MADI RHINEVAULT February – Less than 30 minutes down the road from Montrose High is our school’s rival, Elk Lake. For years the two schools have absolutely hated each other, creating a constant feud between students which goes back to the time that my father was in high school. As a former Elk Lake basketball player, he has many stories of the numerous confrontations and fights that broke out throughout the years, in locker rooms and hallways all because both schools wanted to win so badly. Even now the bleachers will be filled to the brim with people from both schools hoping to get a glimpse of the game as the student section erupts with chants and cheers aimed at the opposing team.
But archery is different from other sports. Archery is a friendly sport, and when Elk Lake became involved in the NASP® program, the two schools became closer than ever before. I can recall many tournaments in which I shot alongside Elk Lake archers and never once was there any sort of conflict. In fact, many Montrose archers have befriended the Elk Lake archers. My brother Logan, for instance, is good friends with a boy named Parker. Parker and Logan are in the same division and have always been competing against one another. However, there have been many times that the two boys have been found shooting together in the paper or 3D range at the local outdoor outfitters and archery range, Outdoor Insiders. They’re often found laughing and joking with one another and having a genuinely good time. This is just one example of why archery is so different from other sports.
I have had experiences with the friendly setting created by NASP® as well. In sixth grade, I had been competing against a girl from Kentucky, Rebecca Smith. We had been side by side all year in a constant match. Then at the 2018 NASP® World Tournament, we formally introduced ourselves and exchanged phone numbers. We often message each other before and after tournaments to express our worries about the tournament and congratulate each other after we’ve shot. To this day, Rebecca and I are still good friends, and I look forward to seeing her at the upcoming tournaments this season.
Some of the friends I’ve made are in completely separate divisions. At the 2022 NASP® Championship I stood on the podium and congratulated the other girls, then the boys were called to the podium and we took a group photo together. Before the picture was taken, the boy next to me asked, “Do we look good?” I couldn’t help but laugh with a few of the other archers. Then at the Outdoor World 3D tournament, when Mr. Ryan Bass announced that Peyton Willeford was the top overall male runner-up for the Three Star Challenge I realized that it was the same boy from the championship. After the tournament, I reached out to Peyton through snapchat and we shared our experiences with archery. We talked about hunting and bows and things we learned in the NASP® program. One great thing about NASP® is that it creates an even playing field and all archers go through very similar experiences. This makes it possible for archers to share their struggles and help one another with archery.
NASP® creates an environment in which friendships thrive through the mutual love of archery. Competitors don’t oppose and antagonize each other, instead bond and create friendships. After each tournament, I go home having another friend that I met through archery. I have friends that go to neighboring schools, friends in neighboring states, and even friends as far as Missouri or Kentucky.
Archery is such a beautiful thing because it unifies people through a common interest. When shooting, there is no rivalry but instead friendly competition, which is one of the things that makes archery so great, and so different from other sports. Archery is the sport that creates the basis of affable, lasting relationships and good-natured competition allowing the sport to rise above others because it is so welcoming. I encourage you to engage with your scoring partner at your next tournament and see if You can make a new friend!
But until then, happy shooting!
~Madi Rhinevault is a 2023 student contributor~