Monday, April 29, 2013

It fell to Earth, I know not where

My father's always been into archery, but despite his efforts to encourage it, I never really took an interest. For one thing, it required that I be outdoors, which pretty much disqualified it from the start.

He was really into it as a young man, spending hours practicing every day and competing at the state level. He saw Howard Hill shoot on one occasion. Howard Hill was the guy who did all the trick shooting for the Errol Flynn Robin Hood movies. He killed an elephant in real life with a single shot from a bow. (Howard Hill, not my dad.) His website has a list of the animals he's killed with a bow and arrow, and it includes 40 sharks. I have to wonder about the circumstances surrounding that. 

On the day my father saw him, Hill was doing Annie Oakley trick shots, like shooting thrown coins out of the air. Not only was he doing it with a longbow, he was doing it with a borrowed longbow because his was being repaired that day. 

How cool is that?

Lily's been having a growing interest in archery, so I suggested that she call pappy and we do something together.

So he dug out the old bow I had used as a kid, and we arrived early for the family picnic.

She was so excited. I snapped this picture of Lily as we were walking towards where she would shoot. I felt like she should be walking in slow motion to the accompaniment of the opening chords of Styx's Renegade
 "Oh mama, I'm in fear for my life from the long arm of the law..."

Just before we got there, she told me "I've been dreaming of this!"

My father's been shooting forever, and he's a patient teacher. I like these pictures with him.

She might be a little young to use that particular bow. (I asked my father what the draw weight was on it, but he had no idea). Lily's got long legs and they're really strong. She easily kicks over her head and is always showing off how high and strong she can kick. (We were getting ready for bedtime the other night and Lily asked "Do you want to see how hard I can kick you in the stomach?!" and not even in a mean way, but actually believing that this was something I might like to experience.) 

Unfortunately, she has the arm strength of a caterpillar. Her accuracy was fine, but she just wasn't shooting with enough force to penetrate the target. And that's as much a function of technique as it is strength. If she sticks with it, she'll improve. 

A lot of things come easy to her, so she's frustrated by those that don't. I hope she sees the value in trying hard and sticking with this. If she does, I'll be sure to write about it here.

Until then, here's a cool video of a Russian girl practicing her archery.

1 comment:

  1. This is so cool! I wish I could be an archer like Lily.