I sabotaged myself. I put one in the dirt completely missing the target. Zero points. Instead of winning by five points, I gave up first place and was down five, a poor second.
I remember the shot. It started with a good hold, in the X ring. But it was like someone then started a wrestling match as the front sight slew around in an ever widening corkscrew motion and, before I could command “Stop!” to abort the shot, it went “Bang!” into the dirt.
I was momentarily aghast but this was the final Rapid fire string and I had to quickly refocus for the next shot.
At a point in the competition when I was almost assured of a win, I fired my absolutely worst shot of the … month? Of the year?
I blew it.
In the days that followed, I would come to realize that I had just experienced one of the effects of the fear of winning. In a fraction of a second, I had sabotaged myself to avoid it. A demon, “The ID” as ancients have described it, took over and delivered ruin and destruction while my conscious mind could only watch, frozen in horror.
To my Facebook lament on what had happened, Jim Henderson, multi-time US national champion, gave the phenomenon an indirect nod of recognition and, more importantly, encouragement for the cure when he commented, “The more you’re in that position, the more you’ll be comfortable with it. It just takes time.”
The dark side is within each of us. It can be quelled, but apparently it takes time and patience.
What amazing creations we are!