The Hot Pink Talisman | Competitive Shooting

competitive marksmanshipAt the gym the other day, I saw a kid (anyone under 50 years old qualifies as a kid) sporting hot pink sneakers. Most likely, no older than 25, a refreshingly regular looking guy, he wore wild shoes. No shorts to the bottom of his fanny showing his boxers, no tattoos or piercings, but the fired up shoes sure made a statement. When I shot competitively, I earned the nickname “Punkin” (Southern pronunciation of “Pumpkin”). As a gag, I was gifted a plastic Halloween trick or treat pumpkin. I carried that thing on the range like I owned the most coveted piece of equipment. I carried spare boxes of ammo in it, I filled it with spent shells as the match progressed and we policed our brass. I learned that, for me, having something about me which was completely youthful, inane and silly broke the distracting elements of stress and match jitters. Like a little kid, I could proceed with my mission to my place on the firing line- I carried my orange plastic pumpkin. Maybe this young man at the gym did not feel like exercising, but if he donned his crazy shoes, he could get himself “to the firing line” and do what he needed to do. What is your talisman?

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"I worked as a Federal Law Enforcement Officer for over 14 years, in a firearms carrying capacity. First assigned to LAX (1994), then to the Los Angeles/ Long Beach Seaport (1997-2007), I took an early retirement from my final duty station of El Paso, TX (2007-2008). Never having handled firearms prior to this job, I give full credit for my initial shooting lessons and safe firearms handling skills to the government. As I began to compete, I gleaned tips and coaching lessons from the best law enforcement instructors across the nation, turning myself into one of the best, too. I was a firearms instructor in Los Angeles and a national level competitor on a formally sponsored team from 1999 through 2003, being sent all over the nation for pistol match competitions. As a result of this gift of an experience, I went on to set five national records in the law enforcement shooting sports. Check in regularly to read about those and other adventures and misadventures!"
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