For someone who doesn’t hunt, arrest criminals, or even play video games, I sure do like to shoot things. So when there was a deal offered for archery lessons, bow & arrow rentals, and practice time on the range, I jumped at it. Vicki got in on the action as well, having grown up a non-hunter in a hunting family.
We promptly forgot about the deal until May, when it was nearly expired. That is how I roll.
Finally, we trucked out to semi-rural PA for our lesson. There was some trouble finding the entrance:
Some people go both ways
My graphic designer friends may notice that there are two arrows. In addition to this sign, there was a large billboard next to the dirt road turn-off for the building. But it didn’t have the white arrow. So the logo pointed directly to an empty field. Obviously, we worked it out. But maybe be careful with including arrows in your logo, is all I’m sayin’.
Inside, the staff was courteous, but reserved, in the way that seriously outdoorsy people often are. Our teacher took us to the range and tested our “eyedness” before handing us our bows.
He showed us how to place the arrows, how to draw, and did his best to explain how to release without like, releasing. Having read “Zen and the Art of Archery,” I understand, intellectually, that the release is supposed to happen sort of magically: plucking the string will disrupt the flow of the arrow. So a master in the art will be first in a state of tension and then in a state of release, without like, releasing. Yeah. Zen. Let’s be clear. I… don’t know how to do that.
But Vicki and I did alright even without spiritual enlightenment. I was pretty comfortable at least making it within the target. Vicki struggled a bit with her bow. She’s right-handed, but after testing left-eyed (not lopez), she was given a left-handed bow. I’m not saying the instructor was wrong, per se, but after she switched to a right-handed bow, Vicki got 2 bullseyes.
You can tell she got more badass because the lighting is different.
I got one bullseye, scouts honor, but the it was during the lesson and I was too embarrassed to ask the instructor to pause so I could take a photo of it for my blog. Because surely, that would be what gave me away as a nerdy city slicker. I figured if I got one, I would be able to get another during our practice time, which was a very stupid assumption.
While the instructor was still there, he would tweak our form or give advice (bending the bow holding arm ever so slightly will prevent nasty string ricochet!) and then say, “sooo, do you guys…have any questions?” Ah, the Socratic Method*. Interesting approach. We came up with a few questions, but mostly I didn’t really know enough to know what to ask.
“Uh…how do you get….good?”
“Practice. Like, a lot of practice. I sometimes practice 5 hours a day.”
So there’s not like…a trick? Just practice, huh?
Cue training montage
We got to watch a staff member fixing and testing a crossbow, which was good fun. But the end of our practice time, both Vicki and I could feel the whining of muscles we rarely use, and I can see how with this whole “practice” business, they might strengthen and improve stability and therefore aim. I think both Vicki and I would like to return to practice more. I feel better prepared to survive the apocalypse, but perhaps not the zombie apocalypse, as my accuracy is probably good enough for a body shot, but not a head shot. I’m trying to figure out how to turn my basement into a range… I would definitely have paid full price for this, but I’m not sure I would have thought to go without the catalyst of a groupon.
*Please no one leave a comment explaining the actual Socratic Method.