Admittedly, I am a city kid. I grew up in Euclid, a suburb of Cleveland, OH, playing baseball and basketball, golfing with my dad, and going down town for rock concerts and sporting events. I’m as far from being a “country boy” as they come. While yes, I do enjoy being outdoors and I will fish or go camping on occasion, I pretty much despise the rest of the whole country scene. I’m not really a fan of sport hunting, I’m in favor of stricter gun regulations, and I despise country music. Naturally, I fit in pretty well living here in the deep south (that was sarcasm).
Therefore, it’s only natural that I would take part in a sporting clays competition… Wait… What?
Exactly. Thanks to a little bit of peer pressure and my constant need to make a complete and utter jackass out of myself, I took part in a sporting clays competition sponsored by my work with proceeds going to the Boy Scouts of America. It was for a good cause and I was promised free steak and beer afterwards. Seemed like a good enough reason to me.
For those of you who might not know what a sporting clays competition is, it’s a team event where you go from station to station taking aim at various setups of varying difficulty. Think of it like a scramble golf outing but with shotguns and that would be sporting clays.
Now, here’s the catch when it came to me agreeing to take part in this. I’ve only ever shot a shotgun once in my life. I was 8 and killed the pop can that was perched upon a fence post and threatening the lives of everyone at the ’92 Heise Family Reunion. I’m 27 now. To say I’m a bit inexperienced when it comes to fire arms is like saying the city of Cleveland hasn’t won a title in a couple of years. Understatement of the century. This fact elicited the following reactions from the Yankee Loving Fiancée when I told her I was doing this:
“Should I take out an extra life insurance policy on you?”
“What exactly were you thinking when you said yes? Better yet, did you think at all? Wait, I already know the answer to that.”
“I have more experience shooting a real gun than you do…”
“What’s the worst that could happen?!?!?! Oh I don’t know. What could possibly go wrong giving you a loaded weapon?”
“Don’t shoot your eye out… or anyone else’s eye out… as a matter of fact, don’t shoot anything in or out of anyone.”
“You’re such a jackass…”
Her level of confidence in me is mind-boggling at times. I countered her points by arguing that had she just bought me the “Official Red Ryder Carbine Action 200 Shot Range Model Air Rifle” with the compass in the stock and this thing which tells time for Christmas the past like 6 years, I wouldn’t have found myself in this particular predicament. I had a valid point and I knew I did when she countered my counter with her patented eye roll head shake combo and walked out of the room.
So what exactly happened? First off, despite waering my camo shorts, I stuck out like a sore thumb in chucks and a backwards baseball cap. After getting a 3 minute crash course in how to load, aim, and safely use a shotgun I was good to go. I was confident. The hours of my childhood wasted away playing duck hunt on the original Nintendo had prepared me for this… Out of the 100 shots I took at clay pigeons I hit a whopping 28. I sucked. Meanwhile, other people in our group were hitting 94, 91, 86… You get the idea. In fact, I didn’t hit my first clay pigeon until we were 5 stations into the 14 station event. I do believe I am the Luis “No Beuno” Valbuena of sport shooting. I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.
Realistically, I only had a couple of goals for the day. They were, in no particular order:
- Hit something… anything… at least one clay pigeon. Success
- Make an ass out of myself without being a jerk. Success
- Poke fun at Southern culture, including LSU and the Saints. Success
- Get a new profile picture for Facebook. Success
- Take some pictures of some hilarious crap, because I’m really a 15-year-old trapped in a 27 year old’s body. Success