The Honor System
The sport of airsoft relies on the honor system. This means that each player is responsible for being honest regarding whether he or she has been hit in order for the game to progress fairly. Since airsoft BBs do not usually leave noticeable evidence as paintballs do, responsibility falls on the hit player to call him or herself out. Players who refuse to acknowledge being hit so that they can stay in the game are cheating, and that takes the fun out of the game for teammates as well as opponents. Cheaters are not well tolerated in airsoft and will likely be banned from playing with the group again. Here are a few situations that obstruct the honor system that is so important to the integrity of airsoft:
* Failing to acknowledge a hit. Players hit by airsoft fire during a match are expected to call themselves out according to the rules set forth at the start of the game. The rules of some fields stipulate that hit players remain on the ground in the location where they were hit. Or, players may be required to hold their guns in the air, shout "hit!" and move to the regeneration point. In other cases, a signal such as a flashing light or a flag may be used to communicate that a player has been hit. The course of action each player should take after being hit will be communicated prior to the start of a match. Failing to call yourself out when hit can result in elimination from the game and could lead you to get banned from playing with the organization again. In other words, cheating is not worth it.
* Pretending to be hit to avoid enemy fire. Just as players should honestly admit to being hit, they should be honest about having not been hit. Pretending to be hit to avoid fire, then going back into action in the match is dishonorable behavior that is not tolerated in airsoft. Though this probably happens less commonly than a player failing to acknowledge a hit, all players should be aware that breaking the rules diminishes the integrity of the game.
* Reentering the game too soon after being hit. In some types of airsoft matches, players who have been hit are allowed to reenter the match after a certain period of time or when a referee gives them the go ahead. This makes matches last longer and gives players more playing time. If you are playing in a match wherein you are allowed to reenter the game after being hit, be sure to only do so at the appropriate time.
Like any sport, most airsoft players are out to have a good time, but there will be a select few who do not want to play fairly. Refusing to abide by the honor system when playing airsoft will drain the fun and competitiveness of the sport for everyone else. Just as you expect a player you hit to acknowledge the hit, you are expected to do the same. Being banned from playing again will not be worth it, so take the high road and have fun playing airsoft the way it was meant to be played.