How Hard Do you beat yourself up for busting a big chase?

what is the longest you have been mad at yourself for busting on a chase that you otherwise could have nailed, but due to one reason or another it didnt work out?

Thinking individually here. Another thread inspired me to think of this, do you take the "ah, I missed it im moving on" approach or the "im going to stew over this for a week" approach? and does this affect other chases after the fact?

should be interesting conversation!
 
haha funny topic, but so true lol
I usually take the "meh, more to come" approach. But every chaser I believe has the "depressed for a while" bust. Mine was the May 15, 2003 Stratford, Tx tornadoes. I was chasing solo for the first time and was being navigated by fellow chaser Ken Fugate back at home. I had arrived in Amarillo at about 2 pm and was followed there by the CBS 11 News team. I hung out with them a bit at a local restaurant and waited for convection to start. Prolly around 5 pm'ish convection initiated to our north (what eventually would produce the Stratford tornadoes). I was on the phone with Ken and he was telling me to shoot up 287 North and to not look back. The CBS guys on the other hand were saying go south-east and wait for more storms to form. I decided to listen to the news guys, yes there gigantic satellite and loads of tv's are quite convincing, and head south-eastward a bit. I knew in my head that there was a good chance for storms to form southward and intercept the strong moisture inflow from our 25-35 mph southerly winds and go hay wire, but on the other hand, I knew Ken had 30 years experience under his belt lol :D I eventually headed south and waited for initiation, and waited...and waited...and waited some more. Than started to cry (not really) when I heard the reports coming in of a wedge and stovepipe on the ground at the same time. DOH! I eventually did get some storms forming my way, a great barber pole storm in a matter of fact, but nothing tornadic. All in all, not a great loss considering the storm I did see, but frustrating in a big way considering what I could have seen! I mean I only spent a few months in depression :wink: Nothing can replace experience lol, not even big satellite dishes. :wink:
^ sorry realized I kinda got onto the topic of my worst bust lol oops
 
I blew 9 October 2001... left too early to get to my target (NW OK). Missed seeing the dryline surge down south, and ignored the first cells that went up. By the time we realized the north was hosed, we got to the last tornadic storm near Binger. Supposedly, a mile wide tornado was on the ground briefly, but with the sun setting behind our back, we missed out.

We did, however, get some of the only shots of the backsides of these storms ;)

I was pretty bummed for a week, but hey it happens. There will always be more storms.

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Aaron[/img]
 
I don't know that I get over any of them. I think other cases just take their place as each season comes along. I don't just get over it. I might like to, but that isn't the truth. I slowly forget some until I see video of them at a later date and then it is like it was yesterday and I'm mad again.

I was really mad about messing up June 13, 2001 and missing the Seward tornado when my plan was to drop down there. I never thought I'd let that go. By now though, hell there are so many in front of it.

I can let go of the ones I thought I did my best on. For example I can let go of May 22 04 and May 29 04 very easily. They haven't bugged me that badly. June 10 and the first part of June 11 though.....I'm still not over. Back to back days of not getting back out on the road early enough cost me nice tornadoes(literally 20 minutes both days). Any days I settle for a closer target and bust because of it I can't get over. June 24, 2003 se SD I'll never let go. Bust your tail for three days in a row, while working 8hr days, getting like 4hrs a sleep a night, to "settle" on the last day(24th) and have that happen..hahahahaha. It is best to not "settle" or relax for 2 straight months(May and June). If you are really damn tired it doesn't matter, go and chase. Well, that is for ones like me that actually get upset missing tornadoes. If you can get over it easily then it probably doesn't matter.

The only way for me to not be hard on myself on those I should, would be to lie to myself and say I'm not upset...lol. I'd rather be hard on myself than say it doesn't bother me when it does.
 
It don't bother me if I miss a tornado but catch nice structure. The ones I kick myself the most are those in the area I initially targeted but chose in the end not to go there. I have also been talked out of a couple wonderful targets that produced soundly. Usually the next great storm erases those memories quickly. Instead of stewing too much over a missed oppotunity, I attempt to see what I could have done differently, either from a forecast or chase perspective. One of the most common errors is to overshoot the dryline or have the dryline mix out your position. I've been burned by this a few times so I will position accordingly this year. Learn from the mistakes because nobody is perfect. There were a lot of steamboats that sunk before Fulton made one that floated. Its all about trial and error.
 
