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Just Call Me Katniss Everdeen

I got archery certified this past weekend.  It involved an 8 hour course where I learned things like bow safety and correcting a student’s stance and bow safety.  And did I mention bow safety?  There was a lot of talk of bow safety.

I got certified because our Girl Scout troop did some fancy pants math and realized that it was less expensive to have an adult get trained and lead the activity than it would be to hire someone every time we wanted to do archery.  So off I went to learn about bow safety and more bow safety.  And then I took a hands on test, a teaching test, and a written test, and went home a newly-certified archery instructor.

But this is the thing.  Prior to this point, I had not given a lot of thought to archery.  I did it at camp and enjoyed it, but I’ve never felt a desire to pick up a bow again.  But the moment I picked up that orange compound genesis bow that fit in my hand as if it was made for my palm… I fell in love.

Like deeply in love.  Like I could have stood there in the field shooting arrows all afternoon.

archery

Which sort of bothered me because as I was sliding my arrows out of the target, pretending that I was Legolas about to fight the orcs, I asked myself what was different between a bow and a gun?  Clearly they’re both weapons.  Clearly they’re both potentially lethal.  Maybe all I was doing was shooting at a paper target, but there are others who use the bow and arrow to go hunting.  So it’s a tool that is meant to kill other things.

And yet in my brain, I saw them as different or I wouldn’t have gone and taken the course.

I don’t know.  I’m still chewing on this.  I’m going to teach the girls archery. (As well as bow safety!  Always bow safety!)  But it does make me think.

12 comments

1 Jenn { 03.15.16 at 7:34 am }

How fun! I took some archery classes as a kid because I kid butt at the renaissance festival and won tickets to something. I have thought about it over the years but now I’ve had wrist surgery and wouldn’t be able to draw a bow properly. I’m kinda jealous you got to do this. I think it is good to treat it like a weapon safety wise and it doesn’t hurt to have the skill to hunt if needed. I could probably catch fish but wouldn’t know how to clean and prepare them.

2 illustr8d { 03.15.16 at 10:36 am }

I don’t have a problem with people killing animals to eat them. (And I’ve been a vegetarian since 1991.) I have known people who were poor enough that to feed their families they had to hunt. And I didn’t have a problem with that. Further, it felt sort of privileged to have a problem with it. I do have a problem with shooting some poor creature to hang its head on your wall, but that’s another discussion.

My great aunt was an archery champion from New York! I had her bow and arrows for awhile, although I ended up giving them back to my uncle. Inside the case was a little hinged top box. And in that box were all these patches of the competitions she’d entered and some for the ones she’d won. Maybe an archery team is in your future.

3 Delenn { 03.15.16 at 1:56 pm }

One of my favorite memories of Girl Scout camp…and, like you, I haven’t really thought about it again–until my son took a class at the YMCA, and my daughter started Girl Scouts.

4 loribeth { 03.15.16 at 7:12 pm }

We did a brief unit on archery in phys ed in high school, and I found myself enjoying it a lot. I always much preferred (& still prefer) individual pursuits like yoga & gymnastics & archery to team sports. This was long, long before Katniss Everdeen or before I’d heard of Legolas :p 😉 but I’d seen enough cowboys & Indians (& Robin Hood)movies to find it fun. 😉 I didn’t think about the killing part back then, although I probably would now.

5 Mali { 03.15.16 at 7:52 pm }

I think the challenge of target-shooting (anything – rifle, archery, even darts!) would appeal to me. The accuracy required, pitting myself against myself. I’m not sure how I’d feel about hand-guns, as their use is so overwhelmingly not for targets or sport. (And they’re rare here in NZ.)

I think there’s a difference between choosing to use a weapon as a sport by target shooting, and something very different about using it to kill or to “defend” yourself against other human beings. (The hunting issue is a whole, different post/comment.)

6 Tedi @ Running with Infertility { 03.15.16 at 11:44 pm }

That’s awesome! I actually work for a company that manufactures arrows. It’s pretty cool, though I don’t have a bow and only went shooting when I was in middle school. It would be fun to try it out again.

7 torthuil { 03.16.16 at 12:00 am }

Cool. My older brother has a crossbow and it’s definitely a weapon and scary. Probably your emotional reaction to your bow has to do with how it’s portrayed in culture: a lot more romanticized than guns, a lot less press in real life to do with murder, suicide, terrorism, war etc etc

8 Katherine A { 03.16.16 at 11:55 am }

It’s funny that you post this just as I finished reading the section in a book I’m reading on Victorian life about archery – apparently the Victorians sort of popularized it as sport rather than its obvious hunting/weaponry applications. Victorian women (of, I suppose, the middle/upper classes) in particular took it up. Like several others, I think I tend to see bows (and even guns) used strictly for target shooting in a different way than those used for other purposes.

That’s really neat that you’re now certified! I have almost no coordination, so I fear to think what would happen if I tried this…or where the arrow would end up!

9 Lori Lavender Luz { 03.16.16 at 7:08 pm }

It’s so cool that you did this, because of the activity itself and because of your original motivation.

Perhaps there is something instinctual in our DNA about being powerful and skillful enough to protect and provide for ourselves and those we love. Saving a life — of course you’d feel good about this. I get the ambivalence about taking a life.

10 Cristy { 03.17.16 at 8:39 am }

I’ve always wanted to try archery. But the opportunity never presented itself. How cool that you did this!!! Can’t wait for those awesome-looking photos of you with a bow

11 deathstar { 03.17.16 at 1:06 pm }

I have a faint memory trying it once. Years ago. I always thought you had to have a lot of upper body strength which I do not possess. I’d try it again though. Just about any weapon or pointed stick for that matter could kill. It depends on the efficency of the item and the purpose it was built for. Your bow and arrow was built for target practice. So enjoy your sport!

12 Middle Girl { 03.18.16 at 7:40 am }

The first three words that came to mind when I read this post: Geena Davis Olympics. The next three: that’s so cool.

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