By Raeanne Ong (21S03C), Captain, and Ho Yaan, Claire (21S03J), Vice-Captain
It’s hard to imagine shooting as a sport. After all, the word “shooting” itself likely conjures up images of blockbuster spy films and sophisticated-looking firearms, but in reality, the sport itself is a lot different from what one might imagine. Besides not requiring much physical assertion, it also does not require perfect eyesight (surprise!) or an innately faultless sense of aim. On the contrary, our sport is one which prizes patience and resilience; having no prerequisites apart from a willingness to learn and a penchant for good balance, aim and precision.
At a glance, the process of shooting appears mundane and repetitive: repeatedly lifting our weapons, steadying our composure, and aiming at the target. However, while shooting might fail to impress visually, its outward simplicity betrays the vast amount of effort and concentration that is poured into each and every shot. At its core, shooting is a sport that demands a great extent of mental fortitude and sheer grit. Apart from having to be consistently focused, shooting requires us to set aside our emotions, and remain calm and centred in the present to deliver each and every shot to the best of our abilities. While our sport may not be one that is physically exhausting, it is, however, one that is mentally taxing, albeit very rewarding.
Every week, training is held in the school’s very own shooting range (yes, it exists!) elusively located in the school car park. Typically, we train for three hours at a time, twice to thrice a week during off-peak season (May to January) and up to four times a week nearing competition season (February to April). It is during this time that our CCA normally moves to train at Safra Yishun in order to better prepare and acclimatise us to the competition venue. Training externally also gives us flexible schedules and allows us to manage our time effectively while training for competitions like the NUS and NTU Invitational Shoots, Singapore Cups and National School Games.
For many shooters, these competitions, being the sole opportunity to showcase the skill tirelessly honed over the years, are the ultimate culmination of all our efforts. The singularity of these opportunities is what gives the competitions their element of unpredictability and volatility; fueling the adrenaline-charged atmosphere that all shooters have grown to know and love. It is the pursuit of this sensation that inspires us to keep pushing on despite the difficulties and frustrations we may face.
Thankfully, we are always under the care of our experienced and dedicated coaches, Coach Ding and Coach Li, who have even competed in the Olympics before. It is thanks to their guidance that our CCA obtained three team golds and one bronze in the past year.
While joining a Sports CCA might seem daunting due to the high commitment required, on the contrary, training is seen as a time to relax and destress for many of us. After a long and hectic day at school, the shooting range serves as a respite from the perpetual motion of everyday life as we seek solace in the familiar monotony of training. As much as CCA provides us a rare moment of peace and quiet, it likewise confers us personal time and space to reflect on our day or to simply immerse ourselves in our own headspace.
As a whole, our CCA comprises a close-knit family of less than 30 members each year, allowing us to form strong bonds and even stronger friendships that will last beyond our time in CCA. Even though there are days when our efforts don’t always reap the desired results, we are heartened by the knowledge that our batchmates and coaches are always right behind us, supporting us all the way. For every disappointment we face and every bad shot we make, there is nothing more reassuring than the fact that there is always bound to be a knowing smile and a comforting word waiting for us on the other side of the firing line. Beyond our passion for the sport, it is our fondness for the people around us that truly sustains our love for CCA.
For a sport that is so defined by scores and numerical values, its true worth, ironically, lies in its process rather than the results. In daring to try and daring to fail, we learn to dream and we learn to fall. In our ceaseless pursuit of perfection, it is not the final destination which matters, but rather, the people we meet and memories we make along the way. After all, at the end of every training, there is nothing better than taking home wide smiles, good laughs, and fond memories that we’ll forever hold dear in our hearts.