By Vera Koo, Women’s Outdoor News, August 4, 2015

Before I met my husband, Carlos, I had no background in sports. I did not even take physical education classes in school.

Carlos and I met before I turned 18 years old, and we married in 1969. One of my marriage philosophies is that anything my husband likes to do, I should learn it, because if my husband is interested in something, he will give me the time and support to learn that activity. And I try to never miss an opportunity to learn something.

Carlos has had an interest in various sports, so over the years, I have learned camping, equestrian skills, windsurfing, water skiing and snow skiing, among other activities.

Although I did not know it at the time, these sports helped prepare me for years later when I became involved in competitive shooting.

Take windsurfing, for example. What a challenging learning experience that was.

I first started windsurfing in 1980 when Carlos and I were living in Singapore. I did not particularly enjoy being in water. I am petite, and at that point in my life I was not a hardcore athlete, so trying to command the humongous sail while standing on the far edge of the board felt like pulling a 60-pound weight.

During my first windsurfing class, my hands started bleeding, and I developed large bruises from my legs slamming against the board. I had no idea how to stabilize myself. Standing on the board felt like I was trying to balance myself on an oversized bar of soap. After lunch that day, I taped up my hands and resumed practicing.

The instructor told me I had to be committed to 2 weeks of practice to see some improvement. So every day for 2 weeks, I went to a lagoon and practiced on a rented board. My husband and the instructor watched as I struggled to learn the skills that were taught in class. After 2 weeks, I was a pathetic case.

My instructor then told me I might need 4 weeks to see some positive results, so I kept practicing. When I did not have a good handle on the skills after 4 weeks, the instructor suggested it might take another month. After 2 months, I still did not have the skills mastered.

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