January 8, 2013 by mihitoxophilite
In archery, you can’t miss the target and say, “I was getting my back warmed up.” Or spray your arrows all over the target and try to sell the idea that you were “aiming” at all those spots. There’s only one bulls eye and it’s marked with a tiny X.
The other day, I shot at an indoor range for the first time. I shot at 20 yards for the first time. I shot with a sight for the first time. It was alot of firsts for one outing. Especially under the gaze of fellow archers and the range owners and workers.
“Well, show me how you shoot.” The guy who got us started said. I had (unsuccessfully) been fiddling with my bow and arm guard, waiting for him to move on.
No such luck.
Sucking in a deep breath (and ignoring the fact that I had only shot at half this distance before), I showed him. I wish I could say I managed to hit the bullseye. I wish I could say I managed to hit any ring of the target. I wish I could even say I managed to hit the paper. Or any spot in my assigned quadrant on the wall.
No such luck.
Whereas my aim was the lower right corner, my arrow planted itself somewhere along the red line dividing the upper (and thankfully unclaimed) squares.
A moment later, he mentioned how one of the owners had a thing about people hitting the wood above and below the target area, so try to avoid it or she would set up extra protection for the wall or make you move closer. A key word in “don’t hit the wood” got lost in translation between my ears and the rest of my body.
I hit the wood. Loudly. Everyone knew that someone had hit the wood.
When I turned around, the man had moved on. A perk of shooting badly. When you’re awful, the audience is too embarrassed for you to stick around!
After several more arrows – which finally started landing on the corner of my paper target (triumph!) – Coach Tom (my stepdad) decided it was time to introduce me to the sight.
This eventually led to more accuracy (and other things, such as wooden “thwacks!” but more on that later) but in the course of learning to use it, I finally started to relax, and focus on what I was doing instead of my surroundings.
I couldn’t really see it from the 20 yard line, but walking up to retrieve the arrows, I found one of them had hit the bullseye.
(Feel free to stop at 4:42. Sadly youtube doesn’t let you choose an end point.)
As I was in the midst of my celebrations, Coach Tom said, “You did that. It wasn’t luck. You put that arrow there.”
Of course, that also means I’m responsible for the majority of arrows that went everywhere else, wooden “thwacks!” included. But that’s ok.
I’m finding myself wanting to finish with something that is sounding too much like a life coach pep-talk, so I will get away from the keyboard and end with the scene that will be playing in my head every time I shoot from here on out.