Friday, December 20, 2013

Shoot it like Everdeen

I just finished reading the Hunger Games books.  So there could not have been a better time to take my first archery lesson.  Learn to shoot game right through the eye. 

My sister and I had been wanting to do it for a while, but the timing never worked out.  When it finally did, it ended up being on one of the coldest days of the year.  While the lesson didn't take place outside, it did take place in a barn without heating, with a concrete floor, and with very little insulation. So, it was cold. 

If Katniss can learn in the woods with a homemade bow and arrow, surely I could learn in two hours in a 40 degree barn with borrowed equipment. How hard could it be?  You put the arrow in, pull the bow back, aim, and let go. 

I clearly underestimated the complexities of archery.  

Lesson #1: it's easier to shoot without 80 layers plus gloves on. 

We learned about where to stand. How to stand. When to move past the yellow line. When not to move past the yellow line. How not to shoot someone else.  How not to get accidentally shot by someone else.  

Grab the bow handle. 

Rest the bow on your hip. 

Grab an arrow. 

Don't drop the arrow.  Especially not in front of the yellow line. 

Nock the arrow.  

Bring the bow up to position.

Keep your elbow straight.  But not too straight. 

Pull the bow back.  With three fingers.  But not too far back. 


Take a deep breath. 

Let go. 

Don't move until the arrow hits the target. 

Wait for all clear to be called.  Retrieve your arrows.

Katniss Everdeen, I am not.  I honestly don't even know how she would be able to move that quickly with her bow and arrow.  It took a good 30 seconds or so each time for me to get my arrow, nock my arrow (which made me laugh every time the instructor said it), get into shooting position, and shoot.  Any animal with half a brain would be long gone by that point.  

Plus, I can really only hit stationary objects, and even with those, I don't have great aim. Even though I'm left handed (at least with this), I'm right eye dominant.  Which makes it a little hard to aim super well.  I'm sure if you give me enough time, I'll figure it out.  I did try to shoot right-handed once.  While my aim was slightly better, it was more than offset by how awkward the motion felt. 

So, wildlife of New Jersey, rest assured that you're still safe from me.

I sadly did not get to wear a quiver of arrows on my back.  I imagined that I would be like Link from Zelda.  Instead, I kind of look like a deranged Easter egg who can't be trusted with sharp objects.

Ignore my haphazard outfit.  It was in a cold barn and this was what I had. Layers.  Like an onion.  

Even though I knew it would be taking place in a barn, I somehow imagined us in a field, with targets on stands. Something like you'd see in Robin Hood.

I'd love to say that I hit the bulls-eye every time. But clearly I didn't. 

On the plus side, I only completely missed the target once.  Yay, me! 

I want to go again.  It was so fun.  And, hey, maybe if I ever need to live in the woods, I won't die. 

So, if anyone needs a last minute Christmas present for me, a left-handed bow with some cool looking arrows would be great.  And this.  I obviously need something to shoot at.

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