Thursday, March 23, 2006

Fire away

I see that Smith County has decided not to go ahead with a hunter safety class sponsored by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency in their public schools. Parents have got a little worked up about the live fire exercize and the idea of guns on school property.

I don't feel strongly either way, but somewhere I have a TWRA certificate showing that I passed that course when it was offered through Lawrence County High School.

The class was mostly a schedule filler and was taught by someone I'll call Coach Lame. We had about six weeks of hunter safety and 12 weeks of driver's ed. Driver's ed was interesting because we didn't have enough textbooks to go around. Coach Lame had a fondness for pop quizzes based on minor text details from Sportsmanlike Driving immediately after covering a chapter - and since I was in the race for the valedictory, I felt at a big disadvantage. There was no way I was going to suffer a B because of Coach Lame's stupid teaching methods. I informed the other valedictory candidate- J -in Coach Lame's class that I was intending to cheat, that I advised him to cheat as well, but that it was up to him. (I felt this notice was only sportsmanlike). I got an A, he got a B - and J began cheating with me at the start of the new six weeks.

I used to cheat by keeping the book open on my desk between me and J. We'd quietly flip through the pages, finding the answers and make As. Another guy in our class, let's call him Steve (that was his name), began sitting next to me and would cheat off my paper. One day Coach Lame spotted the open book on the table and accused Steve of cheating. Steve protested strongly, he had not been cheating from the book. Coach Lame asked me - in front of the whole class - "Was Steve looking at that book during the test?"

"No, sir," I replied.

"Well make sure it stays closed. I know you and J wouldn't cheat."

"Oh, no." I said wide-eyed, offended that he might even suggest it.

Steve later became a campaign worker for an Alabama Republican.

When it rolled around time for us to study hunter safety, Coach Lame became even lamer. While it was true that did have a driver's license (qualifying him in some sense to expound on the principles found within Sportsmanlike Driving) he was no hunter and no woodsman. Class consisted mostly of watching a series of doom-laden survival films that always ended in tears. We did go out one day to try somebody's compound bow by shooting at a rigged up target behind the band room. The draw weight was high, so after a couple of futile attempts trying to pull, I passed the bow on to someone else. Steve took it up, and being a burly fellow, had no trouble drawing back and releasing. He missed the target and the arrow shot past the front of the school. Coach Lame knew we had to find that arrow or he might be in big trouble, so we scouted around. Eventually, we discovered that Steve had shot it through the rubber gasket in the middle of the folding school bus door parked up empty in front of the school and the arrow was wedged in the driver's seat. The arrow was removed and no more was said.

At the end of term, we had our live fire exercise, on school property, supervised by a competent TWRA agent and it passed without incident. I got my badge and my certificate.


St. Caffeine said...

Hey, Vol, I'm assuming we had the same Coach Lame, though they did rotate the coaches among their "qualified" subjects occasionally. At the time I thought I was the next Davy Crockett so you can imagine how his fumbling with Hunter Safety infuriated me. By the way, did you hit any of the skeet during the live fire portion of the course?

Oh I don't remember, did you or J win the valedictory award? Wait, I seem to recall a tie of some sort; was M involved somehow too? Man, that was a LONG time ago!

Vol Abroad said...

Nah, it was very dubious tie for M and J at the top, then S, then RQ, then me.

And I hit nothing - though I did do slightly better a couple of years ago when I went out to a gun range in Essex.