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GO MAD FOR PATCHES!

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Patches make the world go 'round' don't they!

Anyone in the airsoft or paintball community could tell you that they have a patch or two, or even a collection or patch wall. There are many reasons why someone would purchase or even collect patches.

I decided to ask the airsoft community what patches mean to them, to get a broader and more personal perspective.

For some its about the fun it brings, having a funny patch that you can put on your gear, and for others it is more symbolic. Shane says, "I think it's kind of like milestones, some represent who you have run with, some represent the places you have played, and some even remind you of those funny moments."

"Patches help you express you personality, " says Al, and I have to agree with him. Even for myself its a way for me to show off my personality and express myself in creative ways. Others feel like Airsoft is more of a fashion show, and according to Serhan, "the more Gucci you look, the cooler you look!--a lot of airsofters love to have the latest in 'tacticool' patches.

Airsoft also brings together worldwide friendships, and for Sam, in the UK, she collects patches as a sign of friendship. "I like to do patch swaps as a sign of friendship, as well as collecting really cool ones. It also helps to get team names out, and when the patch is recognized it can help start conversations with people you might not have spoken to otherwise."

This community is one of the biggest in the world, and patches definitely help to create a worldwide dialogue among different players and teams with a common interest--holding much significance for many players. For UK airsofter, Dan, it means just this. "There's something special about having a patch from someone you don't actually know, but share a common bond and interest with. It does help you strike up conversations with other players too, especially when you're at a new site and don't know many people. Some of them are fantastic pieces of 'art' (I have ones that I collect and are still in their packets), others are just 'cool' and some just damn funny. I also think it's an honour to receive and wear patches from other players, and to see them wearing yours, AND saying the same things. It's all part of the community to me."

Some people just love having patches and grab whatever catches their eye! "I plain old just like patches!" says local airsofter Ryan, "the ones from friends and teams I've played with are my favourite. It makes it fun--PATCHES ARE FUN!"

Steven in Quebec, says it "boosts the morale of the troops around him," and I can definitely vouch for that, especially when your at an event with your team, and you're all representing each other and those around you. Bruce says he collects patches mostly from the events he's been to, teams he's played with, or against, as well as fields and the players he has gotten them from. 

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