I didn’t start shooting until I was 49 years old. I was intimidated by many things, just one of those things being that most women shooters I saw were young, even teenagers. Was I too old to play this sport? As a researcher, I started looking for older women who began shooting later in life and I happened upon champion shooter Vera Koo and found her inspiring. So, when I got the chance to review her second book, “Wisdom and Things: Essays From An Unlikely Champion,” I felt excited for the opportunity to learn even more about her. I came to realize that we shared something in common – as two women who came to the shooting sports later in life.
One way this book is different than most memoir-type of books is that it is not written in chronological order, but rather in categories, so while it jumps around a little bit in terms of order of years, each piece fits within its category:
- Becoming a Champion
- Get Knocked Down? Get Up Stronger
- A Little Religion. A Little Philosophy. A Little Introspection
- Lessons From Travel
One of the first things we learn about Vera is that nothing stops her – not sexism, not racism, and certainly not ageism. She could have easily been one who complained about these things and become bitter. But, she brushed them off and didn’t let them affect her in the slightest. What a wonderful example for us.
Another one of her revelations that I also really appreciated and could relate to was that she admitted she has the personality of a student, not a teacher. I’ve had a lot of women ask me to teach them and I am honored that they feel I could, but I’ve come to the realization that teaching is not my skillset. It was a relief to read that Vera made this same statement about herself and feels no pressure about it – something I can learn from.
Vera’s frankness about age affecting health and strength is refreshing, as she gives advice about diet and exercise. Her comments on cooking and eating chocolate made me laugh in agreement, as well.
Vera’s “wisdom” also reminded me of a few things:
- “You have power to create the life you want.” This has been my philosophy for many years, I just had to be reminded of it.
- “The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve seen that every hardship carries a valuable lesson and a chance to emerge stronger on the other side.” Another good reminder for these turbulent times.
“Wisdom and Things” is really a reflection of lessons learned from experiences, work ethic, endurance and faith in God. This short afternoon read during this time of extreme crisis in the world left me feeling renewed, positive and hopeful. Thank you, Vera.