Is It A
Slingshot or Flip?
By Matt Lockridge
Have you ever shot a slingshot? It’s
tougher than it looks. Just At a glance, you
wouldn’t think that there’s much to it. All you do is put the rock in
the pocket and pull it back right? WRONG! It takes at least a solid
hour of shooting just to get comfortable enough to hit within a
reasonable pattern. But when you hit your target for the first
time…wow does it feel good! You can’t quit shooting after you see the
big hole that you just put through the aluminum can. And with what, a
forked stick (or stock) with two rubber bands propelling a marble that
was held by a leather pocket? There’s more to it than you think.
Do you know what’s more challenging than shooting a
slingshot? Try to make your own. Again, it’s just a forked stick
with two rubber bands….yeah, yeah, you get my point. I think there is
more precision and more calculations that go into making a slingshot
than go into building a rocket. Your rubbers have to be the same
length or it won’t shoot true. Your pocket has to be the precise size
or you rock will not shoot the same every time. The stock has to fit
your hand just right or it will not be comfortable. The length of the
rubbers has to be just right. If they are too long, your rock will be
lobbed instead of shot. If they’re too short, your arm will shake and
you won’t be able to hit the ground. To top it all off, no two
slingshots shoot the same, each has its own personality, its own
Now with that being said, back to the question at hand,
“What is the difference between a slingshot and a flip?” There is but
one thing that separates the two. It’s the story behind your
slingshot. Your slingshot graduates to a flip after you hit your
first can, or you shoot your first apple out of a tree. You have to
have a story and it doesn’t have to be a good one, it just has to be
My Granddaddy has a flip (he’s also got a handful of
slingshots too) and he calls it “The Rocket”....
Picture Left: Grandaddy Allen Lockridge
The Rocket has destroyed more cans
than you can shake a stick at. It shoots marbles so fast that you can’t
even see them while they’re traveling, but man you can sure see the wicked
hole that they make in a can. He takes pride in his flip, don’t get me
wrong. But I’m sure he’d trade it for the one his big brother made him
when he was a young kid.
The story goes like this…
Granddaddy was a little tike
(around the age of 5) with a brother named Jim who was a good bit older
than him. Jim was pretty good with a flip. Granddaddy would stay after
Jim to make him one of his own. Well, finally the pestering paid off; Jim
made him his first slingshot. The grasshoppers and birds (and pretty much
anything that moved) didn’t know what they had coming. Shortly after
Granddaddy got his slingshot, it was converted into a flip. Let me
clarify something real quick. This story takes place in a time when we
didn’t have the luxury of a saw to cut the frame or good rubber bands or
good surgical tubing. The rubbers were cut from old tire inner tubes that
people would discard after a blowout. So, for Granddaddy to get a flip
would be like me (as a child) getting a remote control toy or a gaming
console. Now, back to the story. Granddaddy got so good that he could
outshoot Jim, and that made Jim a little uneasy, in a brotherly way. One
of Granddaddy’s most cherished stories was when he killed a rabbit, while
it was running. Now he has killed a lot of rabbits while they were on bed
but none running. Until one day… he finally landed the shot and folded
the rabbit up. They were some men across town that Granddaddy had seen
hang their rabbits from their belt as they were coming back home. What do
you think Granddaddy did? He tied that rabbit to his belt and strutted
out by the road so all the passers-by could see his kill.
My Granddaddy and his friends would get into flip
battles (just picture paintball wars, minus the paint and the protective
armor). His cousin, J.D., was hiding behind a fallen tree, thinking that
all of his body was hidden. Well, everything was hidden except his foot
and about 4 inches of ankle. Granddaddy draws back his flip, takes his
aim, and fires a big green acorn at J.D.’s ankle. Smack, direct hit!
Twenty minutes later, after J.D. got through rolling around crying and
screaming, they called off the war.
Granddaddy would get his flip taken away from him as
punishment. Now, this didn’t go over well with Granddaddy since this was
the only thing that he had to keep him occupied. He didn’t have any other
toys or anything to keep him content. All he had was his flip.
Granddaddy wised up after a handful of times of having his flip taken
away. He built him another one. Again, the supplies to make a slingshot
back then were few and far between, so for him to have two flips wasn’t to
be taken for granted. Granddaddy would walk out of the house, all puffed
up and kicking until he got out of sight. Then he would go dig his other
flip out of his hiding hole and he would tear out shooting everything in
sight. When it got time to go back home, he would hide his flip and take
on an angry look and go back into the house. No one ever found out about
his spare flip.
Granddaddy got so furious one day that he told his
family that he was leaving. He has never been this mad before and has no
intentions of coming back. He left with no clothes, didn’t eat, didn’t
have any destination in mind. He was going anywhere but home. About two
miles down the road, Granddaddy comes upon a pot of gold. There it was; a
punctured inner tube. I should’ve mentioned earlier that Granddaddy’s
best flip had broken its last rubber and he didn’t have any more. He ran
as fast as he could, back home, or back to his flip, rather. He says that
he didn’t know what would’ve happened if he hadn’t have found the
punctured inner tube. Maybe there wouldn’t be a story to tell.
My inspiration for this comes from my Granddaddy,
All of these stories are about him and are completely true.
He shoots his flip to this day, down in his basement. He’s got a target
range setup with cans that hang from the ceiling. While I work on making
memories with my flip (mostly shooting with him), he ponders on the good ol’ days with him, his flip and a pocketful of rocks.
If you are interested in joining a club for flip
shooting, please give him a call (256.358.4776) If you’re looking for
information about flips, whether it be shooting them, making them or if
you’re looking for a partner (or know someone that would be interested in
this), why don’t you give him a call. It would absolutely make his day
and it might even plant a seed in you that would grow into countless
memories of you and your flip. Oh yeah, when you call, ask for the best
flip shooter around, they’ll know who you’re talking about.
Join our local Flip Shooting Club!
Great for Kids and Old Folks Too!!!! Call 256-358-4776
When author Matt Lockridge isn't writing about his favorite sport he's
AIDT in Alabama, which is a training organization for the voluminous Honda
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