Monday, September 12, 2005

The Gun

Jill is abhorrent to guns.

She can’t even say the word gun.

She refers to the gun as “your thing.”

“Your thing is showing” she says. “It’s sticking out from underneath the bed.”

At least Thelma (from Thelma & Louise) would pick up the gun like a dead rat by the tail.

Jill cannot even bring herself to be in the same room if it is unsheathed.

When Jill was a child she had a neighborhood friend that was killed while playing with a gun. It made a lasting impact with her.

When we first got married I had purchased a .45 for home defense. Over the years it sat in storage, shot only on rare occasions.

As soon as Aimee was born I field stripped it and locked it up. There was no chance of an accident. Even if the child was able to reassemble the weapon back to firing condition I kept the ammo locked up in a separate place. Although a daughter of an ex paratrooper she lacked the dexterity, knowledge or height to get herself into trouble.

When we moved to Sacramento I was fortunate to meet a world-class skeet shooter and trainer. On my first day of shooting I found out that I was pretty good…better than average. I asked the trainer who stated that I was the third best person that he had ever seen shoot on the fist time out. So I ask who was number one and number two.

Number two was the National Skeet Shooters Association 12 gauge champion back in the mid ‘80s

Number one was a member of the Olympic team.

Immediately I began to have Olympic size daydreams.

The reality of it was that I was an incredibly good shooter with some raw talent, but not really world class. I’ve had a year of informal training and my ability runs from incredibly average to spot on. On average I shoot a 23, but when I get tired or my timing is off I can often watch my scores plummet.

Last June after a long stint of not shooting I shot a perfect 25 on my birthday. I shoot infrequently. Between school, work, the family and the cost of crates of ammo I do not get to get out as often as I would like.

When I am out there on the field I try to shoot with the pros. I can usually spot them and I try to fit my way on the line up.

A couple of weeks ago I was out there with the 2003 Georgia State .410 gauge champion. He shot a perfect 25 I shot a 23.
I made the comment that “ I try to make it a point to shoot with professionals so that I can get better.” Secretly inside I want to know that I rate, that I can hang with them. Most times I do. Billy then told me, “hang on, let me get you a real champion.” From around the cinderblock wall he returned with a teenager – a kid in his mid-teens. But on his vest was a patch that read, “USA NSSA All-American Team.”

At that point we all lined up and started the counter-clockwise movement on the field. I wasn’t nervous, I just didn’t want to be out there with a miserable performance amongst the best. At the end of it all the All-American kid shot 25, Billy 24 and I came in with 23…not too bad.

Now if I could only get out there with the Olympic team to see how I would fair.

I sold the .45 back in 2002 and used the money to get a custom case for the shotgun. Both the case and gun are a site to behold.

A special thanks to Harv Holcomb for working with me for over a year and showing me how to shoot and a great big thanks to Kenn Salmon for believing in me and helping me get a competition-worthy gun.

Skeet shooting is something I know that I will do for the rest of my life.


Kenn said...

Oh great! Now Jill knows who helped you get the gun. I’ll never be able to go to Arizona again. Oh sure, Thanks a lot

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