By Vera Koo, Women’s Outdoor News, Published May 30, 2014
I went to war this week.
Preparing for any major competition, athletic or otherwise, is like going to battle. You practice, drill and train for months. You ensure that your equipment is flawless, you create contingency plans for all potential aberrations and your logistics are exact. You eat, breathe, sleep and dream your goal. Then, you rise the next morning and work even harder.
This is the life of a warrior, whether the discipline is athletics, politics, business or academia.
My war this week was not with the other fine shooters competing at the NRA’s National Championship, the 2014 Bianchi Cup. On some level, my war was no longer even with the sport of shooting and the endless quest to shoot a perfect score. My war this week was within myself and with my own history.
In comparison to my standard barometer of excellence, this week was not my finest performance. However, I am as proud of this performance as nearly any other on my resume. Three hundred and eighty days ago, I was in a hospital just a few miles away. Well-meaning and talented doctors informed me that I might never walk again. I accepted their advice, but not their surrender. With hard work, discipline, a strong team and a regimented battle plan, I spent the last 12 months preparing for this week.
Were the circumstances different, I might view yesterday as a disaster; I missed 4 plates. I have missed 4 plates only once in 18 years of shooting. But, this match took more courage than I have ever needed. After a devastating experience, it is easy to spend the subsequent hours berating yourself, replaying every moment, thinking about what you could have done. Even the greatest warriors may want to simply turn around and retreat. But, the true warrior bandages her proverbial wounds and returns to the battlefield to fight another day. I feel so grateful for the gift of this week. Many people helped me return to this battlefield and I drew strength and courage from their own faith in me.