There are lifelong rewarding values and satisfaction from participating in competitive activities. In James A. Michener's "Sports in America", the author analytically dissects modern sport and quickly rejects the spectator variety as an ongoing advantage to anyone. He calls individualistic activities such as golf and shooting, "life-long sports" and says that a person should choose a lifelong program that will enhance his general well being. Michener states that competition is an "extension of our very nature." The NRA Conventional Outdoor Pistol [Bullseye] competitive shooter is participating in one of the three most difficult individual disciplined sports games in the world. The other two, are worldwide Professional Golf and International Trap. It takes a lot of "guts" to participate fully in these activities. Practice and preparation, travel and its side effects, extreme weather, [including wind, rain, cold, and heat], monetary cost, physical and family sacrifice all take their toll, but these are the lot of the golfer or shooter who travels the golf, international trap, or pistol "circuit." Nonetheless, the satisfaction of winning the "Masters" at Augusta, an Olympic Gold Medal, an NRA National Championship at Camp Perry, or a DCM "Distinguished Pistol" medal is beyond belief! To master any of these sports is self-rewarding.

However, author Michener also claims, "We don't have to compete with or compare ourselves against the best." Creative competition [competing with yourself], encourages the human being to be better than he might otherwise have been. He agrees that incentives like moving up in class, the firing of a "Hole in One", 50/50 birds, or Ten "X's" can be as rewarding as going to the winners circle. Therefore, the winning of the Sharpshooter Class at the local monthly 2700 match, the attainment of an NRA Expert Pistol classification, or just shooting a few more X's than usual is also beyond belief! It is the competitive spirit that drives and rewards the person, permeates the balance of his life, and offers him success in his other pursuits.

As Michener says, "For life to be meaningful, there MUST be competition, either external or internal."

You are invited to any local pistol club match or league, and to any NRA Registered or Approved Pistol tournament. Match dates and contact numbers for NRA Registered and Approved tournaments are listed in NRA's "Shooting Sports USA".

Make your life meaningful; first, visit and observe the action, and then, "come out and try it." Prove to yourself that you have the "guts." Note: Match entry requires knowledgeable preparation! Please contact the Match Director or any one of the match shooters.

Jake Shevlin

1999 [Written initially for publication in "The Smoking Gun" at ER&P Club, Inc.]