Much better than I was when I first started. Up until about 2003, I'd beat myself up over a bust literally for years. I'd get this lump in my throat and my stomach that would last for days after the event, like I'd lost a friend. Seeing other chasers' video of the event would drive the knife in even further. Chasing isn't a passing fad or my vacation, it's my life. My failures richocet a lot harder off the soul than most.

After missing the majority of 2003 (missing chases due to lack of funds, not busting) I learned to deal with it. Sitting at home just seething on May 8, 10, 15, 16, and June 24 while my peers were out having career years just made me numb. But from that experience I understood that life blows ass, and you just have to roll with it. Not everyone is gonna get their piece of the pie, whether it's fair or not, and the best thing you can do is channel all that frustration into positive energy for future chase endeavors. So now I just go with the flow, trying my best to see as may tornadoes as possible, not worrying about the ones I'll miss.

Because no one gets them all.
 
Really good question.

It's important for newbies to realize that everybody, even the seasoned vets, bust sometimes. One time, whole caravans of chasers played SW Kansas on what looked like a sure thing on paper...and we all busted...in stereo. Longingly we watched the sky above Sublette KS...as the cap held and we all got a nice eyeful of fair weather. There wasn't even lightning (the pièce de résistance for me) to be had. However, I met a nice friend that day, and she and I keep in touch to this day.

Weather thumbs its nose at chasers, all chasers, once in awhile. If it was predictable and easy, it would be boring. Its elusiveness and capriciousness is what lures us! I love that it's defiant. I love that it's hard. The difficulty is part of the draw.

Plains or Monsoon - if I bust, I do not beat myself up, even when I play the right forecast and get the total brush off from Mother Nature. Sure it's disappointing, that's true, and I feel it keenly just like anybody. There is a lot of personal investment in my time, money, learning when it comes to chasing, to do my best.

One year however, lessons were learned when several of us literally saw a chaser lose it because he busted. He was so competitive the he morphed into some kind of Wolfman when he didn't get a tornado, having words with his nowcaster friend, damaging their friendship, he wanted to be "right" so badly. I would suggest for someone like that a sport like football. While playing the game, physical aggressions get worked out on the field. I hope newbies don't fall into the same trap. A tornado lasts 10 minutes. Friends, relatives, family, professional relationships last a lifetime.

If chasing was easy, something we could do from our livingroom with zero training, none of us would be here. The odds are in the house's favor and Mother Nature holds the cards. That also means that when it does pan out, it has a sweet taste, and if we do it relentlessly, there will be plenty of winning days.
 
I'm not much of a chaser, but I still regret watching the enormous F4 tornado producing supercell that hit Roanoke IL pass by to my east last summer.
 
Well I'm still beating myself up over a certain date that occurred last year in 2004. It's possible to take a philosophical look at it and try to instill some Karma into the situation......but at the end of the day there's nothing much that comforts you when you miss big and it's your fault.

Along the same topic - I think that perhaps a lot of us will have to be getting used to "busting" a lot more - because I think that busting might be taking on a different meaning in chasing's nouveau-generation. It's no coincidence that the number of tornado reports has sky-rocketed, due I believe at least in part to the huge numbers of weather-followers out looking at storms these days. That's going to mean more tornado reports, more people on any one storm, and more people to tell you what you missed. The early chasers had it good - there WAS nobody up in northeastern South Dakota to relate tales to you of the beastola that you missed, or show you the video - ergo you weren't missing anything, really.

The best storm is always the one that got away. We're just going to have to endure more stories about them, now. Now might be a good time to reconfirm why we're just happy chasing, and accept ahead of time that not everybody sees everything.



