My name is Megan Christopherson. I am in 8th grade, and I live on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska. Most of the schools in our district have less than 20 students, so we don’t usually have enough kids for sports teams. Archery gives us the opportunity to compete in a sport, and we have some pretty unique practice conditions, which I might like to highlight later in the year.
For starters, I love archery. I started shooting as soon as I could get my hands on a bow. Even before I was old enough to compete, my sister and I used to walk up to the school and shoot with the older kids. Once, I remember my sister shooting over the curtain, and the coach had to retrieve her arrow from the wall. Both of our abilities have improved considerably since then…
As I got older, I began to struggle with nervousness when shooting in competition, and even during practice. I would get discouraged when my arrows didn’t go where I wanted, and I let my disappointment affect my form, which impacted my score. During the 2021-22 State Tournament, I started out uneasy like usual, but one of the teachers encouraged me, and after that, the fog started to lift. I began to believe in myself, and the rest of the competition went smoothly. My score wasn’t as high as I had hoped, but it rounded out my district’s team score for the Alaska State Championship in Bullseye, which gave me the opportunity to travel to Sandy, Utah for Western Nationals. It was a lot of work to get there, though. You see, we shot State later than normal, and only had about one week to fundraise to get there. I have to admit, that was pretty nerve-wracking. But all the people helping out with it were determined, so we made it. In order to travel from my community to Utah, we had to drive 2 hours and take a 3.5-hour ferry ride to another island in order to catch a jet. Our jet flights were delayed and rerouted, and we almost missed the competition.
My team shot 3-D the first day, and while my spirits were up, my scores were down. However, I didn’t let that get to me. While I was shooting my arrows, all I could think about was how truly fun it is to do this. It went by so quickly; I wanted to keep shooting! As a result, during Bullseye, I scored the best I have ever done in a competition. I even got the same score as my sister, who was shooting one target over from me, which is pretty cool if you ask me.
What I have learned is that there are a lot of things that can affect your shooting, and having a good growth mindset is one of them. Over the past year, I believe my growth mindset has improved, and my whole attitude towards archery in general. It’s becoming easier than it was in the past, and more fun, too, now that I’ve gotten past getting nervous. If you get nervous, my advice is to just try and relax, distract your mind, and just not think about it too much. Be determined, and most importantly, don’t give up. You’ll do great.
-Megan is a 2023 student contributor-