… 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 –>
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.