Never in my right mind would I have ever imagined myself to be in the position that I am today. Twice a week, instead of rushing down to the gym after class, I find myself quietly making my way to the bowels of Chase Hall and onto the rifle range. For the following two hours I stand, kneel, and lie prone through round after round of practice. On the weekends, we whisk ourselves away in the Academy vans to compete against other teams. Other times, we stay here and host matches.
Rifle is one of the two NCAA Division I varsity sports offered here at the Academy (the other is sailing). However, despite this unique position, our sport usually goes unnoticed by most. Rifle does not require the kind of physical exertion that other sports are known for. There is no impact, little sweat, and a peculiar kind of athleticism associated with our sport. In light of this downplay, I am finally giving credit where it is due. Not only do we work as hard as any other sport, we have one of the longest seasons here.
Rifle has opened many doors for me. Initially, I was skeptical about the sport and joining was a shot in the dark for me (pun intended). I had no idea what to expect. However, the outcome has presented me with many more possibilities than I could have anticipated. For starters, rifle allowed me to participate in a varsity extracurricular activity despite my injury. As I have found out that I will not be able to row for the remainder of my time here, rifle has also given me the opportunity to learn a new skill and improve myself in a whole new way. I have many new friends on the team; people I would have probably never spoken to otherwise. Also, since the start of the 2012-2013 season, our team has come a long way. We even moved up from the sharpshooter to the expert small bore division. Every single person on the team has achieved personal records this year, and we fought our way into the Mid-Atlantic Conference Championship for air rifle. Although we didn’t win, everyone shot really well and we are really excited about what we will be capable of next year.
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