I don’t usually keep score. I swear it’s no reflection on my feelings about my score, but it seemed somehow fitting that one of my arrows pierced a scorecard – and the pen underneath (which was technically in smithereens). It actually hit the 10 points scored for someone else’s bullseye, too. :o
Rob and I went to the December tournament that the Ontario Centre for Classical Sport puts on for its members. I’m kind of blown away at the number of people who came out on a Sunday morning for this, and just among the few people we chatted with, that included coming to the far side of Oakville from Ajax, downtown, and ourselves from Scarborough.
I really like the guiding hand the folks at OCCS give in terms of the etiquette and game of archery. Like, when I used to take dance lessons, I loved my studio because they taught us how to ask people to dance. A lot of places don’t highlight the social aspect of their sport. Part of that, for archery, is in scoring.
It was so social that it was a 4-person job, which was the number of people sharing each target area. Someone to call the score, two people to tally the numbers on paper, and one to mark the holes in the paper. (We felt like such newbs because we didn’t know what that meant, so in case you don’t either, marking holes is to put a pen mark on holes you’ve already tallied so you can ignore them later.) Obviously, the more people checking the math, the better. Marking the holes seems like a bit of a make-work project but it was a pretty good system for mixing more and less experienced players and doling out tasks that were simple enough for one to have a role while getting the gist, but one that’s unlikely to get screwed up. Especially, as I said, early on a Sunday.
An odd video is making the rounds of memedom. It features a dude doing speed archery. I was drawn in by the title and well, it wasn’t for me. This isn’t how I do archery. This isn’t how anybody I know does archery and its kind of the opposite of what a lot of us are doing: taking our time, really measuring our draw and aim. If you’re really good, maybe you just shoot 3 arrows a go but really precisely. Can’t relate. Moving on.
… the video makes this point, in it’s weird robot voice: if you were doing archery in war, this is how you’d do it. Even in hunting, speed is more relevant than it is to the target archers I’m mostly surrounded by. Besides, there appear to be a subset of archers who do make this their thing.
Consider this a meditation on disciplines. By meditation, I mean, I’m thinking this out on my keyboard and hoping that gets it straight in my brain.
I’ve been told something to the effect of “Depending on the discipline you follow in archery, you do things differently.” To put it so broadly it’s self-evident. My inexperience made it even more meaningless, and I thought, “Yep. Ok. You can use a compound for hunting. You can carry a parasol and wear a bra over your clothes if you’re an Olympic dreamer.” Yes, they are broad strokes. Now, because of blog, my eyes have opened to lots of things people do with bows that I guess I’ve started to think of as different disciplines: Korean traditional, Japanese kyudo, hunting, tournaments, archery in burlesque entertainment. But there’s a lot of potential for overlap in these and it’s a pretty motley array.
At my lessons, too, as I’ve gotten a little glimpse of the difference between traditional and Olympic bows, I’ve been making a distinction between those as disciplines. The case was made for me trading out my wood riser for an aluminum one. Someone else suggested that I seemed more interested in traditional barebow than Olympic-style and that I might find I was happier with my wooden one. So I’m thinking, “Gotcha! Pin the discipline down by recognizing the gear that goes with it!”
Well, I found myself at a traditional archery-focused shop/range and almost all of the bows for sale were wooden but of quite different kinds: stickbows, longbows, take-down recurves, one-piece recurves. And, I think, just one with an aluminum riser. I asked the guy, wasn’t aluminum suitable for traditional and he said yes but not generally as appealing to himself and other traditionalists. So you can lump all these things together and they can cross over into different uses, but wooden ones tickle peoples idea of tradition, and aluminum ones get the Olympic thumbs-up for being precisely manufactured and easy to screw all kinds of gadgets into, (and eschewing gadgets defines traditional archery.)
The place also has 3D and target archery, which get typically get listed as two separate disciplines. So, I’m thinking now that traditional and Olympic are more like style-choices. Lists of disciplines usually seem to be about what you’re shooting at: target=target, animal=hunting, fake animal=3D, targets set up like a golf course=field, nothing but distance=flight. And they never seem to have a classification for the kind the video dude does. Which is probably good. Because mostly that would seem useful for shooting at a bunch of people, and I’m glad that’s not really in vogue.
Archery class is more than archery. Who woulda thunk archery class involved biting into delicious brownies? But it can. It does. God bless.
Last week, Jannie proclaimed Christmas her baking season. Jannie is in our class with Shawn’s Archery and she’s been there from the get go. Really, I think she was the first person to break the ice with everybody.
Baking season? I approve but I can’t really relate, as I don’t cook. Not even a little. (The fire department might have been here when I cooked for myself during Rob’s holiday. On the first day he was gone.) But Jannie’s a foodie with a heart-on for baking blogs and further explanation revealed that one of her Christmas joys is to bake wonderful delicious things for folks including our archery class!
Enter the brownie.
Now, I eat (and cheat) gluten free and to my dismay thought I wouldn’t be able to partake of this miracle without scabbing over but Jannie’s hip to the modern dilemma of food-sharing and she was right on top of accommodating allergies and the like. So this past Monday night, none had to miss out on the joy of a chocolate-chip-topped, moist, delicious brownie – and if you’ve tried gluten-free, that’s a significant accomplishment.
We shot some arrows between snacks, too, but once you start doing things like brownies, you’ve got a community instead of just a class.
Tara Vaughan lives with Rob Cruise and their pooches, Artemis and Louis in the East end of Toronto. They sort of dabbled in archery for a long time but actually got equipment a couple of years ago. Tara's loving it and Toronto and - Hey, look! She has a blog about them.