Well – here we are, at the very end of the 2009 competition season. 2010 will start in exactly 2 days (on Tuesday, September 1st).

We had a wonderful time in Marengo, OH. The weather was kind of cooperating and I was lucky enough to finish one of the days just 2 minutes before a pouring rain with great lightning came over.

Besides weather – everything else was wonderful: we met a few friends from last year that we had missed during the Pennsylvania state shoot, we had lots of fun competing, and we had a great time using the bunker traps. Unfortunately, it took me until the very last day to get back into International form, but I was really happy I remembered everything coach taught me last year (yes, it has been that long since I shot bunker). You know how it is – now I only have to practice some more

The actual competition – Cardinal Classic – was absolutely great: excellent organization, nice people, good scorers, and trap helpers, and amazing attendance. The shoot was up 23% from last year and gained 6 point recognition in just 4 years. That is in itself a great accomplishment and both Mr. Fishburn and Ohio Trap Association should be congratulated.

And what did the LTS teams and students do? What they have learned from the coach: they had fun, they enjoyed their targets and they had better scores than before. It is something that only after you attend such a big competition you can fully understand: good competition makes better athletes. The better your ‘opponents’, the better you’ll become.

And that’s how I believe everyone shot their best to-date score, that’s how my competition average was the highest for this year, and that’s (just one of the reasons) why we’ll come back given a chance. I, for one, had lots of fun – I managed above-average scores in all 3 specialties, I actually managed some good results in handicap – and I now feel confident that I am on the right track with my handicap (my biggest struggle for the year). I finally understood (as you all know from my Provincials’ blog) what I was doing wrong and – what else is new? – all I need to do is remember before each event that I need to be patient. Yeah, patience is the name of my Nemesis.

I was fortunate enough to be in the same squad with very nice people I shot before – and in one of the events, it helped a lot. The Ball cousins are a pleasure to shoot with – they bring such happiness to the range.

And that’s my lesson for the competition: be happy. If not for you, then for the others around you. Happiness and joy are contagious. Unfortunately so is grumpiness – and the only way to counter-act is with lots of laughter and joy.

All in all – we had fun. We had to manage the Buckeye’s Olympic bunker in the morning and evening, and we had the traps for ourselves 2 full days before and after the competition. We met even more people that way and we shot with some of the juniors from the National team. We made new friends and we had the pleasure of spending time with lots and lots of people. And that’s the beauty of this sport: the community. The larger the community, the better will be for the sport’s associations and for the athletes themselves.

I am so happy to see the many young people competing down there and I have high hopes for the number of young people that will compete up here as well.

Thank you to all our sponsors and supporters – we made it such a successful year with your help and encouragement!!

Thank you to all our athletes – your dedication was amazing and your hard work was humbling!

Thank you to all the parents – through your efforts we have a huge number of young trap-shooters eager to go out and compete.

And not last – thank you to our Head Coach, Florin. His efforts and dedication brought many sleepless nights, but nothing can make him happier than seeing his athletes performing so wonderful (competition or not). And, to crown it all – he received a wonderful recognition from our governing body, ATA: he is the recipient of the 2009 ATA Shooting Coach of the Year.

Congratulations to each and every single person that made this year such a success! Thank you all!


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