As you journey through your trapshooting adventures you’ll meet lots of people. From my personal point of view, this is the best part of trapshooting: the community and the tons of friends you end up with.
Most of the people you’ll meet are amazing ones. You’ll find the odd one from time to time, you’ll most likely find some of the grumpy ones (note: the better you shoot the grumpier some become); but I believe on average the trap shooters are extremely nice people. And I mean EXTREMELY!
As you meet people, make sure you are not prejudiced. It is probably the easiest attitude: to fit someone in a category, to stamp them with a label, based on a lot of circumstances that might or might not reflect reality. So try hard to keep your mind open.
The main observation I made over time is that shy people pass as arrogant people. And I understand very well (because I am shy, believe it or not) how that might happen: they don’t know how to approach strangers, so they keep to themselves… and suddenly people think they don’t want to talk to them. And what’s the easiest reason to put behind? Of course, they don’t want to talk to you because they feel superior. Well… that says a lot about how you feel (remember Eleanor Roosevelt’s “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent”…). But nonetheless, here you are, labeling someone as arrogant just because it didn’t return your ‘hello’.
It is hard not to take everything personally, another feeling/attitude I understand very well. But if XYZ didn’t smile back to you when you met on the range in the morning it’s most likely because he/she was
- preoccupied with the next event
- preoccupied with some personal problems
- preoccupied with some business problems
- worried about the weather
… so just relax… don’t judge a person by the first meeting… or the second meeting… or… even better: don’t judge it at all!
Over these past few years, I have been pleasantly surprised by some people and I have been less than pleasantly surprised by others. In the first case – I judged people and thought they were grumpy or too competitive or too arrogant to talk to a newcomer as I was. In most of the cases, I found out they were simply preoccupied or, in some cases, they were simply waiting to see if I am serious about the sport or not. In the second case – we all have our own negative experiences and we all must deal with them. Enough to say that I believe the positive experiences are exceeding the number of the negative ones. The balance is always tipped in favor of positive. At least for me.
Another personal observation: The main reason some people are grumpy is a (mistaken if you ask me) perception that getting friendly with your competitors will take the edge of your excellence. I am not arguing the idea; I just feel that life is hard enough and short enough to fill it with unknown enemies when you can fill it just the same with as many friendly faces. And, besides, being the energy ‘magnet’ I am I would rather surround myself with positive emotions – starting with my own.
And that’s why I keep the memories of each shoot as a combination of performance, results, and emotions, in more or less the same parts. I believe that emotions impact performance which, in turn, impacts results. It’s kind of a golden triangle and getting on the negative side of the emotions will have a huge reflection on both performance and results.
And that’s why I prefer to see each trapshooter I meet as a friend (until they prove differently, at least).
And that’s exactly why I feel the community as a family. I feel lucky to have an extra family – my trapshooting family. I feel privileged to share my “adoptive” family with my real family. I feel honored to count in my extra-family amazing people.
I can only hope I will always make them proud and I will always be worthy of their friendship.
And I am amazingly glad I will meet some of them soon, in Ohio. And not any – but the best: William’s ‘other Mom’ (Gen) and older ‘brother’ (Cody). We have not worked out the translation of these relationships beyond William, we are just happy to count them as our good friends from down south.