Mentoring and Building the Player Base
In order for our sport/hobby to grow, we have to bring in interested players in. Not into teams per say, but into the sport/community. Those crossing over from airsoft into MILSIM (yes, there is a difference), are following a natural progression, wanting more in terms of scenario, weapons manipulation, and applying teamwork/tactics. Those coming fresh without ever having tried airsoft or MILSIM, see the replica weapons and kit, and want to see what they are potentially missing out on.
As a Military Veteran, I first looked at the sport with some prejudice, and after a replica demonstration and talking with TCA Vets (Mike Govan and Coach), while waiting for my two sons to get done with Stonebreaker 2016, I decided to give in to my curiosity and take the field with my boys rather than be just the ride. A year later, and a small investment, my "team" has expanded to 3 Dads and 6 teenagers, travelling to other states for events. Two of our number just attended MSW at Shelby, later with the team going to an AMS event, two more TCA events (Serious Viking 2 and Trenchknife). So you could easily say, we are hooked.
2 of the Dads had retired from the service, with the other having served 6 years, none of us were grunts (Aviation maintenance, Combat Medic, Intel) the boys had to educate us in terms of airsoft replicas, and we in turn educated them on planning, tactics, and gear practicality.
It all came together on the field, with the younger half of the team learning "tactical patience" (thanks Z for that phrase) and listening to older members about taking the time to let the situation develop.
Our mindset is to grow the sport (yes Z, I agree with you, it is a sport), because we choose to treat everyone we meet with respect and as equals, we mentor each other and other players that want to roll with us and even against us, in the end the sport gets better, it is awesome to see players pull off a successful fight or if they took a defeat, say how much of a rush it was. That's the reason to grow this sport, it builds character and sportsmanship.