One of the lamentable things about being a solitary devotee to a god is actually having to do many things alone. Humans are social animals, and sometimes it takes the motivation others provide to even get up in the morning, let alone worship. Lucky for me, I’ve come up with a fun, social way to honor Ares in a way anyone can participate.
One way I’ve come up with to honor Ares is to embrace His (and my) martial spirit through the sport of airsoft. The sport is similar to paintball; using a weapon that fires small plastic bb’s, you get together with friends and shoot the crap out of each other with varying degrees of rules/discipline. BB’s don’t (usually) leave any mark on the body, hence the sport requires a great deal of honesty and honor when dealing with who is “dead”. I plan on following rules similar to the Scottish group Players of War, but personally I’d rather go with more recent scenarios than WWII. While I go all out, airsoft is a rather inexpensive sport (as little as $50 for a cheap weapon and some ammunition) to play, and due to the physical demands, helps keep the waistline down. It’s also a great way to teach weapon discipline and safety to younger people, who have grown up with a rather distorted view of what guns are and can do.
I chose to honor Ares in this way because Ares is a god of war. It was common practice to dedicate glorious victory and weapons to Him, among other gods. The sport is also a great way to teach someone the beauty and thrill of war without putting anyone’s life at risk. Understanding this martial spirit is a way to understand Ares, and is an essential part of coming to terms with Ares’ role in the world. Because airsoft is usually a team sport, it’s also a way I can practice my religion with other people (after a fashion) who wouldn’t otherwise be interested. It definitely makes for a fantastic agon among friends, the perfect blend of skill, art, and effort. Get out there and try it, and Hail Ares!