Unless you’ve been spending all your time at the gun range – which is a very good excuse – you’ve likely been enjoying at least some of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games coverage. It’s been on pretty much every evening at my house since it began last week.
I love the Olympics in general, but particularly the events you can find at the games in the winter. For whatever reason, watching people battle it out in the freezing cold, blowing wind, snow coming down conditions, makes me understand just how committed, dedicated and maybe a bit crazy some of these people are that compete.And how can you not love seeing a 17-year-old Red Gerard, with all sorts of promise for the future, win his first ever gold medal in snowboard slopestyle? Or watching the U.S. Women’s Hockey team continue their epic clashes against the Canadian women’s Olympic hockey team? And what can you even say about the biathletes??? Those men and women are superhuman. Laying prone and hitting disks smaller than 2 inches? Or standing and hitting targets smaller than 5 inches? At 50 meters? When you can barely breathe from an exhausting ski course? SUPERHUMAN.Or maybe best yet in this year’s games, watching an Olympic legend like Shaun White score his 3rd Olympic gold medal at the age of 31, trailing a much younger snowboarder (12-years to be exact) and needing an amazing performance but absolutely “nailing it” on his last attempt through the snowboard halfpipe. I guess I just swell up with pride when our athletes find success on this stage. I got a little misty-eyed watching the medal presentation and listening to the National Anthem when White was given his gold. I don’t even know him. And I most certainly know nothing about snowboarding, other than the one time I tried it I spent a lot of time on my backside. But who cares… it’s the Olympics, and it is, to quote my kids, “lit!”
There is a lot of turmoil in our country right now, with a lot of fighting over a whole host of issues. Our illustrious “leaders” in D.C. are starting to remind me of grade school playground bullies, on both sides. And even right now in our shooting sports industry there’s plenty of turmoil and extra finger-pointing.If you follow any of the YouTube gun community in particular, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Frankly, it’s gotten to be a bit much. Name calling and one-upmanship over who’s the stronger 2nd Amendment supporter or support group. Folks, there’s nothing like a good internal industry war to make our true opponents just stand back and enjoy the show as we beat the heck out of each other. No need for them to get dirty. The old saying “Who needs enemies with friends like these?” comes to mind. I understand family squabbles. But it shouldn’t be done over the internet. It’s not a healthy way to fight and it’s certainly not healthy for the industry. I hope we can move beyond it. Soon.
2017 was a tough year in the shooting sports industry. 2018 is off to a much better start, though there’s still plenty of concern over the health of the industry as we watch some of our largest and longest running companies struggle with financial issues.Thankfully, the feedback I came back with from Shot Show was very optimistic about our industry’s future. The number of new products is on the rise, and companies are seeing a bright outlook. I hope to see that trend and excitement continue from an international perspective at the upcoming IWA show in Germany in March.In the meantime, I hope you can take some time to support our nation’s athletes and their efforts during the Olympics. The games are on through February 25. Not only is it exciting TV, it’s the one time every couple of years this world actually comes together to celebrate accomplishment and achievements, instead of focusing on who might come up a bit short. It’s a refreshing change of pace.Until next time,Kenyon Gleason