The Take 5 Championship was this weekend at the SLOSA Range. Feeling extra energetic I agreed to take part in the “Super Squad” with a secret aim of not being dead last. I didn’t join the Super Squad because I thought I could win, I did it because I wanted to shoot with the very top shooters. Being able to watch their styles and learn whatever lessons I could from them and pushing myself, was winning. To answer the burning question, did I come in first? No. Did I place? Yes, Last. The Lanterne Rouge was the award. More than a plaque, Jim O’Young, a brilliant shooter, and role model extraordinaire, thought this would be a special way to honor persistence and determination.
This was the most difficult match I ever shot. It was raining; I was soaked, really cold, and sinking in the mud. By night fall it was so dark I couldn’t see the targets, I shoot limited with iron sights and did I mention my back sight fell off (Thank you John Allchin for helping me reattach it)? Never was I asked if I wanted to go home, except by my mom who was feeling my pain the entire time. The Squad all knew that I was in this for the long haul and was not going to give in or give up, no matter what!!!
The shooters on the Super Squad were amazing, and they didn’t complain, ever! Not a primadonna in the group. They laughed, and encouraged each other, they were friends and professionals. It was amazing to watch them shoot so fast. Barrels were lighting up like fireworks. (I admit to jumping more than once when my barrel lit-up, sparky barrel...spaaaaaarky barrel.)
In case you are wondering the Lanterne Rouge is an award started by the Tour de France in 1903 to celebrate the accomplishments of the last rider to finish the Tour. The red lantern on the back of the caboose was the inspiration for the award. The engineer of a train could look back and see the red lantern on the caboose, bringing up the rear. He knew his train was all together. Like the caboose I was bringing up the rear, and feeling a part of the team. The memories of this match will go down in my journal as the best match ever. I am looking forward to next year; hopefully the match organizers will allow me to present the Lanterne Rouge award to the last place finisher. I plan on being on the Super Squad again next year, only not in last place.