column By: Steve Garbe | August, 21
While I was reviewing the matches, it struck me how many match directors were either acquaintances or good friends. The next thing that occurred to me was how long many of these folks have been organizing and putting on competitions. I won’t say it is a “thankless” job, but pretty close. I have, myself, put on shooting matches and will tell you that there are many, many hours of personal time invested into the successful scheduling and running of a competition. While some competitors would come up after a match and thank you for your efforts, there were still those that basically showed up, shot, collected prizes and left.
This is to be expected, I guess, when dealing with the public, but I think that we as shooters can do better. Make sure that you are not the person who takes a rifle match for granted and that you merely need to show up to fulfill your end of the bargain. I’ve never heard of a match director that would not appreciate offers of help, especially one that had been putting on the same match for years. If nothing else, offering to help with the “nuts and bolts” part of a competition makes the match organizer feel like folks really support what he is doing.
Also, don’t assume that the guy who has putting on matches for years wouldn’t like a break in that responsibility, either temporarily, or long-term. Some personalities enjoy the added responsibility that running a match represents, but I’ve never seen anyone who doesn’t need a break now and then. Simply helping out can lighten the load and keep a good match running for years, which benefits us all. Paperwork is probably the biggest bugbear when organizing a match, especially if it is any kind of nationally-recognized competition. Many of the longest running competitions have owed their success to several people who each handle one aspect of the match, spreading the load over several individuals.
The next competition you go to, make a point of offering to help, and thank the match director for their time and efforts. Stay afterwards to help with cleanup and after-match chores. Don’t be the person who just takes and doesn’t give back. If everyone took the “what’s in it for me?” attitude, there wouldn’t be a match being run, anywhere. Our local matches, put on by our local clubs are our greatest strength and the best investment for the promotion of responsible firearm ownership and competition into the future.
- Gut Ziel