KR
 
Great question - - - I don't get over it ... I probably would, but then everytime I read an account from someone else who nailed it, it just forces me to remember my mistakes. One of my biggest screw-ups in my mind was probably May 10, 2003. We chased across the entire width of Missouri that day, only to turn around literally minutes before the storm tornadoed near Hannibal, simply because we were slightly mis-positioned and mis-read what we were seeing on the storm. I didn't realize the gravity of the mistake until I met up with Hollingshead later and he showed me the video of an incredible tornado. Everytime I see it or show it to someone else it just re-opens the wound (lol). Things like this don't hold me back, though - I know it comes with the territory and just move on.
 
I always kick myself for missed events - many still make my stomach turn when I give them much thought. But probably what bugs me most was one particular event where I had excellent position on a very impressive tornado - and apparently never hit the record button on the video camera - so I just set up a high dollar wind vane - and not a particulary good one at that. THAT mistake sticks with me much harder than events I've missed because of mistakes, because great opportunities even among the "successful" chases are even rarer. Getting depressed again just thinking about it.....

Glen
 
June 12, 2004. :evil: I still regret it. I had just pulled into Wichita from the north and instead of going after the storms to the south of the city (which looked more imperssive) I went after the closest one - one on the north side of the city. Sigh. At least I wasn't the only one who made that mistake as I ran into other chasers and one tour chase company. Sigh. Now I have a picure of the "white" Mulvane tornado (Eric Nguyen) hanging on my cubicle wall and I kick myself everytime I look at it. Unless there's overwhelming evidence to do so do not leave your original target. I leaned the hard way. Not 1 tornado on the north side and I think 7 on the south side. Sigh.
 
It totally depends on *how* you bust, I think. Some mistakes are easier to brush off than others, and a forecast that doens't pan out is easier to brush off than a tactical mistake. Just sitting in Iowa on June 11 watching distant but reachable storms with a tornadic history in what looked like poor shear and not doing anything about it... won't do that again. E-ver.

Learning something is the best way to stop beating oneself up :)
 
While May 24, 2004 was probably one of the hardest busts, I tend to joke more about it now than beat myself up! To be honest, the hardest to let go of for me was May 10 when I bailed on the DCVZ for better conditions near the CO/WY border. I ended up sitting in a hailstorm while half a dozen tornadoes touched down within 50 miles of my house! And not just landspouts, either... but honest-to-god nice tornadoes! That was a hard one to let go of simply because I could've stayed real close to home and scored as opposed to shooting north 100 miles! That hurt! :lol:

But to answer the question, I really don't beat myself up that much for busting.. sure, it hurts for a while, and I kick myself for whatever the situation may be, but within a week, I'm over it. Busting, for me, is a learning experience, and more times than not, I'm just happy to be out. I try not to kick myself too hard for my stupid mistakes... we all make 'em, right! :lol:
 
Busting reminds me breaking up with a girlfriend. When you're young, the pain is more sharp and acute, but doesn't run too deeply and you can recover fast. Youth heals. For me in chasing, examples are the Sitka Bust Club in 1999, or all the tornadoes I missed by minutes in 2000.

As you get older and more mature the pain isn't as direct, but somehow wider and longer-lasting. So a bust like May 24th makes you question everything. I had great equipment, an excellent vehicle, smart chase partners, plenty of time to forecast, and mostly non-stop internet access with which to conduct constant radar analysis. In other words, external factors were as perfect as they will EVER get. Yet things went badly in an almost macabre way.

I stopped kicking myself for May 24th about a month ago, only because it's time to get ready for 2005, and if you go back to the mound thinking of the last hitter who took your best pitch and put it in the bleachers, you're screwed. It's a new inning. Fresh count. But you never forget.
 
As you get older and more mature the pain isn't as direct, but somehow wider and longer-lasting. So a bust like May 24th makes you question everything. I had great equipment, an excellent vehicle, smart chase partners, plenty of time to forecast, and mostly non-stop internet access with which to conduct constant radar analysis. In other words, external factors were as perfect as they will EVER get. Yet things went badly in an almost macabre way.

Amos puts it well.

