Over fifty shooters signed up to shoot at a club match at a range which just happens to be one of the best "action shooting" clubs in the country; many of them drove upwards of 100 miles to be there despite the dismal weather.
Perfect shooting weather! No rain, no snow, and the wind wasn't blowing targets down. I had three shirts and a heavy parka, and a couple hundred rounds of 10mm ammunition for my STI Edge. (Some of the ammo I had scrounged from various unmarked tubs scattered around my house ... it might even still be good!)
I ran into WhiteFish, who was filling out a squad roster; I asked him to put my name in there along with Bob, who was shooting revolver today. I was glad he wasn't shooting his antique Chinese Norinco 1911 ... he kicks my ass with that dilapidated P.O.S. and I didn't need another lesson in humility from him.(I suspect he still beat me, regardless of what gun he shoots.) WhiteFish had another new open gun, and another huge collection of stories to relate. I was confident that even if I didn't shoot well (which was a self-fullfilling prophecy), it would not be a boring day.
Four of my five students from last weekend's "Introduction to USPSA" class were there, too. Two of the three Fire Department members were there ... don't know what happened to Doug. As it happened, they had already signed up for bigger squads, so I was confident that they would do just fine without me hovering over them like a mother hen. I could just relax and enjoy myself ... which I did.
My only disappointment was when one of the 'premium' batches of ammunition gave me a jam when loading my magazine under the clock on the Classifier stage. That turned an 8 second 7-round stage into an 11 or 12 second fiasco, but at least I didn't get any mikes nor did I hit either of the two overlapping no-shoot targets; I decided to claim that I was sandbagging so I wouldn't lose my B-class rating. (As If!) Nobody even mentioned it. Well, they had watched me get mikes on about half of the stages, so it probably didn't surprise them that I had run into some kind of difficulty.
A couple of guys in the squad following ours commented on the huge quantities of 10mm brass they found on the stages. No, they didn't pick it up; they did, however, take great glee in relating how they could always tell I was on the range when they had to wade through the piles of brass. I had actually made an effort to pick up my own brass, but I couldn't find more than a few pieces here and there. I decided that what they were finding was the brass which kicked over the berm into the bay I had been in the previous stage.
One of the guys in our squad was a student in the 3-months-earlier Intro to USPSA class. This was his fourth match. He came over to chat with me toward the end of the match, and said: "You know, every match the adrenalin rush just gets bigger!"
I know exactly what he means. I've been shooting IPSC for almost 30 years, and that has been my experience, as well. I pretty much quit worrying about being "competitive" a few years ago, when I lost my shooting partner. I've gone from shooting up to 30 matches a year (usually including a few Level III matches) to less than a dozen. I'm there for the congenial company, the exercise, the fresh air, the chance to shoot as fast as I can and hope I got some kind of hits on most of the shots .... which I guess has turned a match from a "sport" to a "social event".
But the rush ... ah, yes. When I lose the rush I'll hang up my guns and just stay home on Saturdays.
That's the day when I start dying.
In a couple of weeks I'll celebrate my 68th birthday. Actually, today was my birthday gift to me.