Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Doing, Teaching, and Dueling

Those Who Can, Do

Went out to the range, walking across a rainy Dedham, trying to improve on last week's pretty good showing. Could not get any kind of consistency, though. Opened with a 23 (of course), and never made any real move to catch up to 25 pace.

No shoulder pain, and not even any real fatigue felt until very near the end. Consistency just eluded me. Some days are like that, and it did not help that I tagged my arm early in the session. Maybe next weekend will be better, and I can pursue a 250 to start a new year.

When all was said and done, I had posted a 227. Good enough to improve on my first scoring round a few weeks ago, but still a loss of 9 points from last weekend.

Those Who Can't, Teach

After I finished shooting, I stuck around (with my bow still set up) and helped some party shooters with their form. There was one little girl who had such an exaggerated stance it was funny. Instead of having her feet shoulder width apart, it almost looked like she was trying to do splits across the shooting line. I spent a lot of ends working with her, helping her adjust her form, and trying to get her to not finish her shots with a flourish (like a symphony conductor), which sends the arrows flying every which way.

When the balloons came out, she did not start well. For the first two ends, her shots were so far off. She popped her neighbor's balloon, then she nearly popped the balloon two lanes away. She was nowhere near her own target, no less popping the balloon.

Then came the final end. Biggest prize at stake, with a bonus for being the first person to pop a balloon and doing it on the first arrow. And lo and behold, this little girl, who a minute earlier seemed to be lucky just to get her arrow within a target width of her lane, took her first arrow and popped her balloon as if it was no big deal and she had been on target all along. I knew she could do it, the little sandbagger.

The Duel in Dedham

As the party was winding down, the question came up on who would take the cross-range shot. Initially, Anthony was going to do it. I had left my bow set up so that I could take it, if given the opportunity, and then it looked like Anthony would do it if I missed with my three arrows. Then it was decided that we would both take the line in lane 1.

Just like in An Archer's Carol, we stepped to the line, Anthony with his wooden traditional bow, me with my (still relatively new) Win&Win. Three arrow shootoff to win everyone in the party a prize. We both knocked out arrows, and took aim. As I was drawing back, however, my arrow slipped off the rest, so I had to reset while Anthony loosed his arrow towards the balloon. Instead of shooting together, we would now alternate shots. Anthony's first arrow missed, and mine followed suit. Second shots each did the same thing. And then Anthony's third also failed to pop the balloon.

I knocked my third and final arrow, all eyes on the range watching what I would do. I don't know how I did it, but I was more relieved than anyone when that balloon popped at the end of my arrow. In this duel, unlike in An Archer's Carol, the Win&Win had won. I don't know if Anthony missed on purpose to put the pressure on me. I know for sure that I was trying to hit it with every shot. And thankfully I was able to do it.

So even without a great score, I still had a pretty good day at the range.

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