I'd like to apologize to my regular readers. I'm going to talk about some obscure rules from the CFDA, and sportsmanship, and governing bodies. Trivia, actually, about the rules of the game.
There's a discussion going on in the CFDA right now about sportsmanship, time limits, and recovery shots. As I understand the rules today, recovery shots are allowed, but a competitor can only fire once per lit target. The problem comes in when a competitor "slips" the hammer. This is an unintentional mistake when the thumb slips and the revolver isn't fully cocked. The current rules allow the shooter to fully cock the revolver and fire his shot.
However, ours is a game of speed. If we have two competitors on the line and they're going fast, and one competitor fires his shot but misses, the other competitor can take his time, aim at the target and hit it for a win. Some claim that this is poor sportsmanship, that a competitor should not take advantage of another shooter's missed shot.
When you're going fast, you're going to miss. We should all strive to hit the target, and that's the only way to get a score. Still, mistakes happen, and occasionally some of us will slip-cock a hammer. It happens.
We have Marshals in our sport, and occasionally they get together and talk about the rules and changes to the rules. One of the items on the agenda is entitled Should There Be a Time Limit For a Recorded Hit? - Discussion (CFDA). This discussion should be spirited, and although I'm not a Marshal, I have a forum. Some are recommending a 1.25 or 1.5 second limit for a recorded shot. Here's my two cents worth.
The goal of the game is to hit the target and to hit the target faster than the competitor next to you. The match system that we use tends to bring the faster shooters to the top of the rankings, but sometimes weird things happen. I was at a club shoot in Texas last June, and was privileged to be shooting with some great shooters. At one stage of the match, one very fast adult shooter was paired with a brand-new 12-year-old. As the individual match progressed, the sub-4s adult shooter was beaten handily by the 1.5 second youth shooter, simply because the kid was hitting the target. There were no trophies on the line, just two shooters of wildly differing ability standing on the line. The kid won that little match, and afterwards they talked about the game and the intricacies of drawing a Colt revolver. Respect, really, is all we win.
At a large match in Odessa in July, I collected my Xs early and sat to watch the show. I saw two nationally ranked shooters on the line and one of them slipped his hammer, then took his recovery. He won that shot with a 1.8. No one accused him of unsportsmanlike conduct. It was a fair shot, fairly taken within the rules. Yet, under the proposed rule, his shot would not have counted.
Many of our shooters are slow by championship standards. I'm abysmally slow, shooting in the 7s, but I try to hit every target. Some of the youth and female shooters are slower than I. Yet, even those slow shooters like the sport, and sometimes the sun shines on them, like this little clip from that shoot in Odessa where my lady won her minor prize, shooting against a noted champion. Hitting counts.
Her shot, if you listen to the audio, was a 1.271. It was also her fastest shot of the day. She's slow, but she hits. Her opposing shooter, who I won't name, will be recognized by the organization as a very big name in the game. We talked later, and she told Calamity that she decided to shoot her draw, to play the game wide open and let the timers tell the tale. I have enormous respect for that lady, and I cheer for her every time she comes on the line. All we win, really, is respect, and I respect her for her accomplishments, and for her sense of sportsmanship.
The tale may be apocryphal, but Wyatt Earp is widely quoted as saying "Speed is fine, but Accuracy is final." While the spirit of the game is to go fast, the timers only record a hit. Our goal should be to hit the target. The association may set a time limit on a recorded shot, but should be careful to not set the limit so fast that we exclude shooters who love the game but are slow. Lots of folks who love this game never intend to win a prize, but when they do, it is all the sweeter.
Let's take a moment to realize that we're not all championship shooters. The match format will normally drive the faster shooters forward. Remember the several thousand of us out there who are slow, but still love to play the game.
All that you win, really, is respect.