I am 48 years old and there is still hope for me to make an Olympic appearance, as an archer!
Admittedly I will need to do a lot more training, but there is a possibility. Much like this little gem from Dumb and Dumber.
Lloyd Christmas: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! What are my chances?
Mary Swanson: Not good.
Lloyd Christmas: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?
Mary Swanson: I’d say more like one out of a million.
Lloyd Christmas: So you’re telling me there’s a chance. YEAH!
The Olympic home of archery champions
My father in law Brian and I are at Sydney Olympic Park Archery Centre ready to do our best William Tell impersonation. It has been over 50 years since Brian last shot an arrow and my first time. This hardly seems appropriate as we will be be releasing arrows on the same fields as the Olympic champions from the 2000 Games.
We receive a thorough safety briefing from Simon our instructor. The “sticking point” is don’t walk in front of the shooting line as arrows are sharp and they travel very fast when released from a bow. Okay great tip and duly noted.
The briefing also gave us plenty of other useful information like the three feathers on an arrow are called a fletch. Two of these fletches are the same colour, the third one is a different colour to indicate how it is loaded it into the bow. The elbow of the arm used to draw the bow needs to be nice and high. Lastly we are informed to turn “out” our elbow on the arm holding the bow before releasing the drawstring. Watch the video to see the results when you don’t follow instructions.
On my mark unleash hell
I am itching to release some arrows. The bulls-eye is screaming out to me. I am so confident I am going to be great at this. Simon says load an arrow. Simon says draw back the string. Simon says shoot. We all know how that game works right?
I load my arrow draw the string and take aim. Unfortunately the arrow falls away from the bow a little and the look of horror on Brian’s’ face is priceless. Attempt two and all is good, I take aim and release the arrow. THWACK and it hits the board, I have no idea where it hit as I’m too busy cursing and looking at the welt forming on my forearm. Forgot to turn out my elbow didn’t I?
I release two more arrows both hit the target and I do further damage to my forearm. Brian lands all three of his and manages to keep the skin on his arm in tact. Well done fine sir!
As we remove our arrows from the target things start to get a little competitive, scores are counted and its game on between Brian and myself. We both start talking a big game. The walk back to the shooting area is full of macho bravado. Brian reckons he could shoot an apple off a kids head….not your grand daughter Brian, never going to happen. I tell Brian he better watch out or i’ll split one of his arrows in two. The banter goes back and forth.
Did I mention Dumb and Dumber?
Round two starts and arrows are being release rapidly….and missing the target completely. We managed to get one arrow each on the target, although I am having a good old chuckle as Brian rubs his forearm. So happy I am not the only one hurting myself. Together we look over to the adjacent target and “Robin Hood” has three arrows tightly grouped in the centre of his target. Whilst we have 2 of 6 in the target and one of those if actually stuck in the leg holding the target. Very embarrassing and a good lesson for us to stop carrying on like a couple of pork chops and just focus on the task at hand.
P.S to “Robin Hood” …mate no one likes a show off.
“I attribute my success to this; I never gave or took an excuse.” Florence Nightingale
Between rounds I was speaking to Simon and said I was having some difficulties does he have any advice, he said “find some good excuses”. I gave him a perplexed look , he responded with ” mate deflect everything. If anyone asks, tell them you had a tricky calm to deal with; All my arrows are bent; My arrows and my bow are having a little disagreement; I neglected to allow for the rotation of the earth… again!”
Thanks funny man, not really the advice I was after.
The hour has just flown by and we are nearing the end of our experience when Simon brings out balloons and pins them onto our targets. The fun begins and Brian and I forget all about keeping score and just shoot for the balloon. I managed to hit either side of the balloon and Brian nails it, bang on! Fine shooting indeed.
Brian and I have had an absolute blast at archery. This is one bucket list experience I am so glad I had the opportunity to check off. Most definitely one I will try again soon.
It’s a fine line between the enjoyment of firing arrows on the archery range as opposed to shotgun shells at Clay Target Shooting. Why not try both and make your own decision.
Archery another This Life List adventure checked off.