– Matthew Ebner – Archery has many comparisons to other sports, and also many differences. I have been an archery athlete for nine years, while also playing other sports during some of that time. Archery can be a team sport, or you can compete as an individual. There are other sports like this, however I feel that there are a lot more opportunities for individual competition in archery. I have gotten to experience shooting with a team, and individually, and both are exciting opportunities. Being on an archery team has given me learning opportunities such as teamwork, learning to encourage and support teammates, making sure I’m committed to practicing, and making friendships. This is similar to sports like soccer and baseball. While competing as an individual, I have learned many things also. It takes a lot of dedication to practice on your own, and you need to keep a positive attitude through the ups and downs of competition, even without teammates cheering you on. Competing as an individual archer may be like a golfer who isn’t on a team.
There are a lot of scholarships that are awarded through NASP®. Other sports may have opportunities for scholarships also, but I do feel that the NASP® scholarships are unique. Several of the archery scholarships I have received I am able to use at a college of my choice, and this will be such a huge help with college expenses. With other sports you may receive an athletic scholarship but would have to attend the college that was offering you the scholarship to use the award. NASP® also has the opportunity to be an Academic Archer each year, being recognized for success in the classroom.
The travel opportunities with archery are amazing! Many other sports may have you travel within your town, league, or even around your state, with archery you can travel all around our country and internationally for competitions. Traveling gives you the opportunity to compete in many different types of tournaments and see some new places. In archery you can make friends not just locally, but from different locations where you have traveled and competed. I have kept in touch with archers from other states that I have met at state and national tournaments. I feel that this is different from some other sports, because in archery you really have time to get to know the people you are shooting with and competing against.
Archery allows you to meet and participate with other competitors of all ages. Other sports you may only practice and compete with other athletes in your same age or division. I have gotten to practice and participate with archers that are much younger and much older than me. This provides archers the opportunity to mentor new archers and learn from ones that have more experience. My brother is in middle school, and I am in high school, but we get to practice archery together and even attend some tournaments together. There are a lot of benefits of getting to practice with other athletes of all ages and abilities.
There are several similarities and differences between archery and other sports, and I am so glad I started archery nine years ago. Archery is a unique and special sport with so many opportunities!
-Matthew Ebner is a 2022 student contributor. Watch for his future submissions.-