I suspect Tienchi heard somewhere that orange is the new black. When his flu-flus caught the sunlight they glowed like Jack-o-lanterns. And he glowed a bit himself, proud of his two-feather craftsmanship flame tangerine Mars
I think this was the best Oktoberfest I've ever had. We had a zippy Bogenschuetzenfest and one of our T-dot archery pals brought out his family. Then we saw a kajillion varieties of apples and plums at St. Jacobs Market. Then we had a fun night of dancing in a hockey arena. Then the next morning, I shot so much better than before in the Running Boar competition (it's made of foam!), I took the 1st in the women's category.
I don't know if you've also noticed a lot more Oktoberfest schtick in Toronto this year but to me, you gotta make a weekend of it in Kitchener-Waterloo, where the folks are really truly German. I muse that the German culture is fascinatingly outdoorsy and sport-oriented. I hearken to an issue of Toronto's own Worn fashion journal that had a wicked piece on the woollen coat (picture Captain Von Trapp) that goes with the lederhosen for the dudes; all of that is an outfit for hiking and being comfy in the elements. Things are all decorated with stags and eagles and flowers. When I think about it, the awesome, awesome folk dances are super-physical, too: slapping, flipping, whirling, kicking, bull-whipping, more slapping. Folk sport seems to really be a thing, and contests of skill and strength are clearly a hallmark of folksy festivals like this one.
Anyway, I feel like we're *really* doing Oktoberfest because we're playing the games. You can do pumpkin trebuchets or softball or barrel-rolling, but the two archery contests are definitely our thing AND the Bogenschuetzenfest competition is the longest-running cultural activity at this festival. 45 years, I think they said. Squinting into the sun, going from dewy, soaked grass and chill to sunburnt afternoon, slurping apple cider in a camping chair surrounded by turned leaves, and totally torn by socializing and the intense contest, I'm pretty sure this is the feeling that really nails Oktoberfest for me.
A darkening, chill evening, and limbs were scattered about. The archers locked 'em in, strung 'em up and put on their game faces.
At the Ontario Centre for Classical Sport last Sunday, the dead were shuffling straight at us in a Zombie Apocalypse and teams were charged with big responsibility. Keeping our hangers-on hanging on was the key to this game; keeping 'em fed and outta the way of the necrotic nasties was our job. It was imaginatively tied in with the associated charity as we also hauled a load of non-perishables for the Mississauga Food Bank. The organizer, Scott, clearly has a ton of fun with making up games and tipped us off to be on the lookout for attacking robots at OCCS in the spring.
Brains were on the line and we needed those for tallying our scorecards. And making up team names, naturally. When my my pal, Steven, brought word of the impending apocalypse to our class at Shawn's Archery, we knew it was a fait accompli when the name Shawn's of the Dead was tossed out. How could we not? By the way, Steven went from harbinger to charismatic leader in this yarn. He was determined that Shawn's would NOT be found without the soul for getting down. In the crunch, we turned out another team, too: Hawkeye's Backup. So much for the social breakdown trope.
I know you all flock to Tim Horton's because the lids make nice targets but I've gotta propose an indie alternative for the Toronto archer's coffee shop of choice.
Savoury Grounds (the Kingston Rd. and Vic Park location, specifically) roast their own beans, so they have a heap of burlap bags - a score for the crafty archer. If you ask nicely they'll give you as many as you want, but you probably only want one. It'll make 4 nice size targets. You want to bring a plastic bag to put it in because it'll shed itchy stuff all over. I used printer paper that makes iron-on transfers and next time I'll use the transparent kind because it's way cheaper and some of the weave's pretty light-coloured.
I got the idea from Gary at Basically Bows, who has some nice printed ones. My brain works like this: "I like that! How can I make a difficult project out of this?" It was indeed a challenge because I begged at many cafes before I found one that did their own magic (and naturally it was the one closest to home). Of course I wanted to make a target to use the next day, so I scrambled around town searching, delaying the gratification of a London Fog till I got the goods. As it happens, Savoury Grounds get raves for their London Fogs. As it also happened, when I asked there was a lovely old gent snarfing java there, who perked right up when I asked for the sack. "Archery? Me, too!"
Coolest family ever, right? It was my pleasure that this was my first official coaching experience. Lucky got in touch looking for lessons for his son Luis, and not long after, he was signing up his wife, Tess, too. We spent a lot of hours together, as I took 'em in turn for back-to-back lessons over a series of Saturdays. Thank goodness they're so awesome because it's a very different sort of challenge to observe people arching when you're used to doing it yourself!
All our hours were a drop in the bucket, for them. While Luis was on summer hols, they were out there every couple of days. They're still making time for it even with school back in session! This last time we got together, they were all tricked out with new gear: not just learning archery, I'd say now they were a family of archers. I'm really glad they took to it. In a few weeks, I saw them come a long way. Way to go, Tess and Luis!
Hi-ho, there! My dad does a wicked Kermit impression but I don't, so let's switch gears.
We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog with an important special bulletin:
Tickets for the Pan-Am Games, coming to Toronto in 2015, are now up for grabs. It's a lottery deal, so you put in your request and following the deadline, Oct. 6, they'll pick who gets the goods.
