Friday, December 02, 2005

I'm rather on Cloud Nine right now and this time, I won't beat about the bush on telling you what I'm happy about. Well basically today Marcus, Nigel and I went for the Air Pistol Competition at CDANS organised by Swiss Cottage NPCC, and I'm proud to say I won! This, despite my gun being sabotaged (more on that later), a bout of nerves and this being the first time I've ever shot an air pistol. Here's a look at the Individual First trophy:

It's the first time Maris Stella NPCC has ever scored such an achievement, but that's not all: My team managed to get the Team Champion award as well! Not bad for first timers, eh? Sad to say, though, neither Marcus nor Nigel managed to get an Individual Award. It would have been totally unreal if they did, though. But hey, a total clean sweep of all the male Gold trophies isn't too bad, yes? How's that for a Double Kill, eh? =D

Anyway, here's a look at the Team Champion trophy:

All right, enough gushing about how good I am. Right now, I'm going to tell you how I almost didn't win due to my gun bein sabotaged. You see, an air pistol, like most weapons, has a front sight and a rear sight, which can be calibrated like an air rifle by having sighting shots and then correcting the sights by turning the knobs on the side of the gun. If for example, your aim is good and you fire at the center of your sighting target and find that your shot goes somewhere else on the target instead of where you aimed, you adjust the knobs accordingly until your shot goes to where you aim.

Now, during the competition, I was in the second detail, a detail being a group of people firing at a time in the lanes. Being in second detail meant that someone used the same weapon I was going to use before me. Well, when it came to my detail's turn to fire, I of course was feeling nervous already. Sending out the target and loading my weapon, I aimed directly at the center of the target and fired. Bringing back the target, I saw, to my horror that the target paper was still unpermeated by a pellet hole. "WTF?!" I thought to myself, starting to panic. "Could it be that my gun was not working properly?" Maybe it was because my aim for the first shot was out. Well, never mind that. I'll try again. After firing the second shot, I brought back the target paper again and found to my dismay that the target paper was still perfectly untouched. By this time, my heart had leapt into my mouth. "My aim can't be that bad," I surmised. " Maybe I should try recalibrating the sights again." So I turned the knob such that my shot would go lower and fired again, without success yet again. After three shots, the target was still untouched?! WTF was up with that?! I argued with myself over whether to report a faulty gun to the officials, but afraid that it was just my aiming that was horrendous, I kept my mouth shut and kept on turning the knob that would bring my shot lower. Taking aim once again, I fired and to my surprise this time, the pellet made a hole, right at the top of the target, on the edge, in fact. Puzzled, I now realised that my sights had been totally out and that had led to the shots going out, but due to competition stress, I couldn't figure out then how a perfectly good air pistol could have its sights so terribly out of target. After all, the previous user had calibrated it, hadn't he? To cut a long story short, I turned the first knob at least in one and a half circles and the second at least three quarters of that, and to top it off, I had used up all 20 sighting shots and 3 sighting targets to calibrate my faulty revolver.

Thus started my actual competition shots. By now, I had calibrated the gun to the extent that the sights were still not accurate, but I now knew how to correct for the sight's error. As I was now firing actual shots that would count for points, I decided to leave the sights as they were and not try to calibrate the gun fully. This decision, coupled with a steady hand proved to be the competition winner for me, with me now firing all my shots, save for 4 of them being a result of misfire into the black area of the target. Now basically the target I was firing at consisted of 2 areas, the outer white area and the inner black area, with the black area consisting of rings of 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 points, which meant a bullseye. The white area consisted of rings of 1-5 points. I fired 30 competition shots. 5 in the white area. 25 in the black. You do the math. So I won, defeating even the people at Swiss Cottage NPCC, who had air weapon shoots as part of their normal trainings. Happy though I am, I'm feeling a mix of relief, joy and anger now. Relief because I pulled it off even against the odds, joy because we scored a Double and anger. Anger because I realise now that my gun had been sabotaged by the person who had used it before me. That person had totally screwed up the sights by twisting the knobs a couple of hundred degrees on purpose. In fact, Nigel's gun had also been sabotaged. What happened to fair play? What happened to sportsmanship and equal opportunity? I see now, the maliciousness of the people who want an unfair advantage in a competition which should have been fair. As it is, I'm now having the last laugh.