The Assimilation Continues: The Lure of Sport

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Alayne’s caption on this read, “Therapy Work”

Two summers ago, my Texan friend Alayne came up to Memphis to visit me. We went out to dinner with a man I was dating, and the talk turned to guns. Alayne had learned to shoot. And, that was putting it quite mildly. She had learned to love shooting AND she had a permit to carry. I was floored. When I first met Alayne, she was this mild-mannered housewife and mother of 6 kids. She was trying to figure out what to do with her struggling marriage, and we struck up a cross-country friendship. During the course of our friendship, she has divorced, gone back to college, received a bachelor’s degree and found a super hot body builder Latino significant other. Now, on this summer evening, I heard her talking about Glocks and firing ranges and the power that shooting gives her. It was so attractive … oh, stop it, not in that kind of way. It was attractive in an “I want what she has” kind of way. But, I was super-involved in marathon running and I didn’t have the time nor energy nor desire to pick up a new hobby. I often thought about it, though. I thought about what she said it did for her.

I didn’t really think about it too much again until I moved down here. There is a gun culture here in Louisiana. The license plates proclaim it’s a Sportman’s Paradise. Growing up, gun racks hung in the back of pickup trucks even on the school campuses. I laugh to think of it now. Back then, it was common for boys and guns and hunting and pickup trucks to go together where ever they were. You brought your guns to the prom in your truck. During my Independence Day camping trip that I dubbed my Redneck Immersion Experience, one of these Southern boys – affectionately called Bam Bam – let me shoot his guns. I don’t know if he went home to get it or if he had an AK-47 in the back of his truck, but I shot that and a handgun. They watched me shoot, and then Bam Bam took a turn. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a guy so excited, and I’ve seen a few excited men in my lifetime. It was kind of hot. But, pre-occupied with my move, I chalked it up to a fun thing to do and let it go.

My friend Rhonda at work is hunter. I’ve talked to her several times about hunting, and I like the idea of it. I actually like the sport of it. I don’t like the camouflage stuff. Really? If you can make cute running clothes, surely you can make cute hunting clothes. But, that’s another blog. In 2012 I decided to learn to surf. The main reason that I took on the challenge was that I liked the idea of learning something new and finding out what it could teach me about myself. I was intrigued by the sport of it. The Latino surf instructors were like a big, beautiful, sexy bonus. The final day we watched them surf, and it was so unbelievably physical and difficult, but they made it look so easy. I’d had my try at it for 5 days. I knew it was not easy, and I could only imagine what kind of dedication it took to get to where they are in their sport. I’ve been asking a few people I know – friends …. my brothers …. some other women – about teaching me to shoot. My request has been met with a lukewarm response, but I’m not one to give up easily. So, Rhonda was showing me her hunting pics today, and I decided I really wanted to learn.

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Rhonda suggested I post on FB about needing a teacher, and I did. A friend of mine volunteered pretty quickly. He’s married to one of my best friends here, and I told him that if somebody hot and single volunteered, he’d be fired. But, he agreed to the appointment even with the risky job security. His wife apparently shoots, too, and I didn’t know it. In fact, a lot of women do, and I didn’t know it. Gals were posting all day on what kinds of guns to get, where they shoot, what I needed to do to learn safely. I got some great tips and picked up two more friends who are wanting to learn to shoot, too. This could be really fun! Who needs the guys anyway? Apparently, there’s a whole female gun culture out there just waiting for me with open arms… pun intended.

I’m still exploring my learning options, and several people have offered to show me the ropes. Interestingly enough, there’s a women’s shooting club here in Baton Rouge that hosts competition, teaches classes and holds shooting and social events all month long. It’s called “A Girl and A Gun Club.” Who knew? Rhonda didn’t. I emailed her and asked if she knew about the club. “Whaaaaaaaaat???” she wrote back. She looked it up immediately, and said maybe we could go shoot together sometime. I’ve been really disappointed with losing my sport of marathon running. Maybe I need a totally different kind of sport – one that is totally different than any other sport I’ve tried. I’m not really a gym rat. I need a purpose for staying fit. And, I read that shooting is excellent for developing mental focus. With a middle-aged brain, that’s a great thing. They say that continually learning new things is a great way to stay young.

So, I’m going to give this a try. I don’t know if I’ll like it. It may just be something that teaches me a few things, and I’ll be done with it. But, maybe not. It’s always fun to try something new. I know this. I’d love to get the sense of power that Alayne gets from it. I texted her today and told her I was going to learn to shoot. She was giving me some advice, and she said she wanted to be able to take care of herself in all ways and that includes her personal safety. Carrying and commanding a weapon is part of that for her. She feels like it’s extreme self-care. It’s so attractive because it really resonates with her. I’d love to find something that resonates with me like that. I think it’s time for a new journey. The assimilation continues…….

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