With two years to go until the next summer Olympics, it’s time to start campaigning for a new shooting sport. My suggestion? Bowling pin shooting.
It’s no secret that shooting sports get the short shrift in TV coverage. Some people suspect anti-gun bias at the networks. That may be part of it, but the truth is, the networks don’t show shooting events because they are really boring to watch on TV.* The targets look tiny on screen. The shooters are almost perfect. It’s a dull combination. The father of one of our international shotgunners told me about watching full matches live on streaming internet. “It’s a chore,” he said. “When you can hardly stand to watch your own kid compete, that’s a boring sport.” Watching people shoot tiny holes in paper with air rifles and .22s is even worse. Don’t get me wrong:I am in awe of anyone who competes in an Olympic shooting discipline, whether it be rifle, pistol or shotgun. It takes exceptional eye-hand coordination and mental toughness.
It just doesn’t televise well.
Pin shooting is everything other shooting sports are not: it’s head to head. It’s fast, with most stages over in a few seconds. The targets are big, easy to see, and reactive. You have to knock all the pins completely off the table faster than the other shooter.
Maybe for shotgunners we could add some kind of team flurry event, where two or three shooters would work together to break as many targets as they could in the space of a minute. It’s not as if there isn’t a precedent here: live pigeon shooting, which features the ultimate reactive targets, was once an Olympic sport. So, briefly, was a dueling pistol competition, with mannequins as targets. Something tells me those two sports aren’t coming back so maybe pin shooting’s time has come.
*I used to row competitively. Now there is a sport that’s boring to watch on TV.It doesn’t get much Olympic airtime either.