Last night I took our niece Little Sonya Oakley to rifle club practice. After a year of not-so-remarkable shooting, for who-knows-why, she has increased her scores dramatically in the last few weeks. Now she’s qualified to compete at the match in Missoula next month. Big doin’s.

But she had some trouble last night in prone position with her shots being consistently too high. Little Oakley worked her tail off getting through all her positions, then coming back to prone to fix the problem, which proved to be beyond a simple changing of her hand grip. The instructor changed the sights on her rifle, and she shot another round of targets — her sixth. The poor child was so fatigued we’re not sure if it helped or not. (And yet she had energy to wait around to see how a classmate was shooting while I stood by the door in my coat sighing and rolling my eyes like a little-miss-petulance.)

Anyone who thinks that competitive shooting isn’t an athletic sport needs to come spend time on the range. It’s physically and mentally exhausting. Little Oakley shot for well over two hours, and I was amazed at her determination. Teenagers can surprise us sometimes. In good ways. I like that. Even when I’m sighing and rolling my eyes.

I didn’t get home until 9 p.m. I was asleep by 9:45. Apparently, I think being a spectator is physically and mentally exhausting too. She has a band concert tonight. Luckily the kids hit enough sour notes to keep me awake and thoroughly amused.

By the by, did you notice that I added a new page for samples of my columns?

Right there at the top under “Write on” at: pam(at)