Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Seeing Yourself On TV

Those of you that are reading this that are also television addicts understand the disappointment when a season ends. Those of you that are sports fans will find this familiar as it is similar to the experience of a season ending as well. To me, competition shows seem to fall in between the two which is why I think a lot of the sports fanatics I know seem to be the most loyal reality competition show viewers that I have come across.

I know a lot of people that watch all different kinds of these programs. My wife happens to be a Big Brother addict. A few of my former co-workers are Survivor fans. While most of the people I have known over the last few years never miss an episode of the Amazing Race. I have watched all of them and have enjoyed the episodes and seasons of those shows to varying degrees. I was even heavily into watching Amazing Race for a couple of years but that was more to see where they were going rather than what they were doing.

However, there is one competition show I never miss and unfortunately the season just ended leaving a hole in my Wednesday night viewing. The Top Shot competition came to a head last night as Phil Morden defeated Chris Cerino to conclude season five of the History Channel series. Regardless of your feeling regarding firearms if you watch the series you have to appreciate the skill that these men and women possess.

The final was the finest example of that skill and athleticism especially in the second and third challenges of the program. Both competitors were quick, safe, and precise throughout the show and while I had my favorites going into the program I was rooting for both men for different reasons.

Cerino demonstrated a level of calm and control that was only matched by his talent. He was a favorite of mine in season one and in the current all star season that just ended. I admired the intangibles that he has and his ability to use any firearm he put his hands on. All of the competitors could do the same to a certain degree but he seemed to do it with greater easy and confidence when it counted. I believe it was due in large part to his focus on fundamentals which came across more evident in his performance over many of the others.

I don’t think that Morden had the same level of skill and adaptability entering the season but I quickly got on the bandwagon as I watch him progress and eventually surpass the field. I guess the clincher for me was the fact that he is a self taught shooter like me. I think he summed it up best in his bio posted on the Top Shot page on “Shooting has nothing to do with your credentials,” he says. “If you pick up a gun and you’re good at it, it can take you anywhere. And I’ll be proof of that.” It is inevitable that no matter what show you watch, fiction or reality, you are going to relate to and root for someone you have something in common with.

While I would have been content regardless of who won, I was happy to see someone representing the self taught community take the title. In the end though, the show serves a much greater purpose. In a time when an irrational fear of firearms is prevalent, the show puts on display true talent, athletic, and skill based aspects of the responsible and sporting use of firearms. This is a sport. It just turns out that this is a sport with a real world application that can save your life. Now get to the range and practice.