I just stumbled across this site a months ago while looking to get back into airsofting after many many (many) moons.
As for who got me into the game and when...? That would be my cousins from Hong Kong (Dad's side). In 1978. Before airsoft became airsoft, and the guns were referred to as "BS" guns. No idea what the "BS" stood for. Single shot, spring powered, all (cheap) plastic manufacture, and firing little blue plastic pellets (shaped like the little conical pellet gun rounds, not BB shaped at all).
Shit-tons o' fun. Personal safety was waaaaaaay down the list of "Important Self-Preservation Tips for Life" (TM). Did I also mention this was back in the '70s...?
And yet, somehow I survived my childhood... more or less in one piece...