The day we forget our first match is the day we succumb to all match jitters as if we never competed before. Therefore, reminiscing upon our early experiences offers positive reminders of how far we have come as well as setting the stage for each of our today’s matches. I first entered competition at Fish Canyon in Duarte, CA back in the mid-90’s. Run by a local gunsmith, these matches began my PPC career. I learned the drills, the rules, and to show up on time. I learned how to score targets and I learned shooters are some of the most sharing, supportive, friendly people I could ever hope to know. Every competitor became my role model in one way or another. Although I cannot compete anymore due to multiple work related injuries, I still love forms of competition. Last year, I enjoyed Toastmasters, a public speaking club. I completed a one year commitment to my involvement, entering speech competitions and even winning a couple of them. My hesitancy to continue came from the rules of the competitions not being clearly spelled out. I liked PPC for the clear cut rules. I could not find this in Toastmasters, so I finished my year and called it a day. Still looking for that challenge in my life that competition offers, I turned to my dog training. I always wanted to certify my dog to then take him to hospitals, libraries, and such, so now seemed the time to follow through. Life always lives better with caninely contact! Historically, my dog responded to body language and hand signals. I found that verbal commands could easily turn into screaming matches. My 75 pound, 4 wheel drive, Labrador retriever tested me continually. So, we started school and I learned how to talk to my dog. And he listened. hmmmm. Progressing, we tested recently for Therapy Dogs International and I found myself all wound up just like old time match jitters. So, I began to breathe and think about what I needed to do. I could control what I was going to do, I could not control what my dog would decide to do. When I focused on the basics of leading the dog through his exercises, I remembered what the evaluations, the drills, the match, was all about: having fun! I breathed, I lightened up, I focused on the instructed exercise at hand and we made it! I now have a certified therapy dog. Stay tuned for more adventures. The competitive heart never dies.
NRA Firearms Instructor – Nancy Rothschild
What Nancy’s Reading
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