Thanks, Thundercactus - nice of you to say.
Our club was created for the precise reason to give kids a safe and legal place to play. We've all heard horror stories of police rolling up on kids playng airsoft on the park.......the police having to assume the guns are real, and the kids (being kids) doing somethng stupid like holding the gun up to show them that their not 'real' guns.
As one of the only all-age clubs around (300 members, youngest is 12-ish, oldest is close to 60), we - Cuddy's Commandos - do have to be very strict with underage players. But it's not just the underage, it's noobs in general. If they come in to an environment with no rules, then there's a lot more room for them to do something stupid. We lay out the rules in detail each and every game, and enforce them as strictly as we can. I've sent guys out for the day for a single un-called BB hit. If they start playing with strict rules, then they can't really develop bad habits, as they're simply not tolerated. We've got a steady stream of new players coming out....some stay, and some come once and never again.....usually, those guys are the ones who want to run wild and don't respect the rules. If they don't leave on their own, we suggest they find somewhere else to play.
And to be clear, while we do have a few younger kids on the team, most of the under 18 croud is in the 15-17 year-old range, with an average height of about 6'2"........which tends to shatter most guys' preconceptions of under-age players, who think it's like playing inside a day-care.
Our biggest frustration comes when we go to play at an open house, where our guys get mixed in with guys from established 18+ teams, and our guys end up quitting 5 minutes into the game, saying that nobody's calling their hits, and the marshalls aren't doing anything about it.
My biggest reward is seeing dads coming out to play with their sons (and, in some cases, daughters). How many sports are there where parents can play on equal footing with their kids? They have an absolute blast, and become our most loyal members.
In general, though, our guys do remarkably well. We've had no serious injuries in the 5 years we've been playing. And, I ENJOY telling people I spend my weekends shooting at children in the woods!
That being said, however, there is and always will be a certain element within the community who are just dead set against anyone under 18 picking up a gun. I respect that, even though I find almost ALL of their reasoning (justification) to be questionable, or straight up wrong. To each his own.
Last edited by canabubba; May 17th, 2013 at 10:33..