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Insane Accuracy. Wednesday October 15, 2014

What were Games lessons like for you?

Now, I'm sure there must be some of you out there who promptly reply "Oh, they were great! I loved games; I was captain of the hockey team, I won all the track events, and I still love to play tennis whenever I can."

Yeah, well: I was the pudgy, pale faced one in thick National Health spectacles; the last to be picked for any team, lurking at the back of the hockey field and being shouted at by the games mistress for running away from the ball.

Nothing much has changed in forty years, except that I no longer get shouted at by the games mistress.

But today I discovered a sport I can do! Furthermore, it's a sport I can actually enjoy!

Looking around me today there were people from seven to seventy, male and female, able and disabled, all competing under the same rules. Not at the same level: as for some of us it was our first time and some of them had been doing it for more than sixty years.

This sport does not involve getting hot and sweaty or out of breath (although breath control is important); it does not involve contorting your body into awkward positions. It needs steady hands, a steady eye and absolute focus.

What is this sport? Target Rifle Shooting.

It was a glorious morning. The autumn sun shone down into the quarry where the shooting club is based, the birds sang and rabbits hopped about, totally unperturbed by the constant snap of small-bore rifles firing overhead. You see, with target rifle shooting, no small furry or feathered creature is harmed; although some innocent bits of cardboard have a really bad time!

The targets are 50 or 100 metres away and are 20cm across; but, what you're really aiming at is the centre which is 3cm in diameter. Hey, you think that's ridiculous? In Full Bore Shooting (done without telescopic sights, mind) you can be shooting at a distance of over a mile at something the size of a tea-tray!

It's all about split-hair accuracy; about utter concentration; of losing yourself to that moment when the sights of the rifle line up with that pin-point centre of the target; when you breathe out slowly and, oh so gently, squeeze that trigger.

The satisfaction when the neat hole appears just where you intended, the mild frustration when it goes wide, the determination to do better next time; they all take you out of negative thoughts into this mystical "zone" people talk about.

It doesn't hurt that everyone I met this morning seemed really friendly and welcoming, and that there was cake (yum)...

And yes, there were very stringent and practical safety practices. That was a given!

I've finally found my sport, and it doesn't involve getting sweaty!

A Moodscope member.

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Hopeful One Wed, Oct 15th 2014 @ 6:53am

So glad you found something that suits you. You also found 'the zone@, In my experience this will happen with anything we do if we can bring our minds and our bodies at the same place at the same time.I bet when you were in the 'zone' everything seemed to slow down.It is as if you had all the time in the world to decide when to pull that trigger .A racing mind and a racing body are two completely separate things.I happen to play golf and when I line up my putter and find 'the zone' I just 'know that ball is heading for the hole.I don't always find 'the zone' ,I admit, but when I do it gives me a thrill. Like you found out.

Anonymous Wed, Oct 15th 2014 @ 7:10am

May I caddy for you Marydoll? Love ratg x.

Anonymous Wed, Oct 15th 2014 @ 7:27am

What a lovely blog Mary - thank you as always - Matt

Rupert Wed, Oct 15th 2014 @ 8:20am

Mary whilst I wasn't much of a team player at school I was cross country champion and found that exerting myself in this way was a wonderful escape from the worries of the day - everything was excluded from my mind other than the need to steady my breathing and get to the end of the course. A similar therapy to yours but achieved in a different way!

Martin Wed, Oct 15th 2014 @ 8:51am

This sounds like my kind of game Mary. I'd love to have a "shot" (excuse the pun) at it sometime. Glad you enjoyed your positive experience in the "zone".

Krisi Herbert Wed, Oct 15th 2014 @ 11:08am

I didn't like Games lessons either, although I did like tennis and netball and was on the netball team! but if given a choice I wouldn't have done any of it, my passion was horse riding, which I did every week at the local riding school! Now guns are also a passion of mine and I did belong to a gun club some years back, where we also only killed cardboard haha but we used live ammo and I got a real taste for it!! I've been toying with the idea of re-joining a gun club somewhere local to me, as you say it's all about focus and anything that doesn't involve jumping up and down and sweating is my cuppa tea!!

Anonymous Wed, Oct 15th 2014 @ 12:13pm

What a beautifully written piece. I love the way you mention and describe the animals. It was an absolute joy to read.

Di Murphey Wed, Oct 15th 2014 @ 12:18pm

Dearest Mary,
I know nothing about this sport. You describe it so well ~ it makes me want to give it a go. Your detailed account of your strategies along with the healing and wonderment of being in the zone sound heavenly. Way to go!
Lovingly with admiration,
Di Murphey

Anonymous Wed, Oct 15th 2014 @ 12:49pm

Yay Mary! Love that you are target shooting. What a great image.

Anonymous Wed, Oct 15th 2014 @ 3:02pm

This really made me laugh! Thank you, Mary.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Oct 15th 2014 @ 3:12pm

Hi Rupert: I am reading your reply with the theme t Chariots of Fire running through my head..... Lovely stuff. Do you still run? I understand it can be enormously beneficial for depression.

Anonymous Wed, Oct 15th 2014 @ 3:13pm

Go, Mary! Please take this as a virtual pat on the back (with attitude!).

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Oct 15th 2014 @ 3:13pm

Hope you find your local gun club and that it's friendly and welcoming. Good luck.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Oct 15th 2014 @ 3:14pm

thank you Di - you are always so encouraging. It's very much appreciated!

Anonymous Wed, Oct 15th 2014 @ 4:19pm

Methinks, as a retired teacher, that some teachers bunked off their educational psychology lectures! Or they didn't understand them! Like politicians, we all have a favourite teacher we love to hate! Some, post war teachers, didn't even receive proper training on how to handle people without shouting at them! Yes, cross-country is a good sport for the non-team game sort. Mmm.. I fancy your sport.

Anonymous Fri, Oct 17th 2014 @ 8:13pm

Sounds fantastic, right down to the bunny rabbits hopping about.
Recent video filmed by parents watching their young daughter shoot her first, at a rifle range, also tragically captured her instructor being killed as the gun twisted out of control. I'm respectfully weary of any gun touting advertisement on moodscope.

Anonymous Mon, Oct 27th 2014 @ 3:24pm

Hurrah! A lesson to play to our strengths if ever I heard one. Thank you for sharing.

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