Sarah Eshman April – Every sport, activity, or other part of life has its ups and downs. Sometimes you have to wait them out solo. Sometimes you have a team of friends by your side, all going through it together.
This archery season, my archery team experienced the latter. It affected each of us differently, but we made it through together.
Personally, I missed a massive opportunity that I had been working towards for months.
In previous articles, I mentioned that last year I shot very poorly and below my goals at the state tournament, missing the scholarship shoot. After that, I developed a much stronger sense of determination to succeed in archery. I proceeded to win the IBO-3D Eastern Nationals tournament a few months later.
Once the season ended, I set my focus on the next state tournament. I worked my way through a minor score slump and finally broke out of it, just in time for the state scholarship shoot. My scores were landing in the high 280’s for bullseye and low 290’s for 3D. I was so excited for the scholarship shoot.
That’s when it happened.
Our team was deemed ineligible to participate in the state scholarship shootout. We had already completed and won the state qualifier, so this was an extremely unexpected twist. My coaches and parents worked relentlessly to try to get the team reinstated before the deadline to register, but it didn’t work.
While we prayed, waited, and hoped for everything to be sorted out, the tournament came and went, along with the scholarship prizes that I and my fellow teammates had been working so hard for throughout the year.
That scholarship was a very important opportunity for many of the archers on the team, me included; I graduate from highschool next spring and have been working hard to save up money for college. Many of the other archers on my teams are also juniors, and this missed chance at college funding was extremely disappointing.
Since I lost that source of scholarship money, my only chance for the rest of the year will be the national and open tournaments. Unfortunately, this means that I’ll have to improve my score even more, which will be very difficult.
However, my entire team is working for the same thing- to improve. We are united in our disappointment over missing the tournament, but we are also united in our determination to make up for it.
Team unity is so important! Sometimes it takes time to develop, but once it’s there, you can’t beat it with anything. A divided, unhappy team winning first place won’t be half as excited as a unified team winning second. A team should operate together- each archer works for their personal goals, but they also work together for one large goal. Whenever one archer has a bad day and shoots poorly, the rest of the team lifts them up. This includes the juniors shooting 290’s and the middle schoolers shooting 250’s. Everyone is supported. Everyone is part of the family.
This setback of missing out on the state scholarship shootout could have dismantled the unity, peace, and grit of our team. But instead, we’ve taken our disappointment and turned it into motivation.
We’ve already improved, and won’t stop working until the next tournament.
Sarah Eshman is a 2023 student contributor.