberty (MAC Weekender)

When it comes to the community of Airsofters the Isle of Man has, you can be compared to something of industry type. We, at the end of the day,  are only site managers/marshals but our specific geography with where we live basically makes us the top of the metaphorical food chain. Whether we belive that, or whether people insinuate such stereotyping upon us … the responsibility to the community is the same. People may slightly look up to us due to our specific role, but it is by no means warranted. Therefore it’s imperative that we conduct ourselves how Airsofters should: with safety, respect and responsibility not just with ourselves but with all those we share our communities’ sport with. It can take up a lot of your time making sure others are instructed on and off the field as to how the sport is played. Some listen, others don’t …but it doesn’t put us off what we do.

So all in all we are here for the players, that’s what our job entails and I hope we fit that purpose in the eyes of our patrons. We ARE open to suggestions from everyone, it’s as much your club as it’s our (even more so if I’m honest). Times may change, committee may move on …but our passion and love of the club will always be there. I hope you all love it as much as we do.

~  Jomarre Tomlinson (STICKMAN)
~ Jomarre Tomlinson (STICKMAN)



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