First Place!

Win some, lose some.

I’ve done my share of the latter shooting against some of the best in the country. Indeed, in the beginning I would go home after the Tuesday evening match at the Phoenix Rod and Gun Club and “brag” that I came in sixth, but conveniently leave out the fact that there were only six shooters.

But an email arrived today that changed all that.

While it’s true that practice makes perfect, it is usually only by a series of very small increments and improvements that can be difficult to see. But, then again, sometimes it all comes together when it counts.

As an example of the ups and downs that make the slope of the line of improvements hard to see, in the Desert Midwinter competition in Phoenix this past February I shot slightly worse than average in the hardball 900 on the first day of the competition. Then in the 22 event that followed on the next day, I shot an above average score. But the next day was below average in CF, and then on the last day I was again above average with the 45.

Back and forth. Some good targets, some not so good.

But, with all that shooting over those four days, I guess it all came together for the EIC leg match because although I didn’t win any leg points – I came in eighth while only the top three were awarded points – I did shoot very well, exceptionally well I could say. It was decidedly my best ever ball gun score, 252-4.

I was absolutely thrilled and had to re-add the scores several times before I could believe it. (Some really good “white box” ammunition, a gift from John Zurek, played a big part, too. Thank you, John!)

I smiled for days before the thrill faded completely away.

And now, more than two months later, things have returned to normal. I’ve shot a couple of matches in Phoenix, another outside of Atlanta, and am looking forward to Tuesday night’s league in Phoenix and seeing everyone again.

Then today, via email from the CMP, the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the icing for that semi-forgotten cake arrived.

No, they didn’t recompute and award me leg points. I didn’t shoot that well.

But they did calculate the “Handicap” match which basically ranks shooters on their improvement over past few EIC Leg Matches.

And, of the 30 shooters in that match in Phoenix, I took First Place; that is, I was the single most improved shooter in that competition!

Results of all EIC matches for Desert Midwinter, handicap or otherwise, are available here.

To celebrate, and since I’m on a business trip in Cambridge MA this week, I took the MBTA (as in “Charley and the MTA”) to the Haymarket station and walked into the North End, chose a restaurant at random, and treated myself to a fabulous dinner with a glass of a very nice Italian Pino Grigio, shrimp risotto with asparagus, tiramisu and, of course, a cup of wonderfully bitter espresso.

Life is good.

Ciao, baby!

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