I've been feeling introspective lately regarding why I shoot USPSA matches, and why I spend time practicing. A few years ago I found myself attending three or four assorted matches each month, and practicing at the range frequently. I was getting better too! Then commitments to other activities, and family stuff caught up, and shooting became a bit more irregular. I missed it. I did manage to take some classes, which, while beneficial, added to my consternation over not getting to take part in the sport as frequently as I wanted.
This year I've managed to shoot a match or two each month. I get to the range several times a month to practice, and I try to dry fire on occasion too. Am I progressing as I did a few years ago? Hardly. Do I expect to? Nope. Am I having fun? YES. You see, I'm getting back to the "roots" of why I started shooting competitively in the first place; because it's fun. I have no delusions of winning a major, or even local match. I won't make Master (but maybe, just maybe, I'll make B someday.) Heck, I'm taking TripleFlex for my knees, and my back protests when I bend over to reset steel poppers at matches, so keeping my expectations realistic goes a long way towards happiness!
When I go to a match I'm there to have fun taking on challenges I can't get at the practice range. I'm there to have a good time with like-minded folk. I'm there to enjoy the weather (if it cooperates.) I've gone back and re-read some of my previous match posts, and noticed that the people, the travel, the atmosphere, were as much a part of my memories as the actual shooting.
When I'm competing, I'm competing against myself, against previous performances. If I don't shoot some challenge or scenario like I wanted, that becomes a challenge for next time. Believe me, matches are a lot more fun when you laugh off a bad stage and move on. Later, when I hit the range to practice I'll try to work on those issues. AND I'll also spend some time just putting holes in paper — for the fun of it.