Power, adrenaline and responsibility in one shot
THERE'S nothing like the feeling of holding a gun. That's something I've always heard but never quite believed.
Until yesterday, when I got to shoot a bullet at a make-believe bunny.
Now I know that it's power, adrenaline and responsibility, all rolled into one.
On Sunday I had the opportunity to go along to the Sporting Shooters' Association of Australia's Ladies Day in Bundaberg and it was hands down the most fun I've had in a long time.
The first time SSAA Bundaberg branch treasurer Luke Augutis handed me a loaded gun, I swear I could here my mother, friends and teachers (basically anyone who's seen how clumsy I am) holding their breath, saying "No, bad idea, take it off her right now".
But, like most things in life, you get over it. You move past the fear, the initial instinct to throw the gun on the ground and run.
That's when I noticed I was buzzing with energy.
My entire body felt like a power circuit. Electricity was streaming from my toes all the way to my trigger-ready finger.
As I pressed my shoulder against the butt of the .22 rifle and lightly rested the side of jaw on it, the first thought that popped into my head was: "Am I about to break my face in two?"
Turns out, the recoil was barely noticeable, which Luke patiently reminded me of over and over, with little success.
But I think that was the best part of the SSAA Ladies Day. Just how enthusiastic and patient Luke and his wife Jacqui were with the some 30 women who attended.
Whether you were an experienced shooter or a woman who doesn't even know how to aim a netball let alone point and shoot a gun (me), you were welcome.
Volunteers literally sacrificed the clothes off their back to accommodate the ladies.
Before I stepped onto the rifle range, SSAA Bundaberg branch vice president Mick Small even handed me his bush hat and a pair of closed-in shoes he'd been wearing seconds before.
When Luke gave me the go ahead to pull the trigger, my favourite Eminem track pounded through my head.
My palms were sweaty, knees weak, arms were heavy, I was nervous but on the surface I looked calm and ready.
Never have the lyrics to Lose Yourself been more relateable.
But I shot the rifle and my bullet hit the target with a loud ping.
It was awesome. The crowd was great, the camaraderie even better, and the supportive, safe and friendly environment definitely helped combat the nerves.
I'd recommend catching up with the SSAA Bundaberg branch any day. They're a not-for-profit club run by volunteers and they're looking to get more of the public involved, especially with themed events like yesterday's Ladies Day, which there will be more of next year.
"We want to show people how fun it can be," Luke said.
"We had a good turn out and a lot more interest for what we could cater for."