Mack S. May – The great outdoors is amazing, especially on a beautiful spring day. A gentle breeze, the sun shining, green grass, and a cold drink are perfect for relaxation and fun. Well, the day was just as beautiful as I described, and I was shooting a tournament – an outdoor tournament. Here in my area of Kentucky, some archers, like myself, like to practice outside. It’s not very common for archery tournaments to actually be held outdoors here, like it is in some states such as Arizona. So to say I was happy was an understatement, I was elated to be shooting outside for a tournament.
Overall the day was amazing- except for the multiple, unexpected, and unthought-of problems that arose. Heat exhaustion and dehydration were one of the major issues. The day wasn’t overly hot, the highest it got was 85 degrees. But standing and walking around in the heat, and constantly shining sun, for roughly an hour can do a number on anyone, especially when they’re used to a nice air-conditioned gymnasium. There were multiple kids and even some coaches that had to be pulled out to sit in the shade with ice packs and cold drinks. Multiple players and coaches for the day were sunburned. It seemed as if we didn’t have enough sunscreen for every person that started to turn red. One of my coaches must have forgotten to put any sunscreen on, seeing as he had a beet-red neck by the end of the day, while his shaved head remained pale where his hat covered him. It was quite an interesting pattern! The only other problem was the decent amount of missing or lost arrows throughout the day.
During the Outdoor tournament, the scores were actually better than expected. Multiple kids thought they might do worse because of the many factors, such as uneven ground, the sun, and the varying wind. Some of those archers in truth scored close to or even better than their personal bests that day. One of the teams that participated in the tournament had never shot 3d before and this was their first time doing so. With that challenge and including the fact that the team had never shot a tournament outdoors so far, it was a wonderful surprise to see the team shoot so well. Some of their archers that shot very well were even able to earn placing spots on the leaderboards. There were great accomplishments for archers and teams alike that day.
Not only were the scores good, but so was the food. At that tournament, the boy scouts had offered to do concessions. They had brought cold drinks and a grill. They offered fresh food, like hamburgers and hot dogs. The hamburgers were truly amazing- fresh off the grill with melty cheese- a true delight to taste. Another beautiful thing that happened that day was the help and knowledge offered to one of the other teams. As I said earlier, there was a team that had never shot 3D before, and lots of the archers didn’t know how to score, or even some of the rules of 3D. With a positive attitude, some of their lane partners or even other coaches would help them out by teaching them to properly score. They would also help the new 3D archers with what animal to move to next. It was a beautiful moment of pure compassion and fellowship between the teams and archers.
The outdoor tournament was a great day for everyone involved. There were so many good things that came from it, many friendships were made and many had smiles on their faces that day. It goes to show that even when life throws you a curve ball, sometimes you just need to look at things from a different perspective to find the positive parts and enjoy the surprises you were given. I hope y’all can learn from it and try something like it in the near future. Have a wonderful day!
Mack S. is a 2023 student contributor.