This is not the story I had planned to tell. Instead, I have a different story to relate. Pull up a chair.
I have not attempted to shoot any sanctioned IDPA matches since 2019, limiting my time to the occasional local match. In the year following the "cardiac event" in January 2019, I did shoot a few big matches. From a health point of view, all was well, but I never seemed to get back in the groove. My shooting has since been limited to 50-60 rounds at local monthly matches.
This year I decided to shoot the MD State IDPA Championship, which was held in Lexington Park, MD last Saturday. This is always an enjoyable match, with interesting stages and fun people. I've even had a modicum of success at it. I was looking forward to the day spent with friends.
Despite pleasant weather the week leading up to the match, the weather for Saturday was predicted to include no small amount of rain. As it turned out, the rain was limited until the shooting day was over. The intermittent showers had no effect on the waterproof targets employed by the match organizers.
|Shooters waiting to start
I started the match shooting poorly. Was I rushing, not paying enough attention to my sights, or just succumbing to pressure? Maybe all of that. But, there was still a lot of match to go. On our fourth stage, I left the point of cover and moved to back around the end of a wall. Then I heard "Stop!" I obeyed and looked at the timer SO to my right, thinking there was a prop malfunction on the stage. He turned to the score pad SO who said I had broken the 180. I was stunned. I quickly asked him if I had muzzled him, and he replied the gun had not broken the line by much. I obviously was unaware, but a small infraction is an infraction nonetheless. After, "unload and show clear" I thanked the SO, hung my head, and began packing my gear. Thirteen years of competing in IDPA and I had never experienced a DQ. I've always heard, "There are those who have DQ'd, and those who will." I've never subscribed to that, and believe it to be a defeatist attitude. And, now here I am.
Looking at a bright side, lunch was now being served. I retrieved car keys from our driver for the day, stowed my gear, and headed to lunch. At least it was a tasty Mission BBQ spread.
Now there was nothing left to do but watch and enjoy the show. Fortunately, I had packed a few cigars, intending to enjoy a wind down smoke at the end of the match. That was now a consolation smoke.
Since I wasn't able to leave, I also opted to help paste with my squad to pass the time. Even that was limited as the squad was efficient and quickly swarmed to reset the stage between shooters; there was a lot of incentive as the rain was quickly approaching. Conversations with the SOs on each subsequent stage was also quite humbling. Each roll call still included my name, with which I answered, "Dave's not here," followed by an explanation from my squad mates, which could also include a friendly dig, at my expense of course. I'd expect no less from my friends. Despite not shooting, I still logged 3.7 miles of walking that day.
After the match, I was able to enjoy another smoke with some other shooters as we waited for the award presentations. Then it was time for my second favorite activity when traveling to Maryland for IDPA — shopping for bourbon. I picked up something new, and a replacement for an empty.
There was no time for a smoke after returning home. An after dinner drink was comforting after a day spent on the range, watching.