Eye of the Tiger

Student guns for experience

%28COURTESY%2FMELE+TUIMAUNEI%29
(COURTESY/MELE TUIMAUNEI)

(COURTESY/MELE TUIMAUNEI)

(COURTESY/MELE TUIMAUNEI)

JOSH REBELLO

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The first time sophomore Mele Tuimaunei picked up an airsoft gun, she immediately followed up by attempting to shoot her brothers with its pellets.

Tuimaunei’s introduction to airsofting left her with a strong impression and a desire to continue playing.

“It was really cool the first time,” Tuimaunei said. “And over time, we got better and it got more fun, so we started getting better guns, better equipment.”

Now, Tuimaunei plays with her brothers and friends at a local field. She and her brothers all use a high-pressured air setup, which runs off of a tank that has an airline running into the pistol grip of the gun.

Tuimaunei believes she is an average player and says she plays the sport to be active and make new friends.

While some people aim to be “speedsofters,” a person who uses the lightest gear and minimizes their airsoft setup in an attempt to move quickly and strike fast, Tuimaunei believes she doesn’t fall under the term.

Talae Tuimaunei, one of Mele’s brothers, believes it was his older brother that sparked the siblings’ interest in the sport, and caused them to begin bonding over it.

The siblings now attempt to play together every weekend and hope to participate in tournaments in the future.

According to Talae, the tournaments require teamwork and entering with a team composed of his siblings only would only make their bond even stronger on the field.

“I think she enjoys hanging out with me,” Talae said. “We get to talk more and help each other out.”

Mele and her brothers have made many friends from playing airsoft.

Whether it be on the field playing and working together to complete a certain objective, or off of the field talking about different aspects of the sports.

One aspect that draws Talae into the realm of airsoft is meeting new people, and being in an inclusive environment.

“After every game, you talk to [players] and you can make a lot of new friends, and the people that work there are very nice too,” Talae said.

Mele also enjoys teaching younger and newer players about the sport. She frequently helps the new players understand gun safety and the ins and outs of airsofting.

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