“You don’t know this yet, but you’re a really good shooter.”
These were the first words I heard as soon as my squad and I finished our round of super sporting today at the Diamond Classic. My squadmate Aly, a nice older man from Brownsville, said those words to me despite the fact that I shot a 62/100.
I was on a 3 person squad so we had a nice quick pace to our round. We started on station 1; which is always a treat because you end at the last station. I was first up and I shot a big fat 0. Talk about a way to kick off your round! I don’t really know what happened, a lot of shooters will usually come up with a long list of excuses for misses so here’s mine.
I stepped out of the shooter position with a 0 on my first station, and a big smile. I am not 100% sure why I smile in situations when others would have any other expression besides a smile, but I have done it since I was a kid. Maybe it’s how I cope with awkwardness within me. There were a number of emotions and thoughts racing through my mind as I stepped out of the “cage” but the first one was actually gratitude. Well maybe it was the second one, I might have been a little in shock, but I immediately redirected the negative thoughts to gratitude. I was grateful to be spending my Thursday morning shooting a tournament with amazing targets and good people instead of sitting in an office counting down the minutes until “quitting time.”
I texted my best friend and told him what had happened. I asked him to come watch me shoot my next station. I knew that if I had him there I would experience a level of comfort that would hopefully help me get focused. I also texted another good friend and asked for prayers.
When he showed up, he suggested I change my chokes to something more open since the targets really weren’t that far away. While my squad was viewing the next set of targets, he changed my chokes to IC/IC. The difference in constriction between Mod and IC is .01 which doesn’t sound like a lot but it makes a difference. I missed 2 targets on the next station and continued to shoot well. I would have moments of brilliance and then just (insert woman shrugging emoji)…
My mood continued to improve as I continued to shoot well and then towards the end of my round I started missing more than I felt I should have. I know that I have a lot to work on and my mental game needs practice too. Based on this I could be confused by what Aly said. Instead I was inspired to dream big. What would happen if I started believing it? I wonder how many other things I don’t know about myself yet? I feel like that is how life works, you don’t know what you’re capable of until you go through the trials, until you push yourself past some limit you had and reach a new limit.
Everyday we go through our lives just doing the best we can but I find that I am very hard on myself. I show all my friends grace and mercy and my son all the forgiveness in the world. But when it comes to showing myself grace and mercy, it’s like I’m on a totally different grading scale. I used to be a little hard on myself when I shot poorly and it would last the rest of the round. Like today, when I shot a 0 there was a tiny part of me that wanted to just quit, I might have even told myself in my head, “what are you even doing here?” But when I changed my perspective to being grateful for the opportunity to be there, I was able to recover.
I am still learning every single time I go out to shoot and I doubt I will ever stop learning. Every day is a learning opportunity and the conversation you have with yourself will dictate how you live your life and whether you learn and grow from an experience or you get stagnant. Little by little I have chosen to be nicer to myself and others. I have learned to realize that no matter what is going on, as long as I am still alive I have a chance to change something, anything, everything.
For more information on chokes, check out briley.com they have a ton of information.
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.