Friday, September 24, 2010

The Yips

I've heard my golfing friends talk about it.  Suddenly, for no explainable reason, a guy can't hit the ball like he used to.  Can't putt, can't chip, drives go onto the neighboring fairway, whatever.  There's an accident on the neural highway somewhere between brain and beef and there's a casualty.  Worse still, you have no idea where the accident is or how to clean it up.

This always seemed puzzling to me.  How can you do the same thing you did yesterday and not get the same result?  Just doesn't make sense.  Keep in mind I'm not a golfer so all I see is guys who spend hours on the range fine tuning their stuff to the point that it really should be automatic.  They become consistent 3 or 6 or 8 handicaps, respectable performers, and then one day they can't break 90.  I'd understand if they were recovering from hip surgery or a broken arm, but when nothing changes?  I just didn't get it. 

Until it happened to me and my shotgun.  As I sat in the field Sunday morning filling the sky with lead, I couldn't deny that the boxes of shells were emptying much faster than my game bag was filling up.  Had this always been the case I wouldn't have given it a second thought, but not too long ago things were different.  Last season I had a mix of good days and stellar days, at least in terms of how many shells I consumed to get a limit of doves (currently 15 per day in my neck of the woods).  Where a box used to be more than sufficient, now it was pushing two or more.  It finally hit the tipping point on Sunday, the point at which I couldn't call it an "off" day any longer.  Off days only last a day.  This was stretching halfway into the season.

I honestly have no idea what changed.  Eliminate any mechanical issues with the gun and any physical issues with me and you're left with something between the ears.  More than likely I'm thinking a little bit too much about the shot and shooting behind, not swinging through, lifting my cheek from the stock or something equally ruinous.  And no surprise, these things are all difficult to self-diagnose.  So here I sit feeling fortunate that my family doesn't depend on my shooting prowess for sustenance but otherwise generally in a funk.

The fact is that I'm either going to have to plod through this until it corrects itself, which it eventually will after months or years of frustration and having no idea what the problem was will likely reappear further down the road, or I'm going to have to break down and get some help.  I've never taken a shooting lesson in my life, which is actually a pretty lame argument for suffering through a slump indefinitely.  Not to mention that I generally don't like to pay money for something that I ought to be able to do myself.  The reality of the situation, though, is that I can't fix it myself or I would have.  And the reality is that unless I get some help I'm going to be miserable doing the one thing that brings me great joy.  I'll let you know how that pride tastes going down.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Socialized medicine it ain't...

I try to keep it original here at least in terms of content, so pardon my leeching and try to focus on the message.  Craig Koshyk at Chiendogblog posted yesterday about an effort by the government in his home province of Manitoba to get more people involved in hunting.  I really, really wish we saw more of that where I live.  Not saying there's no effort here, but compared to the depth and detail of what's going on up Craig's way it's no wonder our numbers are stagnant.

Before anyone gets all "I don't want any more people in my favorite fields" keep in mind how the process works.  Government budgets are strained beyond the breaking point and with limited money to spend, guess where it gets spent?  Where it favorably impacts the most people.  And keep in mind that politicians spell people differently than you and I.  The more people voters you make happy, the better your chances of getting elected.  When hunters make up a larger-than-microscopic part of the constituency, it's harder to bypass funding for the things that make them happy.  Apparently the left-leaning NDP in Manitoba has figured that out.  Are any American politicians listening?

By the way, if you have a few minutes you might also want to check out Craig's professional site.  He has some amazing photographs of dogs.