Bourjaily: Failing to Become a Shooting Legend

Recently Dave wrote a fine post about how to become a shooting legend. To review, what you do is:

1. Make a great shot in front of at least one witness
2. Say, "Ho-hum" as if you shoot that way all the time.
3. Let the witness(es) talk, and watch your legend grow.

Last week I threw away the only chance I've ever had to become a legend. A number of our high school trap shooters were at the club getting a tuneup for the Scholastic Clay Target Program Nationals. Before a round started I walked up to one of the kids on the line. "Let me see your gun," I asked him.

I have been practicing my hip-shooting lately (the simple trick to it will be revealed on one of this season's final "Gun Nuts" episodes). While I can now break about half the straightaway targets launched from directly in front of me, I've never tried anything as difficult as a bird from an oscillating trap 16 yards away.

I dropped a shell in the gun, called "pull" and - to my complete astonishment -- broke a hard right angle from Post 5, from the hip, in front of the whole squad.

For an instant my mind flashed on Dave's advice. I thought of giving the kid his gun back and sauntering off the line like it was no big deal for me to make that shot. But, high school kids spend way too much time trying to act bored and cool already. I'm always telling them it's okay to have fun when you're shooting and that it's important to enjoy your successes. Besides, I was thrilled. In the name practicing what I preach I did what I wanted to do anyway: I jumped around like some idiot contestant on "The Price is Right." I went down the trap line high-fiving everyone. I came dangerously close to doing the Worm.* So passed my chance to become a legend.

*for the finest example ever of the Worm danced in triumph, watch this to the end.