Rama: For The Love of The Game

By KARLON N. RAMA
STAGE FIVE

INTERNATIONAL Range Officers Rudy Marcelo and Gasat “Bot” Ramos were my mentors in the National Range Officers Institute (NROI).

Thus, seeing them don the ever-so-familiar RO gray during the 1st Gov. George Arnaiz Cup practical shooting competition in Dumaguete last Saturday, brought warmth to this cold piece of tissue that I call my heart.

Sir Rudy and Sir Bot are among the very few Filipinos with International Range Officer credentials. The only other person I know with that rank is C/Insp. Nonilo Poliquit.

Currently, Marcelo is the NROI deputy executive director for the Visayas while Ramos is the area coordinator. Why NROI bigwigs like them still serve local matches could only be for the love of the game.

For those who’ve never seen a practical shooting competition, the range officer or RO is the guy who runs behind the shooter as he or she is engaging the “string” of targets that constitute a given “stage.”

In most cases, it is the RO who creates the stage and supervises the way it is set up, giving him a god-like knowledge of how the stage needs to be run and where the pitfalls are likely to be.

Without an RO, no practical shooting game can be sanctioned. Even for unsanctioned fun-shoots, to hold one without an RO present is a stupidity beyond any level of comprehension.

Normally, there are three ROs in a stage. The one with the timer and running behind the shooter is usually the chief. The two others keep track of scoring and prepping the shooters.

They are to practical shooting what referees are to a ball game. The only difference is, there aren’t any guns in basketball.

The primary consideration for every RO is and will always be safety and, to enforce that, they have the authority to disqualify a shooter whose gun handling is deemed “unsafe.”

During the Dumaguete game, with 114 shooters in attendance, four shooters, luckily none from Cebu, were disqualified and sent home for unsafe gun handling.

One shooter, in trying to maneuver a course, unconsciously broke the 180-degree rule and leveled his gun almost to the stomach of RO Joe Montalvan.

Montalvan, a seasoned shooter, stopped the competitor in transit, while repositioning himself to a safer angle, and ordered the shooter to “unload and clear” the firearm, then escorted him out of the range.

A frightful experience, I’m sure, for both Montalvan and the unwary shooter.

An RO’s job is a vital and thankless one and the only acceptable motivation for the job is the love for the game… and what a game it is.

Practical shooting is no ordinary game. It is a skill that one develops to the point of competence and, more importantly, a life-long devotion against a limiting mindset.

A trained shooter can draw a loaded and chambered firearm from a holster and fire two accurate shots at a target 10 yards ahead in less than a second.

Whether shooting defensively, as most civilian-shooters train to do, or tactically, as most law enforcers ought to train to do, shooting is a life-saving skill that every firearm owner must get into.

The Bullet(in). A group of firearm owners in the United States have petitioned for the Vatican’s recognition of St. Gabriel Possenti as patron saint of firearm owners.

St. Gabriel Possenti was a Catholic seminarian whose marksmanship and proficiency with handguns reportedly saved the village of Isola, Italy from a band of marauders in 1860.

The story goes that a band of soldiers from the army of Garibaldi entered the mountain village of Isola, Italy, sometime in 1860 and began burning and pillaging the town.

Possenti, with his seminary rector’s permission, ventured out to see when he walked into one of the marauders attempting to rape a young woman he had jumped on.

Possenti quickly grabbed the soldier’s revolver from his belt and ordered the marauder to release the woman. At gunpoint he disarmed another one and turned to see himself surrounded.

Not to be rattled, he aimed and fired at a lizard that was running across the street at that time, obliterating the poor reptile to lizard heaven.

The marauders, seeing the feat, left the village and their inhabitants alone.

(For more love for the game, stagefive@ teamemc.org)

25/02/2006

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