Of course, it never stopped for some folks. In my class at Shawn’s Archery, we’ve had a couple of hockey players of our own.
Stephanie Laycock says she wasn’t even a very good skater when she took up hockey in her 30s. (Listen, skating and handling a puck, too, is a miracle as far as I’m concerned.) She got to know Mary-Louise on the ice, and then they found out about the workshops at Casa Loma which then led to lessons. They say archery’s a pretty good counterpoint to hockey. A little more zen. Of course.
At centre ice, folks, here’s Mary-Louise Noble:
It’s Monday night and my friend Stephanie and I lug our sports equipment to a church basement
on Danforth Avenue for our weekly archery lesson with Shawn Adams. Well, we don’t actually
“lug” our equipment. We reserve that for Wednesday and Saturday nights when we don our
hockey skates and really lug our hockey equipment and sticks to the ice rink.
“So what made you want to take up archery? It’s so different from ice hockey.” This is the
common refrain we hear from our new found archery friends when they learn that we middle
aged women are out twice a week taking shots on another kind of target. Sure, archery doesn’t
have the same kind of aerobic results as playing ice hockey, but that’s not what Stef and I were
looking for when we sought out archery instruction with Shawn.
While archery might be slower and less frenetic than hockey, both sports require a singular
mental focus to be successful. You really have to be able to bounce back after a terrible shot,
whether it’s hockey or archery) and refocus your goal, whether it is hitting the target with your
arrow or sending the puck into the net.
The one thing that archery allows us to do is to slow down a bit and really pay attention to our
bodies and to “feel” how our positioning and follow through impacts our shot accuracy. It’s not
really about seeing the target as it is about feeling where our shoulders, arms, fingers and head
should be when we release the arrow. The importance of this was driven home to us after an
exercise where we positioned ourselves to shoot then closed our eyes just before releasing
the arrow from the bow. Surprisingly, when we closed our eyes and removed our ego from the
equation our shot accuracy actually improved. “It’s a bit like yoga”, my friend Stephanie says,
“But with a bow and arrow”. I couldn’t agree more.
I might have stumbled on a project that would be perfect for them. I’ve been poking around on ArcheryTalk, which seems to be quite the go-to archery forum, and in the DIY section, somebody has made a stabilizer from – wait for it… a hockey puck.
Alas, our hockey gals are taking a hiatus of their own – from archery class, and I hear they both have
travels ahead of ‘em. Bon voyage and hope we see you again soon!