This past weekend, I had a good shoot. I had not performed as well as I had wanted at my first 2 events this year, and I was determined to get my game together. I practiced....I worked on my mindset, and I was prepared. I went to the North American FITASC with my head on straight, and full of confidence that I had done what was needed to have a good weekend.
But there were doubts of another kind in the air even before I got to the shoot. The North American FITASC was to be held at a new club, and there were concerns that the club wasn't really ready for a big tournament. On top of that, the weather wasn't looking so good.....new club( fresh earth moving) + rain= MUD. As I drove to the shoot, I was starting to get apprehensive. I was talking on the cell phone to a buddy about this, and he mentioned that like business, sometimes you can snatch victory out of a chaotic situation. That comment reminded me of a shoot earlier in my career...
It was at the Seminole Cup back in the TM Ranch days. I was shooting the main event with my coach and friend, Dan Carlisle, and we were both shooting well....really well. We were pushing each other every stand, and the squad had a real positive vibe to it (anyone that has squadded with Dan knows what I'm talking about). Then, the storm to end all storms came over the horizon......I mean cold, harsh wind, and heavy, sideways rain. I dove into my well stocked range bag and came out with a nice rain suit, waterproof hat, gloves...the whole get up that an aspiring "top shooter" was supposed to have at hand.
Didn't matter....I was miserable ...cold, wet feet....it was awful, and what a shame, I had been shooting so well, but that was slipping away from me. I was standing around whining about being cold and wet. Then I looked over at Dan....he had on the same blue jeans and tshirt that he started the round with....he was laughing at the mud, making jokes about the rising water and getting the truck stuck on the way out of the club.....he was having fun.
That was when he grabbed me by my rain suit (might as well have been by the scruff of the neck) and pulled me behind the golf cart, and said "...listen Bubba, all these other shooters are bitchin' about the weather, and they aren't focused on SHOOTING and WINNING.....this is when we WIN!" Well, he was right of course.....all I needed to do was keep my wits about me for a couple of hours of rain, which I have done thousand of days in the duck blind or deer stand, and stay focused on the job at hand. A couple of hours of rain isn't going to kill you...you won''t melt. You can get dry and warm in the clubhouse or hotel.
I didn't win that Seminole Cup....I had let too many get away during the few stations that I had my little pity party..... but Dan did.....I finished up well behind Dan, but much better than if we hadn't had that talk. I've learned a lot from him, about how to handle a shotgun, and about how to win.
I stopped on the way to the club and got a new rain suit, I cleaned my DT10, and rubbed it down with plenty of rust preventative. When I started up the drive to the club, they were already cars stuck in the parking area.....I engaged the 4 wheel drive on my truck, telling myself that I would need to wash the mud out of my front hubs after the shoot was over, before I headed home. I was ready for the weather, and I was ready to make a run for the title when I got to the shoot. Thanks Dan.