Every year, Greater Houston Sports Club hosts the Diamond Classic Sporting Clays Tournament. Notorious for its challenging target presentations and first class facilities and management, it is easily my favorite tournament of the year. Why is it my favorite? Because they give out "diamond" paper weights as trophies, duh... When I first started shooting I met this super cool guy named Brad Kidd Jr. He has a son who's about a year younger than my son Lawson and we became good friends and play date buddies. We would go shoot sometimes and hang out at his house with the kids. The first time I walked into his house I saw something that will forever be engrained in my mind. There at the center of his living space was a floor to ceiling, two story built in bookshelf filled with trophies. On almost every shelf I saw "diamonds" of varying sizes from the palm of your hand, all the way up to the size of a small melon. As my jaw recovered from its journey to the floor I was able to mask the giddiness in my voice when I asked him "Where did you get those?" That was the first time I heard about the Diamond Classic. In that moment I knew that I was going to win one.
I won my first (and only as of today) Diamond. It was 2019, Sub Gauge D Class 3rd. I cried when I found out I had won it. It was my first Diamond and it was the first definable goal that I had ever placed on myself with shooting. I then went on to win D Class Lady 1st at Nationals a few weeks later. I was on fire that year. Why in particular you might ask? Well, that year I was fresh from a divorce which turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened for me. I had lost some extra weight on the breakup diet, I had been going to yoga at least 4 times a week, but most importantly of all, I had been practicing regularly. By regularly I mean at least 1-3 times per week most of the time. This recipe for success is not actually a recipe more like a summary of my emotional, physical, and technical wellbeing.
As I went into this years Diamond Classic I had made the decision to not shoot the main event consisting of 200 sporting clays targets. Considering I had only practiced 4 times since my last competition, it seemed prudent to focus my energy on FITASC (as it has become my new passion,) and the super sporting and sub gauge events. I was served a big slice of humble pie with the FITASC event. The targets were, to put it simply, hard. I shot on a squad with a very good friend of mine and very good shooter, Michael Maskell. He's been to the Olympics 5 times as a skeet shooter for the lovely island country of Barbados. Michale shot an 87 and he fought hard for every one of those 87 targets. The winner shot a 91, second place was an 88, and 4 of the best shooters in the country, arguably the world, also shot 87s. I shot a 46. I broke less than 50% of the targets and I feel great about every single of those breaks. There may have been 10 targets that I could have and should have hit if I wasn't so..... whatever is going on with my mental game, that. Even if I had hit those 10 targets, I would have shot a 56. That would have been shooting to the best of my ability. This is why the should call it the Humble Classic. Coincidentally, 4 of the best female shooters in the country tied for 2nd place Ladies, with an 80.
The tournament was not a complete bust however. I earned the best score card of my shooting journey thus far with an 80 on my 20 gauge event. It was Saturday around 12pm when I started the round. There may have been about 5 squads on the whole course so I was able to blow through the entire round in about an hour and 10 minutes. I usually practice by myself because my dear friend and previous training partner, Michelle Miles (the mother of Brad's 2 children with 1 on the way), moved to Florida in 2018 to be closer to Brad's family. When I practice by myself, I go through about 100 shells in 45 minutes. I enjoy the quick pace. It is challenging for me to stay focused for 2 and a half hours, as is customary for a round of sporting clays. When I showed up this morning to shoot my 410 and 28 gauge events, the course was only a little busier. I thought to myself, certainly these will go quickly and I will experience the same level of success as the day before as this was my explanation for why I shot 20 gauge so well the day before. I did not.
I don't know why sometimes I shoot lights out, and sometimes I break less than 50% of the targets. In this case I am not including the Diamond Classic in my train of thought since it is just on a different level. The Diamond Classic is a perfect example of why the score itself doesn't mean as much as how you feel you did after the round. I have shot in the Diamond Classic since 2016 (except for 2018) and every year I realize that I have so much more to learn about target shooting, about mental game, and about humility.
I was 6 targets away from winning a Diamond this year. It would have been for Sub Gauge Lady 1st. I shall have to wait a whole year before a shot at another Diamond. 💎 Am I sad? Not really. Am I going to be discouraged my by scores? Absolutely not. I could have spent this week doing any number of other things but I chose to come shoot at this tournament. Knowing full well that I would have to work hard if I wanted any chance at a Diamond. It didn't work out and that is okay with me.
I am grateful for the opportunity to shoot in the Diamond Classic at all. I am grateful for the good weather and the fact that I didn't get rained on the entire week (plenty of others did) despite the constant threading clouds in the sky during almost every event I shot. Most of all I am grateful to just be alive. At the end of the day this is just a game that I love to play and trophies are just shelf ornaments. What really matters is how I feel when I walk out of a station. Though I didn't hit every target I felt I should have, I chose to walk away from almost every station with a smile and a grateful heart posture. Life is good. God is good.
Looking forward to the next one!
I am a mother, an esthetician, a competitive sporting clays shooter, a shooting instructor, a writer, and above all a child of God with lots of life experience to share. I love living life in the most authentic way, being grateful for the good and the bad.