You know when I start to feel old? When I find myself complaining about the upcoming generation. One of the things that annoy me most of the time is the idea of instant gratification. It seems kids today (using that phrase makes me feel really old) don’t want to do anything unless they can see some results right freaking now.
When it comes to shooting sports and their growth down the road, that might not be such a bad thing.
When a trapshooter hits his mark, everyone watching knows it. The clay target sailing through the air shatters into tiny pieces and creates a burst of colored smoke that lingers in the sky.
The first time 16-year-old Grayson Davey of Anchorage triggered those fireworks, he knew he’d found his sport.
It happened when he was an 11-year-old attending a shooting camp at Rabbit Creek Shooting Park. Kids were exposed to a variety of shooting sports and firearms — bow-and-arrows, .22s, big-game hunting rifles — before finishing on a trap range, where they were shown how to use shotguns.
Last month, Davey turned heads with a surprising victory at USA Shooting’s Fall Selection competition in Arkansas. He beat a field loaded with many of the country’s top shooters, including one who is an Olympic gold medalist and another who is the current world-record holder.
“I thought I’d go there for the experience and maybe get into the finals,” Davey said.
He made the finals by shooting perfect scores of 25 in three of the 10 rounds of shooting over four days to capture the gold medal by scoring 237 out of a possible 250.
Davey’s performance placed him on the U.S. team that will compete in Mexico for the World Cup. That’s only one part of Davey’s shooting dreams. The rest include the World Championships and the Olympics.
It’s nice to aim small, right?
However, Davey isn’t exactly an underachiever. He founded a paracord bracelet company at 12 that’s still going and now employs 19 people and he’s still planning on attending college, though he wants to find a school near a range with an underground trap bunker similar to those used in international competition.
I can’t help but think that if Davey can’t find one, he’ll pick a school then build the blasted bunker with sheer force of will.
Either way, it’s interesting that it was the instant gratification of watching a clay explode that hooked this young man to the sport. He’s not the typical teen–trust me, I have one in the house at the moment–but even he feels the allure of doing something and feeling the results instantly. That’s the thing about shooting, though. If you do things right, you tend to see the results of that work almost instantly.
For a generation that seeks instant gratification, this may well be how we can grow the shooting community. If we grow the community large enough, there won’t be much of anyone left to challenge the Second Amendment.
Yeah, I know, a bit of a pipe dream, but still…
A growth in shooting sports is a net win any way you look at it, and considering how today’s generation prefers things right now versus later, it just might be a way to make that happen.