Editor's Note: This article first appeared in the print edition of the January 2009 issue of NRA InSights, but we think its message of perseverance and courage rings just as true today, 10 years later.
My name is Mathew Amore. I’m 14 years old and I am a high-power shooter from New Jersey. My usual activities include wrestling and high-power shooting at my shooting range, Central Jersey Rifle and Pistol Club. I became interested in shooting about four years ago when my dad took me out shooting with a pellet gun. When I started getting older, I also started to expand my variety of shooting disciplines.
It was just over a year ago that I started in the Junior Program at my shooting club. There I started shooting smallbore for about two months, then I started shooting trap and skeet. Six months ago, our program instructor wanted to start a high-power team. Now I always loved shooting HP ever since I first shot my dad’s AR15, so I just had to join.
When I started, though, there was one problem: I’m a Type 1 insulin-dependent diabetic, and I wear an insulin pump. High-power shooting was the first time I had to wear a shooting jacket and the pump always got in the way. It was either my ammo holder wouldn’t sit right while standing, or the pump would be under me while lying prone. It was quite a hassle. I eventually overcame the problem and got used to it.
More recently, this past August our Junior HP team competed in the national matches at Camp Perry in Ohio. It was an amazing experience. But it was pretty tough on me. I had only done pit duty three times before Perry, and because there were so many more relays than I’m used to, I was usually the only one from my team down there. This meant that I had to be extremely careful and check my blood glucose number often because the people around wouldn’t be familiar with my symptoms. Plus, keeping hydrated is much more important to me because I can become dehydrated a lot easier than most people, and I suffer extreme fatigue…I could even go blind until I’m re-hydrated. Even when I wasn’t in the pits I had to follow that regimen throughout the day.
The first three days at Camp Perry, we went through the USMC training course. I found it very interesting and picked up many different techniques from the instructors and the Marines. When I first went to shoot prone during the course a Marine said to me, “You’re going to have a hard time shooting prone with that cell phone on your waist!” I then explained to him that I was a diabetic and it was my insulin pump. He was very surprised and found it interesting that I am able to work around the diabetes and still be able to shoot.
The entire trip was a huge learning experience for all of us. When we went we didn’t know where we were going to sleep on the base. When we got there we found out that we were staying in old WWII prisoner-of-war huts. Let’s just say it was some experience! I was very overwhelmed, but everyone was so nice and willing to help if I had a problem. We had a lot of fun and made many friends with people from across the country. Even though I came into the event a little nervous, I left feeling very comfortable with my surroundings. In conclusion, it was a great experience and I had a blast! I believe every shooter should go to Perry at least once, even if they’re nervous! It doesn’t take long to become acclimated with your surroundings there.