by Matt Chezem, Guest Blogger - Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Matt Chezem is California native, introduced to high power rifle shooting by his grandfather. He learned to shoot with the same type of rifle his grandfather used in World War II, an M1 Garand. Chezem has won gold medals in the USA Shooting National Championships and National Junior Olympic Championships, and competes as a member of the University of Akron rifle team, where he is majoring in nutrition. More recently, Matt has been spending time at the Olympic Training Center, trying to earn a spot for the 2016 Rio Olympics. He competed at the NRA National Smallbore Rifle Championships in Bristol, Indiana this year and shared his story with us, you can read it here.
In this article, Matt shares one of the events that take place after the Conventional Prone Championships, the Mentor Match...
The next morning was my favorite match, the Mentor Match. The Mentor Match is a chance for juniors to shoot with a more experienced shooter and learn while you both shoot a target. This match is an absolutely wonderful opportunity to help the up and coming shooters improve and learn some of the finer details about wind reading and prone shooting. Hank Gray paired me up with Malori Brown, a young girl from Texas whom I had not met before or seen at any matches. I was really excited to help her in any way that I could and figured that wind reading would probably be the best way to help.
As we were waiting for the match to start we talked about some of the finer details of reading the flags and anticipating how the wind will change. Once we started shooting we both supported the other shooter by calling out any weird things that were happening on target or on the range. In between targets we talked about what we noticed and how it applied to shooting in different conditions.
Malori shot very well at 400-27X and I was super excited to shoot a perfect 400-40X to propel us into 1st place! I was thrilled for her to get some podium time and see firsthand how attention to detail pays off while on the line. Hopefully she takes what we talked about and puts it into her tool bag so she can draw from the experience in the future as she climbs the ranks.
That evening I packed up my car and reflected on my experience over the past few days. Immediately I felt the love of my sport welling up inside me and the competitive fire burning stronger than it had in a very long time. Smiling, I realized how great shooting is and set my sights on my next shooting goal and dreamed of putting in the hard work to become one of the best in the world. Shifting into gear I knew that this trip was exactly what I needed and pulled onto the highway towards the setting sun.