Sunday, 19 May 2013

Fat Woman and the unfine feelings

Fat Woman has to work quite hard at being a nice person. When Fat Woman is tired, hungry, cold or feels under attack she has the ability to turn into the kind of monster that spits out a stream of flame that incinerates everything it touches. Fat Woman avoids politics for the simple reason that she is very, very good at them. This is because Fat Woman is very, very good at manipulation, persuasion and applying pressure when needed. Politics do not bring out the best in Fat Woman.

Competition does not bring out the best in Fat Woman. Fat Woman only likes competing if the rules are clear and she has a realistic chance of winning. At the local produce show Fat Woman helps run they use the Royal Horticultural Society's criteria for deciding which are the best vegetables. Fat Woman approves of this as it means everyone is able to choose their best entries and also see why a particular entry won. Fat Woman wishes they would publish similar criteria for the home baking. Fat Woman particularly dislikes the "because I said so" kind of judge so beloved of the Women's Institute who often ask a visiting speaker to judge the competition. Fat Woman's grandmother used to enter the competition every month and when she reached her later years would get Fat Woman to do her entry for her. Fat Woman remembers a particularly fine month when the competition was "My Brush With Royalty". Fat Woman's grandmother had once glimpsed the Duke of Gloucester. The amount of royalty in the story was as little as you could get but Fat Woman's grandmother won the competition because her entry was so nicely presented i.e. Fat Woman had typed it up for her. Fat Woman still thinks this was woefully unfair on people who had much better stories and reminded her of being at school when teachers would praise projects done on computer for being "so well presented" when Fat Woman had no computer and disgusting handwriting. Fat Woman still has terrible handwriting but has a lot of computers.

Fat Woman stopped going to netball practice because the focus was on the club being competitive. It wasn't competitive inside the club, but the aim was obviously to be able to field teams that were good enough to beat other teams in the league. This meant that all of a sudden forty minutes of every session was devoted to "fitness" because the first team were not deemed fit enough. Fat Woman doesn't mind fitness and spends a lot of time and money on it, but "fitness training" seemed to be "running around the netball court". Fat Woman would have put up with well thought out cardio training, intervals and HIIT exercises, but thought that just running about a lot didn't do anything for most people, who were able to manage it, and was boring as all get out for her. It reminded Fat Woman of school P.E. when they had a substitute teacher. Instead of ball drills they would have "games" involving chasing each other. Fat Woman can see that if running a team you want to put together the best squad possible, but Fat Woman was so far below the grade that she had no interest in making the grade, only progressing personally. After two months Fat Woman was admittedly a much better netball player than she had been, but the extremely cold weather, a metatarsal injury, and the failure of the netball secretary to reply to her meant that she abandoned netball in favour of choir, which was held on the same evening.

Part of the reason Fat Woman likes shooting is that you compete against yourself and you can spend a lot of time shooting without having to perform to a particular standard. Fat Woman understands the idea of registered shoots but although they have fun targets she prefers the social and unpressured environment of the Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club. Fat Woman wants shooting to continue to be fun because that is what will keep her doing it. There is a rosette for the best shot of the day at the Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club, which is fun to win but Fat Woman doesn't think about this and no one else gives the impression that they are thinking about it. Everyone is looking to get closer to perfect, to better their ability not beat other people. Everyone applauds a good shot and there is no jockeying for position. Fat Woman does well sometimes but has seen every regular do better than her at other times.

There was a Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club at Fat Woman's home ground. Fat Woman was delighted and made three lots of cake for the occasion to make sure there was a good spread and enough cake. When over tea and cake it was announced there might need to be a shoot off Fat Woman said that they should send the two unlucky people back out into the cold and let them get on with it whilst everyone else stayed inside in the warm with tea and cake. Fat Woman was told that she should be careful what she wished for because congratulations! she had made the shoot off. Fat Woman pointed out that the other competitor had apparently gone home. Fat Woman was awarded the purple rosette and promotional Hull Cartridge silk scarf and posed for photos with the cake winner and best beginner shot. Fat Woman is happy to take a win by default.

Then the missing competitor returned, having nipped out to shoot a Zoli gun on the demonstration. Fat Woman is extremely honest and pointed this fact out. The rep said that they could either split the prize or shoot off. Fat Woman was not at all keen to load herself back up with gear and go back out into the cold as she had defrosted and was enjoying talking to everyone and would have quite happily gone without rosette or scarf and been satisfied with the honour. Unfortunately for Fat Woman the other lady was extremely keen to shoot off. Fat Woman didn't want to make a fuss so she handed back the scarf and rosette and followed the instructor and the other lady back out into the cold. Extra shooting is extra shooting and Fat Woman is going to make the most of it whenever it turns up.

Fat Woman is can admit that she actually likes winning. What Fat Woman doesn't like is losing. Fat Woman doesn't enjoy losing herself but she also doesn't like having to stomp on other people or put them down, which beating them effectively is. That's only fun if you are reasonably well matched in ability and opportunity, otherwise it's like being a better speller than a five year old, unworthy, or sprinting against a professional runner, impossibly out of your ability range. Being the obvious high scorer at an event is fine as it is a surprise to everyone because no one is counting during the actual event. A shoot off however is directly competitive. There is nowhere to hide.

Fat Woman was unhappy that she was put in the position of either failing or forcing someone else to fail. As the instructor showed the two incoming birds that looked very far away Fat Woman thought that she was probably going to be the loser. Then, as though a switch had been flicked in her head, Fat Woman decided that she wasn't going to be the loser if she could help it, and that as she had been dragged away from a comfortable win-win situation she was well within her rights to make sure that she was the winner, no matter how invested she was in the fluffy, cuddly collegiate atmosphere of the event.

This didn't help Fat Woman's nerves.

Fat Woman actually looked at the incoming birds carefully and watched how her competitor shot at them, hitting three out of five. When Fat Woman took the stand she took herself and her shooting seriously, taking time to set her feet, to breathe and compose herself before lifting her gun, and waiting again before she called 'pull'. Fat Woman knew that she would pull the trigger at the moment when the clay paused at the top of it's arc and that she would watch the clay drop into a cloud of shot.

Fat Woman smashed all five clays.

Fat Woman felt defiantly triumphant. It may be that Fat Woman hadn't shot as well as she could have during the main event and that she didn't take each shot seriously, but Fat Woman likes being declared the winner regardless of how she did compares to how she could have done. Fat Woman is not at all sure that her feelings on the matter were of the finer variety, being more related to smashing the opposition than the positive pleasure of doing as well as she can. Fat Woman needs to work on this, and possibly get some therapy. Fat Woman wonders if this is how real champions feel.

Funnily enough, Fat Woman truly competes in the Cake Wars, has not yet won and yet minds not because she has worthy competitors. Also, the judging criteria is rather similar to that of the WI - inconsistent and random and according to individual preference. This is why shooting is a sport but baking is an art.

Fat Woman's confidence when shooting is starting to creep back thanks to the lovely, supportive ladies of the Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club and a coaching session with Personal Trainer. Fat Woman may be a long way from wanting to compete but at least she is feeling able to shoot faster and more securely. And she has a purple rosette saying "winner".

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