My love for airsoft
- Wednesday, September 23, 2020

There’s an old saying that goes, “there are friends, there is family, and there are the friends that become family.” I feel this way about airsoft. I’ve talked several times about how the sense of community drew me into the hobby of airsoft. What I haven’t talked about is exactly WHY that community drew me into airsoft.

California Unicorn Life Before Airsoft

When I first found the airsoft hobby, I was in a dark place in my life. I had just gone through a really rough time in my personal life and had recently moved to California by myself. I may have lived in a city, but I felt like there was no one in that city who could identify with me. It turns out that those stereotypical plot lines about girls from small towns in the Midwest moving to big cities come from a place of truth.

I felt a lot like Lindsey Lohan in Mean Girls – an awkward, conservatively raised outcast trying to make the most of myself on the West Coast, chasing my dreams of California living. But it was clear that I didn’t fit in with everyone else. As much as I loved San Francisco, it didn’t always love me back. And by “it” – I mean the people. I met some wonderful friends, who have remained my friends to this day…but I also met a TON of people who made me feel like a bumpkin, like I would never fit into their elite-tech society. I was also thousands of miles from my family. One brutally depressing year, I spent all the holidays completely and totally alone, save for my faithful pittie, Zoey.

Elite Force Airsoft Welcomed an Outcast

I finally stumbled into airsoft. After playing in some airsoft events for a little over a year, I met the man who would become my husband, Jet DesertFox. One 6 month whirlwind courtship later, we had moved in together and were planning our future. At this time, Jet was sponsored by Elite Force Airsoft. They have supported him since very early in his career, and they welcomed me into their “family” with open arms. Did that immediately translate into a sponsorship? No. But that wasn’t what was important to me. Even though I wasn’t part of their “Pro Staff” they still allowed me to tag along at airsoft games and events. One of my absolute favorite memories early on in Jet and I’s relationship was a 2015 road trip for American Milsim’s inaugural Copperhead event in New Mexico.

Together, Elite Force and Evike rented a resort compound for their pro staff. They allowed me to stay there, even though I wasn’t a part of either company at that time. As you would expect, we had a great time. This trip meant a lot to me. You see, I had previously worked for a competitor of Elite Force, so I was worried that they would be apprehensive of welcoming me into their circle. But that was absolutely NOT the case. They treated me like a member of their family, giving me a breath of hope in a world where I was becoming increasingly cynical about humanity – and about family.

True Airsoft Friendships Do Last

Since then, I have remained in contact with my friends at Elite Force. I didn’t ask for sponsorships or free stuff; I just appreciated good people being good to other people. I am one of those people who firmly believes and values the saying “treat others as you would like to be treated.” And that is what my relationship with Elite Force has been like. They’ve always been good to me, and they were always good to other players, airsoft dealers and stores, and airsoft fields – even when they didn’t have to be. Years down the road, I would finally have the opportunity to travel to their headquarters in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where I could see behind the scenes of their warehouse, sales, media, and shipping offices. It was here that I could see that they cared for every person in their company, and they truly care about their customers and doing good within their respective industries.

I’ve also been lucky enough to join them on cross-country road trips to airsoft stores, fields, and events. During these times, I’ve seen their employees work airsoft events in all sorts of weather, assisting players on the field, answering all sorts of questions, and always putting the player first. They truly care about you, the player. And that is a very hard thing to find in a company. For this, and a host of many other reasons, I will continue to value my family at Elite Force – and I hope you do, too. #WhatsInYourMag

By: Leah Del Castillo (Unicorn