No, I didn’t shoot a match drunk, nor did I drink before the match or after, so what the heck am I talking about? Well, as many of you know I am mostly a Cowboy action shooter and needless to say that is a fun and social shooting discipline. I enjoy the cowboys I pal around with as much, if not more than the shooting itself! This often leads to the post match imbibing of various libations not the least of which require an age restriction. So I am used to knocking back one or two with my pards post match while having a nice dinner somewhere and recalling the fun and follies of the day. Anyway, I did not participate in this Saturday’s cowboy match (I was at the Zoo with my family) but I did manage to take part in the consumption of the available libation. In this case my good pard, Lorenzo Kid had me and Dun Gamblin over for a little “Port and Puff.” For those who may be wondering what that is or thinking it’s some kinky dress up sailor thing, allow me to clarify. It was simply an invitation for a nice evening to enjoy some Port wine and a good cigar. Now I by no means regret this, I will always jump at the chance to hang with DG and LK and enjoy a good cigar and good company but WOW did I pay for it on the range the next day!
I know what happened that tore up my performance on Sunday’s light rifle match, and I’m not making excuses I actually shot the score I usually shoot but I had to really struggle to do it. Essentially, I dehydrated myself substantially on Saturday and missed my breakfast the morning of the match. Now, I’m no master competitor but I like to do well. I mean, I never show up to compete against anyone but myself and that’s how I know I didn’t do as well as I could. Seems like the company Camelbak, that makes hydration paks, used to have a slogan, (maybe they still do) “Hydrate or die!” I say, “Hydrate or shoot like crap!” I was excited all week about shooting the match, and to see if my new vest would make any difference and I do believe it did, but I found out the hard way what it’s like to try to drive the body on fumes. I shot prone first, and could feel the tension in my shoulders and neck muscles. There was no elasticity at all. I locked up faster than an Korean electronics store during the LA riots! This morning when I woke up my shoulders and neck were really sore. The only thing that makes sense as to why was that I drank too much coffee Saturday, drank alcohol Saturday night, then coffee again Sunday morning. Never felt anything like that before. I could really tell a difference. Now as I said, I shot above my average. My avg. score at Light Rifle is 328, and Sunday I shot a 333. So ok, I did alright, but I knew I could have done better. I felt the muscle tension and was shaking too much during the prone and sitting positions and my left arm was shaking slightly when standing offhand. I could tell it was from the dehydration, it wasn’t the normal shaking of fatigue that could be warded off by a moments rest with the rifle in a rack. This was different.
Now, having said all of that, I was not disappointed I lost, heck I lose every time I go! There are very experienced shooters there and they usually run away with it month after month. I expect that, and that never disappoints me, but I do get disappointed when I beat myself. Make no mistake, I don’t regret my very enjoyable evening spent with my pards but I should know better by now. If I want to shoot well, to the best of my ability, I have to take it a little easy and remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Oh yeah and a little more practice won’t hurt either! 🙂