Saturday, 26 March 2011

Shooting Sportsmanship

On the subject of sportsmen, and sportmanship, I think a lot of sportsmanship is absent from the modern scene. Winning at all costs has become the goal. I remember McEnroe whining at Wimbledon. Awful, though he was a great player. Now we have 'sledging' and worse. I asked a wiley friend about the subject of cheating a while back: "If you're not cheating, you’re not trying hard enough." WRONG. You are 
cheating yourself.

The real game is always with yourself, of course. It is about self-mastery. You can grow through sport or diminish yourself if you use it as a prop to an insecure, essentially fearful, ego. I loved Baron Radu's comments on the Zen of shooting (read his lion hunting story). There is a man who has been there and understands the narrowing of focus, the narrowing of vision into the present moment. The hunter's moment.

I often note when I cross the water to Ireland that there seems a better spirit apparent - people are there for 'the craic' as well as the competition. We shoot very well in the UK, but we no longer behave well. The idea of being a gentleman man (gentle-man) is sneered at as weakness. The broader society has become dog eat dog. Target/clay shooting should be a vehicle for self development not just beating others.

I think a lot more people might shoot clays in the UK if they found the whole experience more inviting. Our club houses are rarely as good as in other countries. The welcome is sometime less than warm. There is too much loutish behaviour on the field. I have seen bullying and anger - people completely losing the plot because they missed a bird ot two and erupting in rage. Passion is not sufficient excuse for it.

1 comment:

  1. couldn't agree more. Seems that most of the planet has changed for the worse. I feel the same way about many of the clubs here in the states. Warmth went out with the baby's bath water. Sad, when you think about it...