What were Games lessons like for you?
Now, I'm sure there must be some of you out there who promptly reply "Oh, they were great! I loved games; I was captain of the hockey team, I won all the track events, and I still love to play tennis whenever I can."
Yeah, well: I was the pudgy, pale faced one in thick National Health spectacles; the last to be picked for any team, lurking at the back of the hockey field and being shouted at by the games mistress for running away from the ball.
Nothing much has changed in forty years, except that I no longer get shouted at by the games mistress.
But today I discovered a sport I can do! Furthermore, it's a sport I can actually enjoy!
Looking around me today there were people from seven to seventy, male and female, able and disabled, all competing under the same rules. Not at the same level: as for some of us it was our first time and some of them had been doing it for more than sixty years.
This sport does not involve getting hot and sweaty or out of breath (although breath control is important); it does not involve contorting your body into awkward positions. It needs steady hands, a steady eye and absolute focus.
What is this sport? Target Rifle Shooting.
It was a glorious morning. The autumn sun shone down into the quarry where the shooting club is based, the birds sang and rabbits hopped about, totally unperturbed by the constant snap of small-bore rifles firing overhead. You see, with target rifle shooting, no small furry or feathered creature is harmed; although some innocent bits of cardboard have a really bad time!
The targets are 50 or 100 metres away and are 20cm across; but, what you're really aiming at is the centre which is 3cm in diameter. Hey, you think that's ridiculous? In Full Bore Shooting (done without telescopic sights, mind) you can be shooting at a distance of over a mile at something the size of a tea-tray!
It's all about split-hair accuracy; about utter concentration; of losing yourself to that moment when the sights of the rifle line up with that pin-point centre of the target; when you breathe out slowly and, oh so gently, squeeze that trigger.
The satisfaction when the neat hole appears just where you intended, the mild frustration when it goes wide, the determination to do better next time; they all take you out of negative thoughts into this mystical "zone" people talk about.
It doesn't hurt that everyone I met this morning seemed really friendly and welcoming, and that there was cake (yum)...
And yes, there were very stringent and practical safety practices. That was a given!
I've finally found my sport, and it doesn't involve getting sweaty!
A Moodscope member.