Saturday 15 November 2014

30 Things by 30: Archery

Another thing that I added to my 30 things list was trying Archery. I don’t know why I was interested in learning this – it wasn’t due to The Hunger Games unlike the assumption most people make – but it always seemed like something fun to try. Something that I subscribe to is LivingSocial, which is a deal of a day type service and a while back they had an offer for an introduction archery class. It was on for half price and was a two-hour session including the equipment and a lesson. Amanda was over at the time and we decided to go for it. We bought the deal and redeemed it for an upcoming date on a Friday evening.

There was a bit of confusion over the location – my fault for not reading the address correctly – and some drama over transportation, so my parents ended up driving us. The facility was in Markham at a place called Target Pro Archery. When we pulled up both Amanda and I were a little apprehensive – no one was there and it was a non-descript unit with a small sign in the window. We waited outside and about 10 minutes before the lesson was supposed to start the instructor pulled up. We were the first two inside but soon after the rest of the class arrived. They keep the classes small partly due to the size of the space but also to ensure that the students can have detailed instruction.

There were a total of 10 of us in the class with ages ranging from about 13-30. After filling out all the paperwork we were outfitted in security measures – a thumb guard for one hand and a wrist guard for the other. The instructor then went over safety information which was slightly terrifying!  Anyone with long hair had to have it tied back as there have been cases where a hair gets caught in the string/arrow and the force has pulled off hair and/or bits of the scalp. We were also warned not to draw the bow past a point on our faces because it could hit us and leave us with nasty bruises and a split lip (which happened to the instructor on his first try!) or not to dry shoot the bow as it could explode. The overall experience was quite the opposite to our gun range experience in Las Vegas, as I walked into that absolutely terrified but ended up relaxing once we began. With archery I walked in all calm and excited but after the safety speech I spent the entire lesson slightly fearful.

The set-up when we arrived 
Ready to learn but nervous!
The instructor was great – very patient, through and he demonstrated everything to us carefully and in detail. He also came over to us individually to assist us in our shooting. Over the course of two hours we had a chance to shoot about 20+ times. We each had three arrows that we would shoot at our targets, retrieve when it was safe and then start over once again. About halfway through we were given something to put on the bottom of the bow – the technical name of which escapes me – it screwed in and added a bit of extra weight to it. I believe that it stabilized it or something but truthfully I didn’t notice much of a difference.

My arrows wouldn’t shoot straight – instead they kept veering to the right and hitting Amanda’s targets. The instructor said it was due to the fact I was pulling my face away before letting go. Seriously? After the safety talk I didn’t want that thing anywhere near my face! Something scary happened at one point as something went wrong with my bow. The arrow didn’t fire and the string sort of snapped a bit (it didn't break). Neither the instructor or I knew what happened but he was able to fix it and said I was lucky it was only a 14 pound bow – anything larger and it could have been dangerous. I think he string may have gotten twisted – but again I am not sure – and not knowing made me even more cautious for the rest of the lesson.

Amanda shooting 
Adding the targets - which I couldn't hit. I kept hitting the far right in the black. 
Overall both Amanda and I enjoyed Archery and it’s something that I would definitely do again. I liked the place and the instructor was great so I would recommend Target Pro Archery to anyone looking to learn.An amusing note to end on; recently Brian asked me what was up with all these new things I am trying - the gun range, the archery lesson and eventually axe throwing (which is also on the list). My response – “I am getting prepared for the zombie apocalypse!” Not really the real reason, but a fun one nonetheless! 

Honestly, these are just sports/things have I have been interested in trying but always been a bit fearful to. I am thrilled to finally be doing them and have been enjoying the experience! 

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