Tag Archives: archery

Everything I…

… need to know in life I’m learning from the practice of archery.

Today, as I was standing on the shooting line, staring at the target 20 yards away, I realized something.

I realized there are life lessons that are finally being absorbed. Life lessons I really could’ve used twenty (plus) years ago.

The most important is to breathe. Breathing is good. It’s my favorite, but in archery when and how you breathe can affect your shot. I breathe in as I draw my bow. I breathe out as I sight the target. I let the arrow fly.

Another is to ignore the little things. The little niggling things that annoy you. I was taught that until “Line up” is called, no one touches their bow or their arrows. Maybe I’m being too militant about this but it sounds like a good rule to me. Today there was a guy who is a veteran of the sport on the range with me. On his bag he had a “Vegas Shoot” luggage tag – a huge international indoor archery competition. He didn’t wait for the range to be clear before he’d pick up his bow and have an arrow nocked. Now, if he’d been aiming it while I was still clearing my arrows, I would’ve gone ape all over him. He had it pointed at the floor. I wasn’t in danger. It must have been some sort of passive-aggressive sign for “Hurry the heck up.” After the first couple of rounds I just let it go. I shot at my own pace. I retrieved my arrows at my own pace. Once I stopped worrying about that guy, I did so much better. That’s when I did this –>

Le WOW
Figure 1 – You are doing it mostly right.

If only I had learned this lesson thirty years ago. Or heck, even just ten years ago would’ve been great.

Practice makes – if not perfect – better. In my case I may have jumped to the thirty pound bow a little faster than I should’ve, but I didn’t want to buy twenty pound limbs, and then twenty-five, then thirty. And, while I’m pretty strong for a girl, a thirty pound draw was a little taxing at first. So, practice makes stronger, too. The first time I went back to the range after my initial lesson I caught nothing but carpet. Floor. The neighbor’s target. I had arrows going everywhere but my target. I was so humiliated. The next time I hit paper. The next I hit color … and now? Well, see figure 1.

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I took …

… an archery lesson.

Yes. I did. And you know what? I wasn’t half bad.

I’m not going to go out and become Robin Hood or anything, at least not right away.

It was fun and it got me out of the house. There was even a 50% off Groupon! (That would be my first use of Groupon. I might be hooked on that, too.)

If you read Feline Friday you may have noticed that I’m also trying to go back to fencing. That’s fencing with weapons, not fencing with… you know, fences, and certainly not the practice of selling stolen goods. The problem with fencing is that I have a long way to go before I step foot into a salle again. With archery I could get a private lesson that didn’t cost both arms and at least one leg. Fencing, on the other hand, is sort of a two person sport. At the minimum. You could involve more, but it gets messy. Also, I think there’s a minimum … let’s call it “body condition” that’s required. What do I mean? Well, try this – 1. Stand up. 2. Spread your feet shoulder width apart. 3. Bend your knees until you’re sitting on an invisible stool (not a milkmaid’s stool, maybe a table height stool). 4. Hold that position indefinitely.

Hurts, doesn’t it? When you’ve successfully done this for at least a minute, walk the next day and see if you feel it.

What’s this about? I blame it on 40. It’s there and it’s taunting me. But, I suppose if I’m going to insist on a mid-life crisis getting active is not a terrible way for it to manifest.