I am a Firefighter.
Yes, I am proud to say that I'm a firefighter and an EMT, and out of all of that, I am still an Airsofter. I run a team, ShadowNET. Lately we've been silent, we haven't really shown our faces on fields because life has taken over, and because there are things we need to work out before we go back out on the field. Times are tough for everyone, and it's no surprise that some of us are discouraged by this and would want to just do their own thing because members of their team aren't really participating as much. Let me say this: Stick With Your Team.
Take pride in your team.
You're with them for a reason. Either because you've all been friends for a long time, or because you tried out and they accepted you, one way or another you've formed a bond and a friendship with people on your team. You guys know each other and know how to work together through the worst possible scenarios. Together, you are “Delta” as some would like to say.
In the fire and rescue service, one thing above all things that I've learned is to be proud of what I do. I'm proud to put on my badge every time I go to the station to take on an evening or overnight deal. I take pride in the equipment I use and the people who I work with and run into some of the worst situations with. I have earned a degree of respect from my second family, and that didn't come overnight.
Pride and Respect are almost one and the same. You can be proud of something only once you and everyone else respects it. And to respect something you need to show pride in it as well.
Respect is the first topic of this month's article.
You can't demand respect. You earn it. I'm sure everyone that's reading this has already heard that quote a thousand times and some may already understand it. But for those who don't, it's simple. You can't go in expecting people to respect you. You have to show to everyone that you're worthy of it and can hold your own and stand your ground while being respectful to others. The best way you can gain respect, is by treating others with the degree of kindness and respect you would want. Once you can show that you are honest, work hard for the objectives, are a good sport, and help someone out in a kind and respectful manner, that sticks with people. It sticks with them and you start earning their respect towards you. Sooner or later, you'll start seeing people talk about you and your team and how they want to see more of you. You may be personally invited to specific events or asked to help out with a part of an Op or Skirmish day that they think you're capable of.
Respect for you then builds respect for your team as each member of the team stands out from the rest of the community. And once you reach a level of respect, you can be proud of the team you're on.
Pride is not boastfulness. It's caring about something and knowing that you have done well, and are looked up to. Not everyone gains respect, and because you did the right things, you now have the respect of many others who see you.
There are those who will start talking trash and cause trouble and cheat, and those are the people we should either teach the correct behavior to, or tell them to stand on the outside looking in. After all, as a group you are a team, a presence who's reputation can be one to be proud of, or ashamed of.
For those trouble makers, it's up to everyone on the team to keep them in check. If a team has a command structure, people in command should set the standards and remind everyone of the standard necessary to run correctly and to keep the respect of the people who already respect you. Keep the pride.
I personally will not tolerate anyone on my team breaking the rules. And it has occurred on a few instances where I've had to remove someone from the team due to their behavior. It's never easy, it's never something I would want to do. It's a tough decision but it's one that is necessary. You want to keep the team as Drama-Free as possible, and as respectful towards others as possible.
So basically what I'm encouraging everyone to do this month is to be proud of your team. Be proud of your call sign. Wear that name tape, that team patch, and that team shirt with pride and your head high, because in the long run, you will become the mentors of the players of tomorrow. Don't be the team or player that gets the black smudge for cheating or trash talking, or behaving inappropriately on the field. Show the community at large that there is a reason why you're part of the team you're on and a reason why you play pretend war.
Relax. Unwind. Shoot Something. Respect. Take Pride In Who And What You Are.