Everybody who ever shot a match has experienced them. They make matches miserable. They miss the point of the collective fun, opting instead to focus on their own needs. The day is not about you, the squad or the match. It's all about them.
And who are they? Them? Those people?
Why, they are the seven people you really don't want on your squad. Spending six of seven hours on the range is hard enough, especially when your own shooting isn't living up to expectations. Spending that same time with one or more of these shooters will suck the life right out of you.
So who are these people whose company you'd rather not keep? They are The Instigator, The Complainer, The Gamer, The Lawyer, The Whiner, The Instructor and The Name Dropper.
And, they are to be avoided at all costs. Here's why.
Everybody knows The Instigator. He (or she) is the shooter that takes nearly every opportunity to bring up a point of contention in the match. They are quick to offer their 'expert' take on a situation, regardless of whether or not the range staff requested it. If they can inject doubt, conspiracy or ill will, they will. If there is a problem arising within your squad look to The Instigator as its genesis.
The Complainer is a close cousin to The Instigator and helps echo issues brought up, but does so in that oh-so-constructive form of a complaint. The Complainer is also adept at aggregating and uses issues from past events to support or compound complaints about the current match. And if something doesn't go right with their own match, the complaints escalate. Because one thing is for sure when it comes to The Complainer, it's never his or her own fault but that of the match, the stage design, the range staff, the range equipment, the match director, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
The Gamer understands perfectly well the intent of the rules and those of the match organizers. He or she simply doesn't care because those intentions stand squarely in the way of gaining a competitive advantage. And, as every Gamer knows, the sole point of any match to win, and when skill fails you there is always the gaining of competitive advantage to fall back on. Their life's motto is: But the rules don't say I can't.
If The Complainer is the cousin of The Instigator then The Lawyer is the step-sibling of The Gamer. Nobody knows the rules better than The Lawyer and he or she will debate each and every slightly questionable call with ten times the effort they ever put in to actually practicing. These are the people with the dog-eared rulebook surgically attached to their person. Even when they don't know the rule, they know the original intent of the rule and will argue that point until the range staff is so worn down they acquiesce simply so the The Complainer will shut up and allow the match to continue.
The Whiner is the passive aggressive version of The Complainer. They don't try to dynamite their way through the match. Instead they are like water slowly eroding away the resolve of others. Their ability to make a mountain out of a mole hill is their greatest strength. Their role isn't to find solutions. They are there to help remind you through their non-stop whining that you haven't found a solution. And the best Whiners are not simply water but water torture.
Almost every squad has The Instructor. He or she may not win - ever - but they sure know what you're doing wrong. And lucky for you and the rest of your squad The Instructor is there to help you. First they identify the problem for you, because everybody deserves to hear unsolicited observations on what they're doing wrong, especially in the middle of the match. Then they tell you what you should be doing. The Instructor genuinely means well, they just aren't self aware enough to realize you never asked for their help, or particularly care for it. But God bless their little hearts anyway.
The Name Dropper
When all else fails in your quest to be somebody in the realm of competition, be The Name Dropper. You don't have to ever win a match as long as you can name all those that have, and how you at one time personally shot with them. The Name Dropper will even share with you nearly every detail of their conversations with the top shooters. And every story starts something like, "So-and-so turned to me and asked..." or "When So-and-so and I shot the XYZ, we...." By the end of your match, thanks to The Name Dropper, you'll feel like you personally know each member of every super squad that ever existed...and that you wished shooters came with an On/Off switch.
Honorable Mention: The Diva
These are the seven people you don't want to squad with, but I would be remiss if I did not offer an honorable mention to The Diva. Think of this as your bonus prize for reading this far down the list. The Diva can be either male or female and is easily identified by how they tape targets. Which is to say, they don't. They are too important to tape targets or paint steel. That's more of a job for the proletariat, right? No, The Diva has better things to do like burying his or her head into a smartphone and sharing on Facebook how great the match is, especially if somebody else does all the work (#BestSquadEver).
- Paul Erhardt, Editor, the Outdoor Wire Digital Network
Got shooting sports news? Send us an email at email@example.com.