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Cousin Stan would be Proud

by Hap Rocketto

The Old Man had five siblings, two older sisters and a younger brother and sister. As a result I have a dozen cousins. Because The Old Man was the middle child there is an odd break in the demographics of my cousins, there are seven who were born before, or during the very early days of World War II and five of us who are, for obvious reasons Baby Boomers.

My Aunt Edith’s daughter, Cousin Marilyn, is of the first group. She married Cousin Stan who, through dint of intelligence, hard work, and ambition became a very successful partner in a prominent Wall Street concern. Cousin Stan, generous of spirit, made it a point to offer to open the same door, which he had passed through, to each of the younger cousins when they graduated from college. He made it clear though that it would not be in his firm and the only direct assistance he would give would be to provide an entry into the world of high finance. He would be happy to act as a mentor but in all other ways you were on our own; forbidden to trade upon your relationship with him or his name, fair enough terms to live with, all things considered. Some of us took his advantage of his largess while others moved onto other fields of endeavor.

I opted for a career in education. I really don’t have a mind for finance and I did not want to live in, or around, New York City. I am a country mouse. Little did I know that many years later I would end up as a wildly successful wheeler and dealer in a rather small and unusual commodities market.

At the end of the iron sight phase of Camp Perry in 2006 I threw together a trip to a ballgame at Jacobs Field in Cleveland between the Indians and Detroit Tigers. Included in the group were German Salazar, Shawn Carpenter, and Erik Hoskins. All three were close to the cut off for the Dewar Team and, because we would be coming back after scores were posted, made arrangements with my brother Steve-who felt he wanted an early night-to check the scores, to make any necessary challenges, and call us with the final team roster.

About three quarters of the way to Cleveland German’s cell phone chimed as the first informant called. Told that he had made the Dewar he turned and asked me if I would like to be his coach. I quickly nodded in the affirmative; my greed for free doughnuts and reflected glory knows no bounds or shame. A few seconds later Shawn’s phone sounded off and Steve, who was on the other end, had Kevin Nevius on the line. Kevin also made the team and wanted to know if I was available to coach him. Already committed to German I thought quickly and went into broker mode, negotiating with Shawn to fill in for me. Both parties readily accepted and I sat back, smugly pleased with myself for thinking so quickly on my feet-so to speak-and setting things up so quickly and so well.

I had hardly had a chance to begin to enjoy my supercilious self satisfaction when Erik’s phone went off. Told that he was on the team Erik turned to me looking for a coach. What had been a van load of baseball fans had suddenly turned into something akin to the Chicago Board of Options Exchange for Dewar coaches. As the mobile trading pit motored closer to ‘The Jake” I began frantically working the phones to find a coach for Erik. After all my reputation, for what it is worth, as a coach broker was a stake.

Unable to reach anyone a wracked my brains and then remembered that Greg Tomsen would more than likely be at the Dewar match to observe. Uncertain as I was, in order to keep Erik relaxed, I assured him that Tomsen would coach. I was pretty sure that he would be happy to team up with Erik, if he showed up. Having boldly written a check that Tomsen would have to cash I now knew what it must have felt like in 1929 when everyone was buying on margin and the market began to falter.

The next morning I zipped off to the line at the crack of dawn, less in search of German who I knew would be there bright and early, but to be there to be sure to Shanghai Greg-if he showed up-before any one else got to him. After insuring a long and excruciating wait, probably to teach me the error of my ways, the Gods of Shooting overlooked my imprudent, but well intentioned, act of Hubris and bailed me out. Tomsen came moseying onto the range just in time to save my reputation and, as promised, coached Erik.

It was a bit of a heady experience to move from my usual situation as a simple, and you can take that anyway you wish, supplicant begging for a spot as a Dewar line coach and a free doughnut to a power position as the coach broker for 15 per cent of the team. Cousin Stan would be proud.

The early morning firing of the Dewar Team Match

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Category: Hap's Corner, Hopkinton Prone Matches

About the Author: Hap Rocketto is a Distinguished Rifleman with service and smallbore rifle, member of The Presidents Hundred, and the National Guard’s Chief’s 50. He is a National Smallbore Record holder, a member of the 1600 Club and the Connecticut Shooters’ Hall Of Fame. He was the 2002 Intermediate Senior Three Position National Smallbore Rifle Champion, the 2012 Senior Three Position National Smallbore Rifle Champion a member of the 2007 and 2012 National Four Position Indoor Championship team, coach and captain of the US Drew Cup Team, and adjutant of the United States 2009 Roberts and 2013 Pershing Teams. Rocketto is very active in coaching juniors. He is, along with his brother Steve, a cofounder of the Corporal Digby Hand Schützenverein. A historian of the shooting sports, his work appears in Shooting Sports USA, the late Precision Shooting Magazine, The Outdoor Message, the American Rifleman, the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s website, and most recently, the apogee of his literary career, pronematch.com.

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