Being a certified official and a competitor sometimes causes conflict. What if you are shooting a stage and do something you know should be a penalty or a disqualification but the RO doesn’t call it? What do you do? Do you keep quiet? Do you kindly educate the RO about the mistake and take the proper score?
I would hope that everyone in our sport would do the right thing and admit to the penalty and take it. But I especially hope that any of our certified range officials, at any level of certification, would lead by example and do the right thing and make sure the proper penalties are applied.
Yes, it is hard to admit you have done an action that should be a procedural or a DQ. But sometimes ROs don’t know the rules very well and don’t know what to do. I had an accidental discharge during a reload with my PCC on a classifier a couple years ago at a local match. Mag wasn’t dropping and I shifted my grip to get better leverage on the ejection button, but also got my next finger on the trigger. That hard squeeze dropped the mag and pulled the trigger. The RO stood there stunned, not knowing what to do (I think he was uncertified). I told him it was a DQ and to give me the range commands to clear the PCC. I also have forgotten to switch to strong hand or weak hand only or do the mandatory reload or forget to engage a target. While it is interesting to hear the ROs debate the penalties, I gladly help them out because they usually apply too few penalties or none when there should be some.
I know some of you are saying that I have to do this because I am ADNROI. Yeah, rules are sort of my job, but even before I was a RMI or RM or CRO I was always striving to get the rules correct. I didn’t really know the rules until I took my RO seminar, and even then I was still learning the rules and often came home after matches and looked up things which I thought were called wrong at the match. It took me awhile to get the self-confidence to speak up when bad calls were made, but remember that the rulebook is your friend and don’t be afraid to look up things during matches, even local matches.
Ultimately it is up to you to do the right thing as a competitor and range official. I just hope we all remember that this is a sport and that sportsmanlike behavior goes a long way to ensuring the proper calls are made.
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