You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out, Kid!

Who the hell thought giving me a loaded shotgun was a good idea?

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?

I was still 0 for the day at this point

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.

Not such a stupid gift now is it?

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.

20 years later I could hear the sound of this stupid dog's laughter in my head... Thanks for nothing.

Realistically, I only had a couple of goals for the day.  They were, in no particular order:

  1. Hit something… anything… at least one clay pigeon.  Success
  2. Make an ass out of myself without being a jerk.  Success
  3. Poke fun at Southern culture, including LSU and the Saints.  Success
  4. Get a new profile picture for Facebook.  Success
  5. Take some pictures of some hilarious crap, because I’m really a 15-year-old trapped in a 27 year old’s body.  Success
Case in point: I hurdled a drainage ditch, with shotgun in hand, to take this picture. Who thought this was a good idea for a street name? Hilarious.
Things like this happen in the south... I'm not exactly sure why.


So the day was a raging success.  I got everything I could have possibly wanted out of it and I didn’t shoot mine or anyone else’s eye out.  Not to mention, I got a free steak the size of my head and the free beer I was promised.  The only real downside was that I didn’t win any door prizes.  I could have used a DVD player from 6 years ago, an empty tool chest for all the tools I don’t own, or a camouflaged shotgun.  I was really looking forward to buying a gun rack for the Yankee Loving Fiancée’s Corolla after winning the shotgun.  She would have loved that.  It just wasn’t meant to be though.
I did however get a trophy.  No, not for worst shooter of the day.  That honor went to one of my boss’s kid.  He was 9… I think I beat him by 4.  In all honesty, had I won a trophy for worst shooter I would have gladly displayed that thing proudly for everyone to see.  Instead, my team came in 2nd in our division thanks to the other 3 shooters on my team.  Sure. there were also only 3 teams in our division, but why get hung up on technicalities.  The important thing is we didn’t come in last.
This is what the glory that is 2nd place looks like. Soak it in.
All in all, it was a fun day.  Would I take part in something like this again?  Probably, especially if I didn’t have to pay for it.  Is this a hobby I’m going to take up anytime soon?  Definitely not.  I can look back at it as a fun memory of something I probably never thought I would ever do and another reason why, years from now, once I’ve moved back North I’ll look back at my time spent in the South and laugh.
A golf outing… but with shotguns.  Who comes up with this crap?

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