February 10, 2006

MSM, The Shooting Sports And The Olympics

I grew up in the south. I can still point you to communities where school attendance is less than 50% on the opening day of deer season & dove season. Field trials weren't something that only dog breeders & trainers got excited over. (As a matter of fact I looked through the archives of my old blogspot site & found this post which is about a site that has links to downloadable video clips that are not in the public domain. Of relevance would be a film called Bird Dogs from sometime in the 1940's.) In Switzerland they televise the national shooting championships.

The point is there is still a lot of popular interest in the shooting sports. The Outdoor Life Network & The Outdoor Channel (the latter which features a show called The Shooting Gallery hosted by none other than Colorado gun nut & blogger Michael Bane) are cable channels that recognize the market for televised shooting programs.

So where's the MSM?

Usually absent.

However even they make exceptions. I was talking to this rather lovely lady not too long ago & she asked if I liked sports. I told her I did & in fact was shooting in a match in a few weeks. She then asked, genuinely I might add, "Is shooting really a sport?" After I explained that the Olympics considered it as such, & that some formal competitions had been around here since the late 19th & early 20th centuries she realized that target shooting was in fact a sporting event.

The big (& only) shooting sport during the winter Olympics is the Biathlon. It combines cross country skiing with riflery. As a side note among the various shooting sports in the summer Olympics the Modern Pentathlon is perhaps the most grueling. It combines fencing, a foot race, pistol shooting swimming & horseback riding in order to simulate what a cavalry soldier behind enemy lines might have to deal with.

However while the Pentathlon is obviously the most physically demanding event the shooting portion uses air pistols at 10 meters whereas the Biathlon uses .22LR bolt actions at 50 meters. Not that air pistol at 10 meters isn't demanding, it's just not the same for me when there's no cartridge to be chambered, fired, extracted & ejected.

Now personally I'd rather see what the shooters did with a modern martial arm, such as the Sig 550 or the Valmet/Sako Rk.95
(neither of which I must note uses direct gas impingement. heh.) since the event, like many Olympic events, was supposed to be a contest of martial skills. In fact the origins of the Biathlon go back to 1767 when Norwegian border patrol companies held competitions amongst themselves. & yes; if I were in good enough shape to compete I'd argue that the range should be moved to between 300 & 500 yards (yards damn it!) & Garands be passed out, or at least to allow me to use mine. But maybe that's just me.

Yahoo Sports has a Biathlon page with news articles about the athletes competing this year. They also have a schedule of the events up (biathlon has a few variations that are treated as different sports with medals for each). You'll note they have the actual times of the events as well as the times when those events are televised & on which channels.

NBC will carry 5 events with the remaining 6 going to the USA Network. & the times are not unreasonable for the most part.

As of February 10th at 05:00 hours this is the television schedule for the 2006 Biathlon events:

Feb 11 7-9 am Men's 20km Final (live) USA

Feb 13 3-11 am Women's 15km Final (live) USA

Feb 14 [TBA?] Men's 10km Sprint Final (live) USA

Feb 16 6-11 am Women's 7.5km Sprint Final (live) USA

Feb 18 Noon-6 pm Men's Pursuit Final NBC

Feb 18 Midnight-1 am ET/PT Women's Pursuit Final NBC

Feb 21 6-8 am Men's Relay Final USA

Feb 21 4-5 pm 4X7.5km relay NBC

Feb 23 6-8 am Women's Relay Final (live) USA

Feb 25 1-6 pm Women's 12.5km Final NBC

Feb 25 8-11:30 pm ET/PT Men's 15km Final NBC

Note: USA is not the United States of America. Similarly NBC is not the Nation of Boulder Colorado. They are the networks televising the respective events.

So if you are interested in this sort of thing try to catch at least one of them. Better yet, try to get an anti-gunner or a fence sitter to watch with you & see that firearms are used for legitimate sporting events. It might help them change their views, it might not. But I should say it would be a little dishonest (& counter-productive) to not mention the martial origins of this & other Olympic events.

After all the reason for the shooting sports is not the gathering of trophies or the winning of medals, but to encourage competition & most importantly practice in the use of martial arms by the citizenry.

Now if we could just get ABC to cover the Nationals at Camp Perry...

Posted by Publicola at February 10, 2006 05:14 AM | TrackBack

Two changes to the pentathalon:

Change the fencing event to sabres, something that at least resembles a serious combat sword, instead of that silly epee thing.

And get real pistols. Pentathalon was made for military couriers (trivia bit: competitors who actually are in the military wear uniforms in the equestrian event), so they should use something that was, at least at some point in time, a military service pistol. The event was created by Napoleon; blackpowder muzzleloaders would therefore be appropriate, if slow.

Posted by: Heartless Libertarian at February 10, 2006 10:22 PM
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