To many people, NASP® is more than just a sport, it can be a passion, a way to create friends, a stress reliever. For me and many others, it is another family. A family is a group of people that will be there for you no matter what. Most of the time in the NASP® family, they are not related to you by blood unless you have siblings in it. However, these people, considered another family, are going to be friends and family of the other archers that are on your team.
Just in our small community archery team, we have a big family. Everyone is always there to support one another, no matter what. One way that we stuck together as a team at the state tournament this year was when two of our archers had lost their mom a few weeks before the tournament. Their mom was a huge part of the community and was always there supporting everyone on the team. So, the practice after we got the news, my coach and I came up with the idea to create shirts to show the girls that we were there for them. I also made sure that they had different ways to contact me so if they needed anything they could get a hold of me. This is one way that the archery family stuck together and was there for one another during a hard time, not just for the girls, but for the whole team.
On the state level, the family just continues to grow, and I have seen it multiple times throughout the past four years that I have completed. As I have gone around to multiple tournaments before going to the state level, most of the coaches have gotten to know at least some other archers that are not on their own team. At the state level in North Dakota, no one wants to see any of the kids fail or do bad so the coaches, and even other archers that are shooting around them, are always willing to help. I have seen coaches tell a kid to just let that one arrow go after they had a wild flyer and for whatever reason, they will listen to a different coach even if their coach has told them the same thing multiple times before. Also, at state, the coaches will always tell other archers’ good luck before they shoot and a good job after they are done shooting. Over the past four years that I have been participating in NASP®, I have created many friends and for the most part, we are always trying to beat each other in tournaments. However, we always want to see each other do good and are always proud of each other, even if one of us shoots better than the others.
After just shooting at the national level, I have seen the family grow even further. Kids started to struggle and they just became frustrated when their coach or teammate tried to talk to them. When a different coach talks to them, they are not as frustrated. Sometimes, the archer would listen to the other coach’s advice. From what I have seen at nationals, is that the coaches and other archers want everyone to do well. Although there are people that you want to beat, especially at the national level, you still want them to do good and are still happy for them if they do better than you do.
As the NASP® teams gets bigger, the family will continue to grow even more. Before you know it, there will be so many people in your corner that you did not know even know you had. I have seen this over the past four years where a coach will come up and talk to me, and I had no clue that this coach even knew who I was. Or, an archer who I had no idea who they were, but they knew exactly who I was because they had looked up to me and wanted to shoot just like me.