Every day that I go to the range to shoot, I find that there’s always something new to learn, even if I didn’t think I needed to learn anything new that day! This was the case at a recent SLOSA club match. To be or not to be an RO? That was the question. RO means “Range-Officer,” (AKA "R"eally "O"wsome), somebody who ensures the safety of the shooter and onlookers. There are some fundamentals that every RO should know. Starting with memory…..I’m definitely not an exception to that rule. I find that memorizing the speech is supposed to be automatic except when you forget it, like when you are supposed to be saying it to a shooter. Now was that “Stow yer sporting implement, matey?” or was it “Clear and make safe, Cupcake?”
Shoes are another issue. This is particularly important for someone of my stature, just over 4 ft 9. Wrong shoes equals a face plant in the back end of the shooter when running behind them, be sure to check your tread. It would be really helpful to all vertically challenged ROs if shooters, taller than the RO, would sit down to shoot or ROs get platform RO shoes. Either way, I could reach the shooter with the timer. On the topic of timers, why not just have a recording of the commands? A Talking Timer!
I did figure out one secret, a good part of ROing is that it strengthens your arm muscles. Holding up that timer high enough, about a foot higher than my reach, for exceptionally long periods is actually an advantage. The unrelenting isometric exercises, as my friend Richard reminds me to do, are helpful. My upper arm strength has greatly improved by this painful exercise. Try ROing with your weak arm, and then take your turn at the weak arm/strong arm revolver stage, you will amaze those who never thought you could shoot weak arm. By the time a relief RO fills in, you can no longer tell if your arm’s falling asleep or if it is someone else’s arm entirely, because yours are so numb. Even with a numb arm, at the end of the day you can finally take a rest but remember that white chairs have huge spiders on them, frogs live in the outhouses and the snakes don’t respond to timer buzzers!
To be or not to be an RO, I can honestly say….. To Be! I had so much fun, thanks to everyone on my squad, and Jason for not stepping on me. I can’t wait to do it again. (I’ll be looking for the platform RO shoes…any suggestions where I can pick them up?)