After an extremely tiresome week (the first LTS camp and 2 BIG 50 shoots) we gathered again in Cookstown, next to the model airplanes and (a new addition to the mix) some parachutes. This time weather was more gentle (although I wouldn’t say it was a summer day, more like spring; and it’s middle of July!), and the team even bigger.

We had 2 full squads for singles – with Matthew competing for the first time in Ontario (thank you, Alireza for watching him closely – literarily) and a very brand new member of the Senior’s Team: Sacha – Welcome to the team, Sacha! And welcome to the team Alex as well! I know he’s sulking he couldn’t make it this weekend, but I also know he’ll probably tie Mike up when he returns home and come with us next time 🙂 Mike, you’ve been forewarned!

This time I found a solution for not ambushing the nice gentlemen at classification / squadding and all went smoother than a smoothie: positions were handed out in no time, and everyone stood in line to get their cards swiped and their money happily “invested”… life as a trapshooter 🙂

As soon as we all had our stubs in the pocket we went outside to watch the targets and wait for our squads to start – and the LTS crowd being larger than ever before time passed quickly with lots of stories (meant to tease or encourage the newcomers; although I am sure some stories might have discouraged some 🙂 – time will tell). We shot singles on the last 2 traps – and if any of our students wonder what had happened with their scores on the second trap – stop wondering. You did nothing wrong! It’s the actual trap that made it extremely hard for one to shoot targets. The reason: because of firearms regulations, Toronto Club management had to actually physically rotate the trap house towards the left while the concrete pads were left intact. As we know from the handicap event – an event a few degrees at the trap house make a lot of difference out there, at the target. That being said – as I explained a few times already, harder conditions made the human brain be more disciplined: you know you have to pay more attention, you know you have to “behave yourself”… and that’s how you smoke more targets! When all conditions are perfect one tends to let down the guard and think ‘oh, this is easy!’ and that’s when the ‘oops’ moments occur.

Anyhow – I was impressed by all our team members; smoke after smoke and targets disappearing in little black puffs… at one point I was actually happily laughing with Frank which made it interesting for us to mind our own targets. But we did! And I watched the other team – they were having as much fun as possible (on the exact same 2 traps). Some interesting competitions arose on the spot – it still amazes me how these young minds find a way to compete over any single thing that’s crossing their way… But, please, always remember to keep the fun in!

Although the shoot was supposed to be a small one (with most of the top shooters being away to Cicero, NY for the NY State Championship) we somehow managed to get to 15 squads of singles. Luckily for us, Steve opened the third bank and so time-wise we finished shooting earlier than last time!

Handicap went by with another first 25 straight – this time from Chloe who managed to step exactly in my footprints. My first year of competition, at the exact same shoot (July 16th was the exact date in 2006 and I know because I took the accomplishment as a gift for our Canada anniversary; we arrived in Canada on July 15th a few years back) I ran my first 25 straight ever in handicap, to finish with a score of 89. What did Chloe do? She ran her very first ever 25 straight in handicap, to finish with a score of… you guessed it, right?! 89!

Add to that Alireza’s first 25 straight (in singles), Anthony’s first 50 straight (to a very nice score of 99), Garret’s almost 25 (his eyes followed one of the parachutes instead of the orange dome), and now we have quite a few hats to shoot at! Not too shabby for a team that started to train (with the exception of our young “veteran” Anthony) just a few months back!

Congratulations Garret, Phil, Alireza, Anthony, and Chloe! Looking forward to the hat ceremony during the LTS Summer Games on August 29! 🙂

The morale of today’s story? Enthusiasm and dedication, discipline and attention to detail, listening to the coach, and, last but not least, how well we keep the fun in the game makes it all possible. I’ll let everyone enjoy their successes. Bask in your happiness and coat yourself with it.

For all of you – come and shoot the BIG 50s this week – Tuesday and Thursday (July 14/16). It’s a nice way to gain experience in the comfortable settings of Hamilton GC.

And, of course, enjoy the summer and enjoy your targets! Smoke them all!


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