Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Those who can, do; those who cannot, teach

For the past eight years, I have been the instructor at my local club in a program of "Introduction to USPSA".  It was an opportunity to introduce new shooters to USPSA competition (which I have been active in since 1983), and gave me something to look forward to in every month.

I kept telling myself that I was donating my time as a way of "giving back to the sport".   In truth, since my eyesight has degraded over the years, it was a way of keeping my hand in it, since I was no longer able to see well enough to be competitive.

But last month, I slept through the beginning of my class.  I had to phone the range and tell them that I was unable to attend.

That was a personal disappointment to me, not only because I had several students who wondered where I was, but because it was one of the best parts of my month.   And I slept through it!

The club thought I was "giving back to the sport";  while I enjoyed meeting new shooters and sharing the insights of rules of safety which I had learned over 30+ years of Competition. I had an intrinsic interest in teaching new shooters how to be safe.  It was the best part of my month, and I always looked forward to it.

AS a consequence, I announced to my home club that I was retiring.  Because I was unable to even show up for a scheduled class, it was obvious that I was no longer competent and they should no longer schedule the class.  (I hope they found someone else to take over the class, but I haven't heard from them on that issue..)

It's disappointing to give up one of the few activities which allow me time on the range.   And it was embarrassing to read the emails from the scheduled attendees who asked me "WTF?"

But when it's time to retire ... you know it.  And I knew it.

The gun club was very understanding, and they even provided me an honorarium in the form of a gift card from WalMart.   I hadn't expected that, but it was touching to learn that they appreciated my small contribution to gun-safety at USPSA matches there.

I don't think anyone realized that I had donated eight years of once-a-month class instruction because it was the only way I could enjoy the sport in which I had participated for so many decades.  (In truth, while I was still able to compete, I wanted to ensure that the people  I was competing against had the best instruction on rules and safety ... but it it eventually became more important that I got to meet New Shooters, and none of them ever disappointed me by being an unsafe shooter!)

I'll miss the class, and the opportunity to meet new shooters.   But when your time is through, it's better to gracefully yield to the inevitable, than to fight against it.

It's all about safety, after all.


Anonymous said...

super seniors shoot for the fun of the game, but not trying to be competitive.

Jerry The Geek said...

I've been "competing" that way since 1983. But still hoping to be competitive against the other old pharts.