Saturday, October 4, 2014

Archery - a comedy of arrows

I may have mentioned previously that Spouse and I are big patrons of deals through websites like Groupon and Living Social. Sometimes those deals lead to odd choices – things we never would have thought of trying were it not for that enticement of paying half price.

And so it was with our experience this summer with archery. Let me tell you, there’s nothing like someone handing you a bow and arrow and expecting you to hit something smaller than the side of a barn to make you realize just how uncoordinated you are.

Our instructor, Brian, a young man in a red shirt and khaki shorts who reminded me of a camp counselor that had gotten himself in too deep, led the three of us (Spouse, Second Born and yours truly) into the shooting range past a trio of boys no older than 8 years old. There was absolutely no doubt we were about to be shown up by this small cluster of sharp-shooting juveniles.

Brian had the questionable pleasure of working with the three of us as a group. His first direction was to stand where he positioned us, then he drew chalk around our feet and forbid us to step out of the marks. What makes you not be able to stand in one place more than someone saying you have to?

His second direction was to try not to cry when the 8-year-olds next to us successfully popped balloons around the bulls-eye while we chased our arrows around the building.

Naturally, we offered our own type of entertainment as a family of two left-handed parents and one ambidextrous teenager. It took him a few minutes to line us up without spearing one another.
Once the chalk lines were drawn I tried very hard to stand as if my feet were glued to the spot. My back was to Second Born and she was facing her dad.

Following the rules can be downright dizzying – I swayed precariously whenever Brian stood between the other two and I tried to catch a glimpse of the lesson, though he always repeated the instructions within my eyesight. I was just double-lesson-dipping for fear of being completely embarrassed any minute now.

Once Brian was convinced we didn’t present a danger to anyone, especially him, he let us each line up an arrow on our bows. Your assignment in archery is to listen for the “click” of the arrow into the string, position your front arm, bend it slightly but not too much, bring your other arm back with your thumb and pinkie touching and the other three fingers pulling the bow string, release the string and hit something. Preferably something that has been placed in front of you with a bunch of colorful circles in it. This was the ultimate multi-tasking assignment in conjunction with weaponry.

We weren’t bad, really, as long as the targets were within 20 feet. Maybe 15 - we didn’t ask for fear of shaming ourselves in front of the short pros next to us. Second Born had quite the eye and gained the moniker Katniss (because, really, what else would you reference?) Spouse was better than he gave himself credit for because he wanted to be perfect. I was satisfied with not sending an arrow spiraling to the back of the building. We all got pretty excited each time we wiped out a balloon. I barely heard the snickers from the 8-year-olds.

The thing is, I am hooked. I seriously want to pursue this sport. So if you happen to know of an archery club in this area, please let me know.

Just don’t mention that I’ll need the side of a barn as a target.


(8/10/14 Journal Tribune, edited)

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