Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Fat Woman and the glory of competition

This year Fat Woman won a place on her County skeet team. Mostly this was because Fat Woman turned up to her County championships, but the most important part of competing is the turning up so Fat Woman is happy to have qualified. Fat Woman doesn't need to beat anyone else for a place to count, which is lucky as she was fourth out of four. Well, technically Fat Woman was third out of those who competed and also made up the inter-counties team but as the person who didn't compete at the County level is way better than Fat Woman that isn't really anything to brag about.

Fat Woman is candid about her skeet prowess, which means that she isn't very good and there's no point in pretending otherwise. However, what Fat Woman lacks in ability she makes up for in enthusiasm and willingness to participate, which is mostly what is lacking in women's shooting. So Fat Woman was a proud member of the County team for the inter-Counties skeet championship.

Fat Woman is also very frank about the fact that she only got into this skeet thing for the privilege of the County Shooting Team skeet vest. What did amuse Fat Woman no end was that in the year since she last put on this particular vest she had lost size. Frankly, it was worth going through the whole rigmarole for that. Fat Woman doesn't like to wear her County skeet vest when not competing because she thinks people are thinking like Shooting Coach once said: "Nobody cares, put it away." More importantly, Fat Woman is still a bit rubbish at shooting by competition standards and her existence in the team is more a reflection on the state of ladies' competition shooting than her personal ability. Fat Woman has been told not to put herself down about her ability, but she feels she is simply being clear-sighted about such things. In sporting an average of 60 makes you a reasonably competent C class shooter, but it doesn't mean you're actually much good when compared to those who go out and compete on a weekly basis. Not does Fat Woman's personal best of 80 at skeet mean she is any good at anything apart from actually finding the shooting ground and booking in. However, Fat Woman doesn't actually give a rat's arse about comparing herself to other people so long as she gets to wield her bang stick and break some clays.

Fat Woman jokes that it's always fine when she shoots sporting, although mostly that's because she's inclined to stay home if it's raining. It certainly rains a lot when Fat Woman shoots skeet. The County championship was shot in torrential rain. Fat Woman has had practice sessions in downpours, and the Inter-Counties skeet championship 2014 was shot in a hurricane. An actual hurricane was passing over and although there might not have been winds measuring force 12 on the Beaufort scale on the skeet ground itself there was certainly lots of wind, lots of enormous rain drops, thunder and lightening. Fat Woman definitely took more than ten seconds to shoot a couple of birds because the concrete slab was covered in a full inch of water and she was sloshing around slowly and carefully so as not to soak her jeans. Before the last round the squad stowed their guns (not good to be underneath an electric storm waving a metal pole) and had an argument about how far away the lightening was. Fat Woman was intrigued to know that the old metric of one second a mile is rhubarb and you should count the seconds and divide by five. There was quite a lot of argy-bargy over this point, but given the extensive scientific and mathematical education of two of the squad it was eventually agreed that the storm was at best a mile away. Fat Woman prefers her squad to be arguing over the possibility of imminent death by weather than how fast she shoots.

Of course, the minute the squad had finished shooting the sun came out and the rain moved along.

Fat Woman didn't get to improve on her best score, but Skeet Coach said that Fat Woman shot well and should be proud of her performance. Fat Woman is incredibly grateful to Skeet Coach for all her help. Skeet Coach is amazingly analytical and is incredible at finding the root source of a problem. For example, Fat Woman had switched to wearing trainers instead of her usual flat boots. Skeet Coach noticed that Fat Woman's balance was shifting and that Fat Woman was lifting her heels. It turned out that those particular trainers might be optimal for gym work but aren't much good for planting yourself firmly in the square before shooting. What was important was that last year Fat Woman was very nearly bottom of the ladies' class. This year Fat Woman was half-way up the list. Fat Woman also closed the gap between her score and the young lady who is naturally much better at skeet that Fat Woman but who isn't bothered about practising.

Fat Woman's team won the Ladies' competition. Fat Woman is very pleased about this even though her score was one of the ones dropped. Fat Woman has stopped beating herself up about not being good enough at shooting and is now firmly convinced that what is actually needed is more women shooting who aren't A and B class. If more women put in low scores then other women wouldn't feel so useless when they don't score similarly to the winners.

Fat Woman got some interesting feedback after the event. A squad mate had noticed Fat Woman got a little tired after bird 60 and suggested that she might like to try lifting weights. Fat Woman nearly killed herself laughing but did thank the chap for the suggestion and explain that she was indeed tiring by that point, but that was because she is in fact pregnant. Squad Mate enquired if Fat Woman had considered the effect of noise on foetal hearing, which Fat Woman has, in great technical detail.

Fat Woman wonders what happened to the days when the only acceptable response to "I'm pregnant" was "Congratulations!"

Skeet Coach said that Squad Mate's other feedback was wrong and that Fat Woman needed to shoot the first one of her pairs earlier, not wait longer before shooting the second bird. Fat Woman trusts Skeet Coach on these things.

Fat Woman likes being able to shoot skeet well, and thanks to Skeet Coach she can shoot skeet well and stylishly. Not all the time, because Fat Woman hasn't yet managed to do everything that Skeet Coach has taught her on every stand and score a 25, but she thinks that if she went out and did some practice that time wouldn't be long in coming.

Skeet Coach says it's all very well Fat Woman being grateful for the coaching but it would be good if she could apply it to her sporting and help the County win the inter-Counties ESP competition in September. Fat Woman will do her best. Fat Woman doesn't like to say it to Skeet Coach but sporting is her first love and being on the County sporting team feels like an achievement.

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