Apparently, I have started my own series – of thoughts 🙂
It just dawned on me – I had this thought at the back of my mind for months, I even wrote once something along the lines of this idea… when suddenly the idea became crystal clear in my mind and I had this urge to share it with everyone that might read about trapshooting on our website.
Trapshooting is the only sport I know of (you’re welcome to leave comments with other sports where this is happening) where you will have multiple generations of athletes all competing together. As parents and grandparents, we might want to have our children competing in one sport or another – and trapshooting is the only one where Dad & Son (Mom & Son, Mom & Daughter, etc.) can compete together. Yes, we have the Categories – and I believe it’s for the adult’s own good as well as for the younger / older generations: we encourage different generations (and Ladies for that matter) to keep competing. But at the end of the day, we had different generations of people competing together. We are not bound by the age rule, we are not even bound by the physical rule that much (we have the Wheelchair category, and we all know of people with different physical disabilities who are still able to compete).
And what is so revolutionary about finally getting the idea, you’ll say?
I am not sure revolutionary is the right term – but whatever the term will be the answer is: opportunity!
It means you are not required to start at 4 or 6 (where most of the top athletes have started their training) – you can pick this sport up whenever life gives you the opportunity. And you’ll be as likely to win as any other trapshooter, providing you have the right attitude, of course. It means that we, as parents, can bring our children along and teach them this wonderful sport, and then we’ll have the opportunity to enjoy it together. It can also mean that if our kids are in the sport we can come along at any time and start learning. How many parents will pick up hockey along with their 7-9-15-year-olds? Even if they do – it will mean different leagues, different ice rink times, different everything. Enter trapshooting: voila! We have parents and children coming together at the range, and enjoying a few hours of clay breaking! At the same time, on the same range, with the same targets…
It opens an entirely whole range of opportunities: because it’s not a physically intensive sport (all you need is to be able to swing your shotgun), it’s more of a mind game. You need proper instruction to start so that you can fully enjoy it and to perfect its technicalities. And from there on – it’s you and your targets. Nothing will ever stand between you and your targets: neither your age nor your physical abilities. Eyesight may give one past a certain age a little grief, but that can be usually corrected; there are some good optometrists out there (although very few that will take the time to understand your specific needs).
Not being a physical sport means we are not bound by age (which usually drives all the physical differences in the world) or by gender – it also means we can start in our late 40s, 50s, 60s and still be the Grand Champions. Now show me an NHL player over 40 that can still be as competitive as a young 20-something. Our beloved Maple Leafs had the oldest average age between the NHL teams and we all know what good that did to it. Not only that – but show me an aspiring NHL player that decided at 35 he’d like to play in the NHL, then started training and made it there by 40.
We can argue that NHL is a professional league and that there is tons of sifting to go through before you get to a top team. And we can argue that Categories in ATA have, in fact, the same effect as different leagues in other sports would. But none of these arguments will negate what we have in trapshooting: the awesome opportunity to compete along with the top players, the unbelievable opportunity to compete along with all generations and genders. Which is exactly what gives trapshooting its magic: the ability to learn from the experts and to pick up the wisdom of all generations? Everybody knows you play better when you have a Gretzky in your team. Why? Because you’ll learn from his game – and you’ll learn without visible effort, just being around him.
And that’s the opportunity trapshooting provides, that’s the ‘magic’. That’s what makes it a perfect family gathering, a perfect family common hobby. That’s what will keep trapshooting alive – the dream of a 6-year-old to someday compete in the Olympics and the dream of his parents to someday compete in the Olympics. Susan Nattrass was 56 last year when she competed for the last time in the Olympics. She started 30-some years ago with ATA trap and she went after that into the Olympic track. She is Canada’s best-known trapshooter athlete. And makes everyone’s dream somehow attainable. All you need is the opportunity and the passion. The rest – it will be, one day, history!
Until then – we have our own Provincial Championship this coming weekend. To all our LTS athletes competing: good luck and remember: it’s the journey, not the destination! To all LTS athletes not competing this year: come out and cheer for your friends, come out and enjoy the show!
To all our friends: we hope to see you on the range, at Hamilton Gun Club – Friday, July 31st to Monday, August 3rd. It will be a weekend full of fun and we will all enjoy our time there.
And to everyone: it’s really simple: See, Smooth, Smoke… ONE! Just that next one, that’s all!