â€śYou know how hard it is to blow your nose with only one lung?â€ť
These words of wisdom were spoken to me at a recent USPSA match by Mike Dame, a nationally-ranked Canadian practical shooter who comes to Michigan matches quite frequently.Â Iâ€™ve known him for ten years, and quite frequently he says things that surprise me.
Turns out Mike woke up one day recently with a collapsed lung.Â No injury, no car accident, just a collapsed lung.Â Knowing Mike, I asked if perhaps this was a side-effect of Canadian beer I hadnâ€™t heard about, but he informed me that collapsed lungs sometimes just happen to very tall people (heâ€™s 6â€™5â€ť).
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Why am I mentioning this in a Handguns blog?Â Mike suffered a collapsed lung on Tuesday, and the tube they put in his side to re-inflate it didnâ€™t come out until Thursday.Â He was shooting a USPSA match on Sunday, 3 days later, because he needed to practice for the USPSA Single Stack Nationals (More words of wisdom from Mikeâ€”â€śYou know how much it hurts to cough with a tube in your side?Â They give you morphine for a reason.â€ť)
Also at this match at my local club was Greg Panzl, and itâ€™s his photo you see at the top of the page.Â If it looks like he has a weird grip on the gun, thatâ€™s because heâ€™s missing half his index finger, and has learned to shoot by pulling the trigger with his middle finger.Â He hasnâ€™t just learned to shoot, heâ€™s earned an A-Class rating in USPSA.Â That means he’s really good, even compared to people who have all their fingers.Â I donâ€™t remember how he lost half his trigger finger, whether it was a gunfight, shark attack, or an ambush by a horde of rabid Oompah-Loompahs, but the fact is he hasnâ€™t let it keep him from showing up at the range and kicking butt.
In the Detroit area we have a lot of people who shoot USPSA or IDPA matches (or both) and Greg and Mike arenâ€™t exceptional.Â I shoot with Chuck, a retiree who only has one foot, but he doesnâ€™t let that slow him down.Â In a rare display of tact I havenâ€™t asked Mark what heâ€™s suffering from, but from the state of his legs and the cane he needs to get in and out of the shooting box Iâ€™m guessing itâ€™s cerebral palsy.Â I shoot with cancer survivors, people who have lost their businesses in Michiganâ€™s horrible economy, and guys going throughÂ messy divorces.Â Yet they still show up.
Iâ€™m not just talking about showing up to the range to plink at some cans, everybody Iâ€™ve mentioned here puts on their game face and shows up to compete.
I donâ€™t know what excuse you might be using for not practicing or shooting, but whatever your excuse, I shoot with someone who has a better one.