When we participate in a process and don’t like the results, good sportsmanship says to try again. We assess our performances, identify weaknesses, work out a plan for the future that next time around might produce more favorable outcomes. Sometimes, the failures are totally shocking; but oftentimes the best lessons come from these experiences. I lost 70 points at the Nationals one year due not to my marksmanship with the pistol, but due to shoddy scorecard tallying. Wow. The shooter next to me, as per procedure, scored my target. I reviewed his scoring and did not sign the card. Whatever rushed that shooter, he added my numbers incorrectly. He amended my card and I signed. However, I STILL messed myself up by not double checking his recount; he still committed to erroneous math. I did not realize this monstrous oversight until the official scores were posted. I trusted he took care of his error. I fetched my targets, the referees looked up my score card: yes, I shot 70 points more than what I signed. But, the rules stood. I signed a bad card. I would have won the Nationals that year, but for not paying attention to the math error of another person.
I did not quit, I did not riot. I did not burn, maim, threaten. I think I did some whining, I know I pouted, but not for long. I was up next for my service gun events. My anger at myself pinpointed my focus and I set a national record that year in the service auto event with a gun I’d never even fired before. Now paying full attention my focus never shifted. I knew how to fully participate, this time with complete success, down to recounting the score card before signing. This year’s Presidential election reminded me of this long ago 2002 Nationals event. Of this Presidential election, did I participate? Did I vote? Did I try? That is all any over 18 years of age, registered American voter can do: participate in the process. Make your choice count by casting your ballot. Then shut up about it. Go live your life and be a good sport about it. This is America. We’ll be doing this again in another four years.