There's something about May 24th 2004 that just did that to people. I can't explain it. Sometimes I wonder if we were trying to be too smart, NOT going after the warm-frontal beasts in Missouri, and NOT going after the first storm up which was the s-cntrl NE thing. No - what did we do? We went due south out of Lincoln NE, to Marysville KS, "minced around" (Scottish expression), went to the library, admired the trains, caught a burger and then went east. We ended up in freakin' Hiawatha......and went to the library again. Anticyclonic flow aloft, we had chased a model run and paid the obvious price. We were under cirrus, and nothing else. Ugh! See here: http://www.stormskies.com/ChaseDiaryMon24thMay04.htm

On a lighter note, I like to joke that I busted the worst of anyone on the Throckmorton day in 2002. I wasn't even in the right country, let alone state, or county...... :lol:

KR
 
I get pretty upset when I screw up and miss out on a big event. I will be depressed about it until there is something to look forward to showing up in the models and then I can starting thinking about all the tornadoes I will get to see the next time instead of dwelling on the tornadoes I missed the last time.
Karen you didn't miss much on the 5/24 warm-front beasts in Missouri. The terrain was terrible and the storm was moving pretty fast.
 
I think that perhaps a lot of us will have to be getting used to "busting" a lot more - because I think that busting might be taking on a different meaning in chasing's nouveau-generation. It's no coincidence that the number of tornado reports has sky-rocketed, due I believe at least in part to the huge numbers of weather-followers out looking at storms these days. That's going to mean more tornado reports, more people on any one storm, and more people to tell you what you missed. The early chasers had it good - there WAS nobody up in northeastern South Dakota to relate tales to you of the beastola that you missed, or show you the video - ergo you weren't missing anything, really.

The best storm is always the one that got away. We're just going to have to endure more stories about them, now. Now might be a good time to reconfirm why we're just happy chasing, and accept ahead of time that not everybody sees everything.

This is a very good point and something that I’ve thought about a lot. In my head I think of this as “the supermarket effect.†You know, the way no matter which checkout lane you choose, the one next to you is invariably moving faster. It’s not an illusion, either – there’s a genuine 2/3 likelihood that one of the 2 neighboring lines will be going faster than the line you’re in. Getting back to chasing, the fact is that with the current high and seemingly ever increasing number of knowledgeable chasers, it becomes almost certain that someone will do better than you on any given day. The supermarket effect insures it. If you beat yourself up over things like the fact that your tornado wasn’t as big/photogenic/near/etc as the one that whatsisname got, I foresee nothing but increasing frustration for you.

The point I’m trying to make is that ideally we shouldn’t judge success based on what other people did. We chase because we love storms and we love the whole process of predicting and catching them. The thrill of the hunt, the satisfaction of a good supercell, the icing on the cake that is a tornado – these are the things we live for. Since when did the exact number of tornados you got vs. what somebody else got become the primary factor in determining whether or not a chase is successful? Sure, missing a big event is always going to be annoying, but chasing is not, or at least shouldn’t be, a competitive sport. At the end of a chase day, how many of us immediately begin the process of asking “what did so-and-so get?†as we scour the net and TWC for pictures of the things we missed out on? It’s a normal response, and one that admittedly I’m prone to as well, but I maintain that ideally the results of others shouldn’t alter the satisfaction of the chase that was actually experienced. If I get a tornado, I’m happy regardless of whether it’s the biggest or the best tube of the day. Hell, even if all I got was some cool storm structure on a high risk outbreak day, I’m still going to count the day as a positive result rather than a bust. Regrets are fine, but you can’t them ruin your enjoyment of chasing. Because it’s inevitable that someone somewhere did in fact do much better than you. When absolutely everything goes right, where you’re on the best storm of the day, and and it all comes together right in front of you in a fabulously photogenic manner – that’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But there are a lot of lifetimes out there, so any given day is going to produce someone’s chase of a lifetime. Well, so be it, and more power to them. I’ll get mine eventually.

