I have been job hunting for a role to get my archery career off the ground and I have found some ideas of what to do get to work as a career. Recently I went to a Decathlon branch in Lakeside and found an advert for an archer to join their nature team. I made an enquiry to follow up my application and much to my surprise I discovered that I am the only one who has applied for that role! It sounds silly and I often wondered if there is no market for archery in popular sports. It beg to differ and I can tell you it’s a really good sport and can be deflected from it’s niche status quo. I love archery and I believe it has the same appeal as golf and cycling. As a sport it requires some physical strength without the extreme sweat of athletics but it requires precision, accuracy, focus and determination. It gives me great health for my mental well being too. I can tune my mind to focus only the targets that I shoot at and master the perfect stance of strength and agility.
It’s also appealing to engineering buffs and science geeks too. It allows me to combine my passions for sport, science, engineering and championship games. The bow and arrow has had a resurgence of interest thanks to popular culture from films and TV like Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games novels and films, the DC Comic Book hero Arrow, the Disney character Merida from Brave and of course the recent retelling of Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe. I first got interested in archery as a kid when I idolised Robin Hood but I never considered taking it up as a sport before. Back then archery was something of an invisible quiet success story enjoyed by outdoor recreationists, Olympians and historical recreation enthusiasts. When it came to London 2012 I had been a follower of Olympic sporting heroes but I didn’t see what kind of sport I could see myself doing. I’m not that physically strong for the popular sports like athletics, swimming, cycling and boxing so I looked to the less well known sports that only ever seem to get noticed when the Olympics come around every four years like judo, triathlon, taekwondo, pentathlon and of course archery. As the Olympics rolled on I started to take up a new sport and went into archery and I picked up a bow and arrow for the first time in years. I even used my curiosity to explore archery and it’s culture and I found that there was more to this sport than meets the eye.
For starters there is a wide variety of ways both novel and competitive that you can enjoy archery. Anyone can use a bow and arrow and you can play in all types of weather. Thanks to that I developed a new found passion for outdoor activities. I grew to hate watching TV and playing games and getting active outdoors, even if it was raining or snowing. I have shot in the rain and I was the only one of my club who was brave enough to do it on a practice day. I can’t wait for the chance of a tournament to do it in terrible weather. I stood in the rain for three hours in Glasgow marshalling a crossing point, a tournament shooting at a distance of 70 metres should be a doddle. Talking of which I would like to try out some more extreme archery games like field archery where you play in a forest just like Robin Hood. You walk from target to target shooting three – six arrows at a time. Archery is a great way to socialise too where you compare shots and share ideas on how to define and improve your technique. I’ve met some pretty amazing people throughout my time that have the kind of passion and determination it takes to win. They are the kind of sportspeople you can hold in high esteem and follow as an example for generations. Like the shooters before them as warriors modern sporting archers shoot gallantly and are worthy of recognition in national sporting history.
All the while we shoot we even make a fashion statement out of our game too. Archery has been used in advertising to sell and it demonstrates it as a weapon of artistry and craftsmanship. The bow is a beautifully crafted machine that looks as elegant to an archer as a bicycle looks to a cyclist. I am a proud owner of an SF Premium + recurve bow, a type of which uses the power of kinetic tension to propel an arrow to a distant target. It’s bit like a longbow, only made of collapsible components and can flex to get a better shot. Us archers have a great desire for fashion when you take to the shooting range too. Archery is fashion forward and we customise our gear to stand out as individual sportspeople with our own unique identity. One of the most notable accessories is on our quivers with which we create ‘quiver candy’ like lucky charms, flags, sponsor banners, etc. This is very important for me as a sportsperson because colour themes, which are common in archery, are the best way to show off your team colours in a matching pattern of your character. I made sure my archery gear and clothing is suited to a fashion statement. I started off going all Team GB with a red and white bow and blue, red and white accessories. When I became a Clyde-Sider I changed it to a grey, red and white scheme. I can change it to any sort of scheme for whatever takes my fancy.
The standard clothing scheme for archers is cargo trousers, shorts or track pants. You can wear long sleeve or short sleeve tops but to avoid catching your arrow or string on the clothing thin layers are recommended. Especially as it helps to allow you to pull back on the bow. The standard shirts that you wear are polyester/cotton polo or V-neck which can be layered with a long sleeve t-shirt on chilly days. Footwear can be trainers or boots that can work for outdoor or indoor settings depending on the type of competition. You wouldn’t see this kind of garb in golf, as they are too posh with their argyle jumpers, chinos and smart shoes and they have a laid back approach to playing on the field. One more thing that makes archery highly impressive with fashion is the fabulous hats we like to put on for our game. Some of Korea’s finest like to wear fine headwear when they go out on the field. These hats most archers wear are bucket hats, baseball caps, volleyball hats, sun hats, cloches, trilby hats , patrol hats, etc. We practically make a fetching spin on the way fashion headgear is presented in sport. That might not be surprising for some as people will have probably seen Robin Hood famously adorn a hooded cloak and sometime a corner hat with a red feather sticking out of it from the side. It’s hard to identify what kind of hat this was called, but some historians believe that it is a triangular hat made from felt blanket so it had no identity of it’s own except that it has become synonymously known as a Robin Hood hat.
On the whole archery is a sport that everyone can play and it increases confidence every time you shoot. I can feel that mental picture of strength and power exerting from within as I fire towards the target. You can play as a team or on your own as an individual. However you play it is a great exercise of consistency and accuracy. Anyone can play archery and there are tons of different equipment to choose from. Whether you choose longbow, recurve, compound or bare bow you can earn achievements at the end of each match almost anywhere. It’s great fun to watch and has a greater impact on an audience than golf has. In fact golf was developed as a spin off from archery almost a thousand years ago when some people wanted to use an alternative way of hitting targets without wasting valuable ammunition. That’s why arrows are more precious than golf balls.