Calling All Targets

Calling all targets? What does that even mean?

Sometimes weird things happen at precision shooting practice.

You can shoot some of your best scores ever accomplished or the worst you’ve ever shot in your life. Practice can be the greatest tool of confidence or the ultimate veil of depression. But sometimes, especially when junior athletes are involved, strangeness goes beyond shooting and can reach into the sublime. Why name this post Calling All Targets? Because on this particular day, at this particular practice, you could have.

Our junior shooters are well aware of what their coaches approve of and disapprove of. Obviously, a sport like ours requires lots of rules to keep everyone safe and productive. They also know what drives us crazy. Myself in particular, two things that make me insane are no-call, no-shows and the second is tardiness. If I say that practice starts at 6:00 then showing up at 6:05 had better involve copious amounts of blood and a dangling limb. Such is my mania about lateness, the kids know that I will not hesitate in calling them out as they stroll onto the range in a state of non-on-time-li-ness. This one particular Thursday night found one of our Juniors in such a a position and, shall we say, in a frantic state to get her act together and start on time.

Happy Coach=longer life

She leapt into the target trailer to retrieve a backer. Dove for the target caddy and a stapler. Slammed the backer and target down on the bench and stapled around the edges about one-hundred and forty times to affix it before sprinting downrange to get her target hung. All in all, she was four minutes late and only took cursory glances to my narrow-eyed gaze, registering my irritated disapproval. But, she got her act together and was pretty much ready to shoot before I began my little weekly dissertation.

The practice went as usual and without much fanfare one way or the other. That is, until when packing up for the evening and putting away the target backers, this junior shooter in question could not seem to find her phone. Over the next fifteen minutes, everybody was essentially tearing the place apart looking for this device. As the minutes ticked by and the panic of the phone’s owner became more frantic, juniors, parents and coaches alike all began searching more and more unlikely places for this device. Other people’s range bags, shooting boxes, jacket pockets, ammo containers, under benches, behind target stands and inside a bag of leftover Halloween candy (which received multiple searches, to my understanding). It was nowhere. Just up and vanished.

Getting to the point…promise

So did the phone turn up after all and if so, why would you care either way? Because, the end of this story proves that this can happen to anybody.  In the frenzy to locate her lost and only link to the world of Snapped Chats, she retraced all her steps since arriving. And yes, she located the phone. Where was the damn thing?


Yes–stapled to the back of the target backer.

In her mania to get set up as quickly as possible, she never realized that she had placed her phone down on the bench just before slapping her cardboard backer down on top of it and frantically began stapling. The staples went through the backer and into the soft protective case of the cell phone. Now how the hell she managed to shoot 70 rounds into that backer and not hit her phone escapes me, but rest assured, the only holes it had were two tiny staple holes in the case.

I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to another and I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe that a smartphone could get stapled to the back of a shooting target. I don’t think I need to explain the moral of this story. Instructional? Maybe a little. Those of you calling “BS” on this have a right to be skeptical and we asked the same questions (turning targets didn’t shake it loose, feeling the extra weight on the backer, etc…) but we’ve got eight other kids, five parents and three experienced coaches who will all swear with a hand on a bible that this is absolutely true.

Just thought you might like to know that.

Go have a match.