This just in! We have an actual transmission from the people bringing you the big event:
Don’t forget to Apply now to be a TORONTO 2015 Games-time volunteer. Everyone must apply. Given your current affiliation with archery, please enter the following volunteer code in the space provided at the end of the application: VEMVAR
Please be advised that:
Please email email@example.com if you have any questions.
In the words of 1950s newsguy Edward R. Murrow, "Good night and good luck."
Michael took up archery because he really got into the series Arrow. What? I'm surprising you with the news that the boom in archery's popularity has something to do with it being featured in TV, books and movies? So, he took a shine to Arrow, and he saw something there he wanted to develop in himself:
It's almost like the kid in me having a hero to look up to again Not saying I wanna be a costume vigilante lol. But...I do want to be like the Arrow to that level of skill and ability, I want that patience, that aim, that skill.
For me, archery started off as something to mimic. I'm a fan of the character Green Arrow being that I grew up a DC comic nerd. Wasn't till the TV show, that I wanted to pick up a bow and try it for myself. I started with my older brothers Lil' Soux bow - meant more for a child but... lol. Next bow I purchased was from one of the service techs at my work, a compound Lynx Magnum. Sweet deal and I was so awestruck with it I just handed the cash over without seeing it if it really was the best bow for me. My best efforts were made. Nonetheless, I practiced behind a place I work with a box target I made. Wasn't till about *coughs* 10 holes in garage door that I invested in wood slabs to rest behind it.
Some time after I had a chat with someone online and I learned of Seton range, and fun place it is. Very relaxing...very welcoming which is great for a guy with social anxiety. About a year later I acquired a Martin Saber. My aim still needs a lot of work and finding and acquiring arrows is a costly venture which is leaving less time to shoot than I'd like. Meantime I've even incorporated archery into a workout: using a broom stick and a resistance band, I've been working my draw arm, and working my opposite side. My archery goals so far
Side note: my nerd moment in archery - Stephen Amell, star of Arrow, has held both my Lynx and my Martin Saber :-P
The best you can hope for in your extracurriculars is that they provide you with achievements every so often, right? Sounds like Michael found a bullseye right there.
Not only is Meaghan's fan from the ROM gift shop teddibly glamourous but it was a very practical accessory when we were out in the sun for hours. If one had an archery caddy, they could fan one while they were arching. (I imagine this caddy enough that perhaps I ought to name him.) Anyhow, if one doesn't have a caddy, taking breaks is all the more appealing when there's the promise of an easily-generated breeze. And then one would pop back more refreshed than everyone else.
Turns out, there's also a precedent. You could carry a fan as a bit of a historical wink-wink: In the Japanese Battle of Yashima in 1185, one army was chasing the other away. The action got put on hold when the guys on the run hopped into boats, which the pursuers didn't have. Without wind, though, they were kind of stuck hanging around staring at the guys who were staring at them. There's an awkward moment for you. To fill the embarrassed silence, I guess, they tossed out a challenge. Ok, I'm just being flippant; actually, it was prompted by 'chivalrous rivalry', which sounds beautiful and very Japanese. They extended a fluttery fan from the ship's mast and goaded the foe to put an arrow through it. Since it was extended by a girl's hand, though, people were a bit hesitant to shoot. The general threw his weight around and ordered a fella to do it, and he made this big oath about cutting his bowstring and never facing people again if he failed. It didn't come to that, though. He made the shot and they say ('they' being Wikipedia) that the feat is celebrated to this day.
I'm seriously considering delving into my giant tupperware storage bin of mementos. A few years back, within a couple of days, a pal returned from a business trip to Hong Kong and gave me a fan, then another came home for a visit from his English-teaching adventures in Japan with another one. They were pretty, of course, but I didn't expect to use them. On my recent vacation, I was at the most fun salsa club ever. (In Saskatoon. Honestly.) Everyone had fans. People used the biggest and showiest as dancing accessories, too. So I can use these for two outstanding activities. Let's suffer no illusions: archers can appreciate ornate props.
Not too long ago, a bunch of us went for a little outing together to the public archery range. We know each other from Shawn's Archery, where we take the Monday night classes. It feels as much like being in a cool club as taking lessons. We hang out once a week and sometimes the chatterball just starts rolling and we have to exert ourselves to focus on the archery. (It's good that way. Archers should practice tuning things out.) Adam - the one in the snowshoes tee - got the ball rolling and with a little "Pssst..pass it on." we had ourselves a picnic in the sun!
Our coach, Shawn Adams, is available for consultation on buying equipment - which is something you really do want knowledgeable help for - and this year the Monday nighters have gone from mostly renting to mostly owning. Adam, in fact, came to the picnic right from getting his new stuff. Owning means people can take advantage of the public range to practise, but it takes a certain amount of momentum to get yourself down there, especially when you haven't been before. And if the camaraderie wasn't enough impetus, we had a table full of goodies:D
By the way, congrats to Adam and Erin, and welcome to their new kid! Erin was arching practically right till she popped.
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.