Anagail Hamby, February -“Me? Good at Sports? No way!” How Archery Changed my Mind…
I hate most sports. At least, I used to before I started archery. I abhor running, I stink at catching things, and I can’t throw with any accuracy. For me, that pretty much sucks the fun out of most sports. Why did this change?
Archery is different. I moved to Alaska and joined an archery team three years ago. I don’t remember why I joined, but I am so glad I did. It showed me that I can do some sports. Archery doesn’t make me run, catch things, or throw things: in fact, it heavily discourages those actions. The goal of archery is not to be fast or strong, it is to be still, to be consistent. The goal is to be so still and so in tune with your task, that you can shoot a bull’s eye every time. Possibly, even do a Robin Hood where you split your own arrow.
Archery focuses on something that most entry-level sports ignore: the mental game. Archery is heavily reliant on an archer’s head space. The movements and steps are so precise that even subconscious thoughts, losing focus, or erratic thought patterns can throw off a shot. This is a challenge that the most common sports lack, and that challenge is… satisfying. Instead of sets upon sets of push-ups, I can improve by working and conditioning my mind. This sport is not just for the strong but also for the intellectuals.
Archery is rewarding. My first archery season I qualified for Nationals. It was incredible and nerve-wracking but also really special. Our coaches didn’t just drag us to the tournament and back, they made the trip extra fun by making it a week-long adventure with fun activities and learning experiences. We went to a trampoline park and toured the factory where they make NASP® arrows. Although this is fun, archery is rewarding even if you don’t make it to Nationals. The feeling you get when you finally shoot your first fifty is incredible. It’s pride in your accomplishments, excitement for what’s to come and a belief that excellency is possible for you. Moments all through the archery season are little medals, tiny rewards: when you win in a shoot off, when you find your aimspot at fifteen meters, and when your coach walks up and says “great job” and you can tell they mean it.
I love archery. Most other sports may still not be my cup of tea, but archery is awesome. I love that it doesn’t rely on brawn alone but challenges its champions mentally as well. I love the rewards and pride you feel when you do well and I love that it’s just right for me