Former Hoplophobe now Champion Shooter.....or, get thee to an NRA course


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hillbilly
June 30, 2006, 08:56 AM
http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060629/SPORTS07/606290337&SearchID=73249126552443

Fears behind her, Zidek is shooting for gold

By Jim Sheahan
Poughkeepsie Journal

Pat Zidek used to get so upset whenever her husband decided to clean his guns, her hands would get sweaty and she'd have to physically leave the apartment they were living in at the time.

"I was one of those petrified housewives," she recounted recently. "I was terrified of guns, and my husband kept firearms in the house. You always hear about people get killed cleaning their guns I just knew he was going to get shot."

That was a long time ago.

The very thing that used to create the most stress and anxiety in her life is now the activity that gives her the most relief and fulfillment. Zidek, 63, owns numerous Empire State Games medals in shooting, and she'll be going for more later this month in Rochester.

"It was all about education," Zidek said. "My husband wanted me to get a gun permit, so that I could have his guns if anything happened to him. Well, in 1970, a man could get a gun permit, but a woman had to take a safety course first."

So she took a National Rifle Association safety course, just to obtain the permit, and that changed everything.

"I learned to know when the gun was loaded and when it wasn't," Zidek said. "I learned a respect for the firearm. In the house, I could just check the gun for myself if I was nervous about it.

"It changed my whole philosophy and mental state. My fears were reduced."

She's been on target ever since.

"As part of the course you ended up shooting at a range," said Zidek, a resident of Hopewell Junction. "I found that I loved shooting and I was fairly good at it. The gun just became a vehicle for what I enjoyed, like a bowling ball to a bowler. I enjoyed shooting holes through paper; I ended up needing a firearm to do that."

Her husband bought her a .22-caliber pistol for Christmas that year, then a .45 on Mother's Day, even though she's never been a mother. She's been competing on the range since, and now she's a certified NRA instructor, teaching and running classes at the Dutchess County Pistol Association.

"You don't have to be strong," Zidek said. "You have to have a good mental attitude. I find the concentration very relaxing. When you're focusing on just being accurate with that firearm, you can't think about anything else. Everything else leaves your mind at that point, and that's what's so relaxing for me."

She earned a silver medal last summer on her home range not one of her more prolific years. But she seems to revel as much in educating people as she does in competing.

"I teach a firearm course for women at DCPA," Zidek said. "Many of the women right off the bat say, 'I'm not holding a gun.' I tell them that's fine, and then when we go out to the range, they can just go home.

"But many of them, when they see the range, ask to shoot just once," she continued. "Then they want to shoot again. Those are the women we can't get off the range now."

Jim Sheahan can be reached at jsheahan@poughkeepsiejour nal.com

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sm
June 30, 2006, 09:16 AM
"But many of them, when they see the range, ask to shoot just once," she continued. "Then they want to shoot again. Those are the women we can't get off the range now."

:D :D

creitzel
June 30, 2006, 10:59 AM
Great story. Reminds me of when I took my mom shooting for the first time.

She would visibly recoil from the gun at first, and then once she shot it a couple of times, she realized that it wasn't going to bite her, and she relaxed and started enjoying herself.

After that, I took my Aunt Donna, and had a similar experience with her.

The good news is now, all of my mom's other sisters are lined up, wanting me to take them shooting too :evil:

Chris

Vitamin G
June 30, 2006, 03:38 PM
When you're focusing on just being accurate with that firearm, you can't think about anything else. Everything else leaves your mind at that point, and that's what's so relaxing for me.

Thats an outstanding way of putting the zen of shooting. I tried to get something that concise for a long time. All your problems go away, and there's nothing in the world worth paying attention to, other than your breathing, the pad of your finger, three little dots, and tiny concentric little circles, 10 yards away.

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