Coolibar continues highlighting our Sponsored Athletes for 2014. Here, long range marksman Jim Webster talks about striving for excellence and staying safe at the same time.
By Jim Webster
If I were to wager, I’d bet most of you have probably heard the phrase, “you have to burn before you tan”. That was a favorite quote around my house. We heard it every year from relatives when the family would go to VA Beach during the summer.
Vacation was always the last two weeks in August; right before school started when the sun absolutely baked the sand every day. You left for the beach first thing in the morning and didn’t come home until dinner. Umbrellas – not a chance. If you got too hot you just jumped in the water. That’s just the way it was 35 years ago. And bake we did, then peel, then eventually the pink would turn brown by the time we were ready to head back to NY.
I am fortunate that my father’s side of the family is from the St. Kitts, a small island in the Caribbean about 200 miles southeast of San Juan. This heritage means I tan quite easily, and over the years I have spent more than my share of time in the sun. So far I have been lucky. I will turn 49 this summer and have only had one spot on my arm that needed to be checked. It turned out to be nothing.
But that wasn’t the case for a friend of mine. Crockett, as he was known, was 50 years old in October of ‘99 when the doctor examined what he thought was a mole on his shoulder. It proved to be melanoma, and a short time later my friend lost his fight with skin cancer.
Long-range shooting competitions are one of my passions. Events are held in wide-open areas. They have to be for safety purposes. Picture an area that is 10 football fields long by five football fields wide.
Shooting begins early in the morning and runs until evening (e.g. similar to the days at the beach), and the only shade is what you find under the brim of your hat. Take in too much sun during the day and not only will your performance suffer, you could find yourself in a fight where the odds are not in your favor.
In my mind, what makes me an athlete it is what makes us all athletes: a willingness to push ourselves through whatever adversity life presents. Whether it is parenting, being a good friend, or success in work or competition, inherently we all want to do well. It feels good to perform well, and even better to win. Being able to harness this drive separates an average performance from an exceptional one.
Am I different than most? I don’t view it that way. I am fortunate to have a supportive family and good friends. I do everything I can to make each day and each experience the best possible.
The bottom line: I enjoy spending time outside with my family and traveling to competitions. I enjoy the beach, and can’t wait to go back. Simply stated, I don’t want to miss out on any of those opportunities. If being smart about my exposure to UV makes those things possible, then it is worth my time and effort. Coolibar makes is easy with comfortable active wear for every sport.
Have fun and stay safe,