The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. At least that is the case with Shooting Sport-Pistol competitors Frank and Jacob Barthel. Jacob, 12 years old, is the son of Frank, and both father and son are ready to have family fun at the 2016 Meijer State Games of Michigan Winter Games.
As the first competitors to register for the Winter Games, these athletes are excited for the competition. With a grandfather who was a member of the United States Navy and a father who was a member of the United States Army, Frank grew up in an atmosphere that was conducive to learning the sport. His interest in shooting sports started at an early age with hunting, and later was supported by the law enforcement career he chose. From there, Frank’s interest grew and he now enjoys coaching youth shooting sports.
His love of coaching and supporting youth helped his son to become a skilled athlete. Jacob learned about bow and firearm safety from his dad, and then together they started a 4H club shooting air rifle. As that venture began to grow, Jacob learned how to shoot a .22 and is now shooting pistols.
As a competitor, Frank looks up to his grandfather who shared a quote with him, “The reward for a man’s toil is not what he gets from it, rather what he becomes from it” (Anonymous). Frank adds, “The steps you take to reach your goal are more important than the snap shot of success you may enjoy.” He has lived through these words, and continues to teach them to Jacob and the youth competitors that he coaches.
Both Frank and Jacob appreciate participating in the Meijer State Games of Michigan because it is an enjoyable experience and they cherish the competition. Frank notes, “The Meijer Games are an excellent opportunity to compete against shooters from across the State. The Games are simply well-organized family fun.” In this year’s games, Frank hopes to set an example as an athlete, both in behavior as well as in being successful. Jacob is simply hoping to win.
While success is a common goal among the two, both Frank and Jacob understand the importance of engaging in positive sportsmanship while competing. Frank, who reminds his kids and athletes that winning should not come at all costs, believes that sportsmanship is everything. He encourages the idea that when a loss occurs, it should be recognized that the other person(s) worked very hard to achieve their success(es) and to learn from that experience. As a young athlete himself, Jacob tries to help his teammates and ask for help if he needs it. Jacob adds, “We are part of a team and have to act like it.”
Success has come naturally to both Frank and Jacob in the sport of shooting. Jacob is the three-time defending Bench Rifle (Under 17) Champion and is a member of the 2015 4H State Champion 3D Archery Team. Frank was the 2015 Bench Rifle Champion, setting a new course record. He also received second place in both Pistol and Centerfire in 2015, and second place in Bench Rifle in 2013 and 2014.
As with every competitive sport, both Frank and Jacob hope to become more proficient in shooting, but they have many other hobbies as well. Among the two of them, they enjoy hunting, camping, coaching youth sports, playing football and lacrosse, camping, and ATV riding.
Frank and Jacob are not the only members in their family to compete in shooting sports. Frank’s wife (Jacob’s mom), Jodi, has competed as well, making the sport a true family affair. Last year in the Winter Games, Jacob beat his mom, which was quite exciting for him.
To prepare for the games, Frank coaches a youth shooting sports team, holding weekly practice that Jacob also attends. Frank emphasizes that passion and effort are both needed to have success. He aims at preparing Jacob and his teammates to not only be skilled shooters, but to be responsible adults. He adds that the sport mechanics such as breathing, sight alignment, and trigger control are just as important as real-life fundamentals such as nutrition, hydration, civic duty, and teamwork. After all of this hard work and dedication, both Frank and Jacob look forward to competing in the 2016 Meijer State Games of Michigan Winter Games.