I enjoy trap because it enables you to achieve maximum rage and frustration in a minimum amount of time; much more efficient than skeet or sporting clays, or badminton. So I shoot in a summer trap league, and last Sunday I was sitting on the clubhouse porch with a friend who is a couple of years older than I am and has also been shooting trap for 40 years plus, and we agreed on two things:

First, old age is not the golden years; it’s the s**t years. You watch your friends die one by one and wait for your turn. Second, it’s very hard to bring any real intensity to trap when you’ve been shooting it for four decades plus. Then we went out with our squad and disgraced ourselves because of our lack of intensity.


Jockstrap athletes call intensity “going into the zone.” It’s a condition where you’re able to block everything out but what you’re supposed to do; where time seems to move in slow motion. When I shot ATA trap, there were days when, before I had fired my first shot, the traphouse appeared so close it seemed I could touch it. That was a sure sign I was going to have a good day. It never failed and I can’t explain it.

A friend of mine, who is in his mid-50s, is the best concentrator I’ve ever seen. (He is a Double Distinguished shooter if you need convincing.) He can, I swear, turn on intensity like a faucet. You can watch him go into another universe of pure purpose…and leave ordinary mortals like myself stranded where we are.