by Deborah Rogers –
It’s an ancient art that has been practised around the globe for at least 5,000 years. Lucky for me, I only had to go around the corner to try my hand at the classic target sport of archery. With visions of Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot, and Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games, I imagined myself elegantly taking aim and piercing my target with a no-nonsense confidence. When I met instructor Jarrod Ball of Pacific Archery Academy, he informed me that it is Disney’s Princess Merida, from the movie Brave, who brings most girls to his programs!
Having shot in his youth, Jarrod picked up a bow again eight years ago and has been obsessed since. Currently he is President of the Victoria Bowmen and runs the junior program. He’s an NCCP coach and learning facilitator for the NCCP too. It’s safe to say that Jarrod lives and breathes archery, so expanding to open an archery academy seemed a natural next step. There’s nothing like an enthusiastic advocate to encourage a beginner to give it a go, and so I found myself on a Saturday morning in the North Saanich Middle School gymnasium, armed!
Jarrod had the able support of his father David, another NCCP Certified Instructor, and clearly an inspiration figure.
Beautifully simple, archery is just you, a bow (we used all new equipment, simple and lightweight) the arrows and a target. In fact we were in a line with five targets in front of us. A whistle system told us when we could shoot and when we had to put down bows to walk to the targets and collect the arrows. Trying to pull them out of the target was the best demonstration of how much force the arrows are carrying as they soar through the air – definitely listen for the all-clear signal before stepping forward!
Alongside me on the firing line were archers young and old. A mother/daughter pair, a father/son, a married couple and a mom with twins: a boy and a girl. Jarrod had told me that one of the reasons archery appeals to him is its universal nature. There’s no age limit, it’s possible for many people with disabilities, and is a non-impact sport that you could enjoy through your whole life. It’s also a meditative practice that keeps your brain active.
So with only a few words of instruction I was free to shoot. Arm straight, elbow turned, chest open for a full range of motion, pull back, elbow up, use the sight, aim and release. So simple yet so many things to remember each time. With gentle correction from the coaches, I soon got into the rhythm. If your arms are in the right position the pull back and aim are one swift motion, and the gym was filled with the satisfying twang and thwack of arrows flying into targets. There’s a beautiful mind/body connection where you can stop thinking about each shot and start to feel it. I tapped into my ancient warrior ancestors – or was it Wonder Woman – just for a moment; a very soothing, peaceful moment.
For more info, visit www.pacificarcherybc.com.
What do you want to see Deb do next? Send your ideas or invitations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by www.nuttycake.com.