Our inaugural Ask the All-Americans column takes a look at what it means to be an Amateur Trapshooting Association All-American. Earning a position on the team means many different things to a lot of people – to both those who have made the team and those who strive to someday make it.
With that being said, our staff at Trapshooting Online decided to provide some insight on what it means to them. Take a look at what 4-Time All-American and Trapshooting Online.com Founder Dean Spiridon had to say about the topic:
Q: What does being an All-American mean to you?
A: Being an All-American means several things to me. Most importantly, it means you’ve reached the top of the sport and have now become a role model, an ambassador if you will, for the game. Nobody tells you about the responsibility component when you first set out on your quest, but it is the biggest part of being an All-American.
All eyes are on you as an All-American. People you have never met suddenly want to talk to you, ask your opinion, and be associated with you. You’ll overhear conversations between total strangers who are discussing your recent scores. Some may even claim to have taught you a thing or two (true story – somebody once bragged that he was my coach, even though I had never met him). Believe it or not, there are some jealous people who may even hope that you shoot poorly.
Getting to the top is a lot of fun and gives you all of the confidence in the world, but the hardest work begins once the ATA sends you that package in the mail – the package that contains a congratulatory letter from the President, a pin, and a patch. Nobody rewards you with a million dollar check, cases of shells, or a new gun. As a 13-14 year old kid, it is difficult to comprehend. You ask yourself, “this is all I get?” Wow, that couldn’t be farther from the truth!
As I’ve gotten older, I realized I received much, much more than a tangible item, such as cash or bullets. I had to commit to being responsible, composed, mature, and humble. Those are tall orders for a new teenager to fulfill, but behaviors that I’m now glad I had to learn.
That’s what being an All-American means to me.