Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Still kicking

I know it's been dark around here for a while, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been exciting.  My father had a heart attack a few weeks ago (he's home now and doing ok)......two days after his heart attack my great aunt fell over dead in the bathroom.....last weekend was the Arizona SCTP trapshooting championship (more on that when I have time).....next weekend is the Arizona SCTP skeet championship......and tomorrow the kids and I start shooting in the Arizona state ATA trap championship. 
I'll be back....

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A gentlemen's sport

I've often bragged about how competitive shotgun shooting is one of the last remaining examples of a "sport of gentlemen." Yes, there is the occasional asshat, but over all people who participate in shotgun sports are high class folks. I thought I was going to be proved wrong last Saturday, but, as usual, I turned out to be correct.

Saturday was the final SCTP "fun shoot" of the year for the Arizona teams. "Fun shoots" are just that.....get everybody together and shoot for fun. Prizes and trophies are given out (that's part of the fun), but it isn't really a competition. Just fun. We had 180 kids show up at the Ben Avery Clay Target Center to shoot trap, skeet, and sporting clays. Just after lunch, one of the other coaches came to relieve me from the stand I was working with the news that a gun was missing. Not a club gun....a privately owned gun. That's bad. It turned out that the missing gun belonged to one of the kids from my program. That's worse. The gun was a Remington 11/87 12 gauge that had been a 16th birthday present and had only been fired 100 times. That's sh*tty.

I rounded up the kids who were finished shooting, and with the help of parents, other coaches, and the range staff we searched the entire grounds 3 times. No shotgun. Everyone agreed that this kind of thing just does not happen at trap and skeet clubs. The most likely explanation was that a parent had seen the gun in a rack, mistakenly identified it as belonging to his/her child, and had taken it home without first checking with the child to verify that it was the correct gun. We (the Game and Fish coordinator, the range manager, the father of the young man whose gun was missing, and I) were reasonably sure that a phone call would come in over the course of the next few days from someone with an extra shotgun, but to observe proper form and shut up the mother (she did not take it well at all) of the young man, the shotgun was reported stolen.

Two tense days went by during which I received several calls from parents and other coaches who wanted to set up a fund to replace the missing birthday gun. Finally, yesterday at about 4pm I got the call we all wanted: a person had called Ben Avery wanting to know if there was a gun missing. The overzealous parent theory was close to the truth. It turned out to be an overzealous friend who had picked up what he thought was a shotgun belonging to one of his shooting partners.

A few phone calls and a meeting in the parking lot of a McDonald's later, the gun is back home where it should be. All's well that ends well. It would have been very easy for the person who took the gun to simply leave it in the safe and not say anything, but that wouldn't have been the gentlemanly thing to do.


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