In the February 2004 issue of Sporting Clays, Randy Lawrence wrote a superb article titled Respect For The Game. This insightful, gritty piece poses some soul-searching questions to those of us who partake of the wing and clay sports—inspire their traditions—shape our future. Sometimes a message is so important, and so well stated, it bears repeating. This is one of those times. I hope Randy will look kindly on my comments and pray that my remarks will do justice to the bulls-eye relevance of Randy’s observations.
Randy said, “Respecting yourself means that whether you succeed or fail, you’ve given yourself the best chance, doing things the right way.”
With the 8 AM flight underway we’re on deck at field 3. Frustration emanating from every pore, the shooter steps up and loads two shells. He swipes at the mini and searches in vain for the second target. Lost, lost, followed by 0XX0. Stepping back, he turns to the scorekeeper and points accusingly at the menu. It says midi, not mini. The busy scorekeeper apologizes profusely for the error, but also points out politely that the shooter had declined the invitation to see the show pair.
There’d been ample time and opportunity to view the presentation and ask questions. Truth is, the missing had little to do with the menu and was more about his utter failure to respect the very game of sporting itself.
Wincing after a miss or a disappointing performance is a very natural response to our discontent with ourselves, a constructive venting process. But it doesn’t include behavior that shuns every sliver of accountability—preaching about course inadequacies and dispensing blame in every direction.
As day two of the four-day tournament came to a close, a shooter approached me to share all that had gone wrong on the tournament grounds. The presentations were not very imaginative; the scorekeepers were curt and unprofessional; stations were too far apart and the whole general atmosphere of the tournament was generally unpleasant. When I inquired about his shooting over the past two days, his response clearly illuminated the underlying force behind the rant……..
This Sporting Clays Article was previously published in Sporting Clays Magazine by Dan Schindler in February 2004.
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Sporting clays continues to be an elegant sport born of long tradition, fulfilling our wingshooting passion to experience the wing and shot. Feather and clay, inescapably tied, grants us so many learning opportunities to hone our skills, a path of personal growth that affords us a refreshing, unbiased look at ourselves. Time and again, my students have learned how entirely more capable they are than once thought. The American sporting clays shooter can honestly and proudly say, in a very short period, he has indeed advanced to take his rightful place among the best in the world. And, let’s not forget, no one is having more fun out here than you and I are.
The events, times, places and persons in my articles are all true. While I changed a name here and there, 100% of the information came from my experiences with you. Each tournament, each lesson, each experience with you generated the material for my work. I am grateful.
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