But damn, I’m still kicking myself over May 22nd... :? :wink:
 
Reading through the many posts here, I came to realize that for me anyway, the amount of pain a bust secretes depends largely on how the next chases unfold. May 22 last year was the worst kind of bust possible, the classic "had it nailed, bailed" bust where we sat in our target for over 3 hours and then bailed at the last minute. That was a really crappy evening, and coming back to Norman from southern Nebraska, we had plenty of time to think about it. However, at our gas stop in Concordia that night, I started getting very excited and even confident about the 24th, just two days away. By the time we got home from the 22nd, we were so focused on the 24th (and not making the same mistake again) that the pain of the 22nd went away and never came back.

After we totally blew the 24th, that was some serious psychological punishment for us, and we had another long drive back home to deal with it all. My big post-22nd bust pep talk about how we'd redeem ourselves on the 24th had failed; I'd never busted so badly on such big days so close together. I didn't know what to say to my partner that night, except "we ride again another day."

We chased again on the 26th, but again didn't do well. After that chase, we had passed the first few phases of grief and were now laughing at our own bad luck. This mentality got us through the 26th and a few days after that, but in the back of my mind I knew there was a pain, flowing and ebbing through every fiber of my being, that kept echoing "you're screwing up a classic chase year, you're blowing the 'once-in-a-decade' season you've waited your whole career for." I knew there wasn't much time before I fell back into mental dismay over my failures that week.

Fortunately for us, 2004 was a yar of opportunities, and we were handed another golden one on the 29th. This time we stuck to our guns, and with the help of an amazing nowcaster and friend, wwere able to finally cash in on the insane year that was 2004. That chase erased everything, every tear I had to hold back, every lump in my throat, every churn of my stomach. GONE.

Without the May 29 chase, I dunno how I would've handled things, after having been robbed of 2003, which was (up until 2004) the best season in 10 years. I know I would've continued to chase and do my best, but my psyche would've been more of a return to my early days; the constant, out-to-prove-myself, relent-bordering-on-obsession mindset that continously fueled me. As it were, I continued with my "roll with the punches" mentality that I have come to embrace over recent years, honed by experience.

So I think that how I personally handle busts depends more on how the following chases treat me, than the magnitude of the missed event itself.
 
Karen you didn't miss much on the 5/24 warm-front beasts in Missouri. The terrain was terrible and the storm was moving pretty fast.

Hehe ... not to rub salt in the wound or anything, but you mean this one?

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Actually - I agree with you ... the big cell riding the WF in northwest Missouri that day was extremely HP - we had to penetrate a dense rain curtain just to finally make it up into the cage, and when we got there it had already begun to occlude. Managed to get some cool vid of it as you see here and then twisting away into nothingness, but the base quickly left us and tracked straight east through some rough terrain, where we broke off. I would have MUCH rather been over at the big show in Chester, NE and Kansas that day.
 
Good question. I don't get too upset with myself when I bust. I mean if I really screw up then, yeah, I guess I get a little frustrated but all in all I shake it off pretty quickly. My biggest regrets are when I do not or can not chase or when I am late to a good target but again, I don't really "beat myself" up too badly (ok...maybe just a little :oops: ).

Honestly, I am just happy that a few years ago I discovered this storm-chasing passion that I have. I try to savor and learn from every experience. For me chasing is mostly about the journey and not about the destination. Sounds contradicting perhaps being that the goal of each chase is to pick the right "target destination" and get the tornado but still thats how I look at things.

That being said, I completely understand it when others beat themselves up about "busts". I sometimes beat myself up about other things outside of chasing. It seems to be a human, natural, and even sometimes a healthy way to deal with and process negative experiences. Ok, I'm probably getting way too deep here. Again, good question!

Fabian
 
Nice pic. Amazing how many of us did the exact same thing on the 24th: blew off the Missouri storm a bit too early, only to get to the Chester storm just a bit too late. I mean, how bad a mistake can it be when so many experienced chasers all did it? Both the HP nature of the Missouri storm and the worsening terrain/road network were obvious, and it was still very early in the day... IMO, it was simply bad luck to decide to head west at that point, not bad decision making.

But I have to agree with Shane, nailing the 29th made up for everything, and the disappointments of the 22nd and 24th all of a sudden seemed not so terrible after all. One good day can make up for quite a lot.
 
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