Life, or a Service Disconnect Box, Gets in the Way

The morning practice went as planned.  Two hours on the range being coached for an hour of it.  Being coached is harder than regular practice.  As lunchtime approached it was time for a break.  My brain was full.

The plan was to get home, eat, wait for the HVAC guys to come and check my furnace.  Then practice again in the afternoon. Things had seemed off with our heating system and it needed to be checked. Things were off – in fact when I got home from practice there was no heat.

The HVAC repairman showed up right on schedule.  (Imagine that!)  He begins checking things in the attic. Rather than using a screwdriver or some other tool to initiate his deliberations he starts sniffing. Sniffing?  (Is his nose running?)

His nose knows.  He opened the service disconnect box to discover the thing has burnt slap up!  (Can’t say enough good about the smoke detectors in our house.)

Luckily, we didn’t catch fire here.  Even luckier, the electricians that cover our warranty were here within a few minutes after I called.  (Wouldn’t you be if you’d installed something is a house that caught fire.)

Repairs were made at no charge.  But, the afternoon practice when up in a blast of electrical components.

(When the electricians were leaving I showed one of them my target bow.  He didn’t have it in his hand 3 second before he rears back on the string and draws the bow.  Nope, no arrow.  Yep, I was yelling, “No, no, no..”  Thankfully, my alarm suggested caution and he eased back on the bow string.  This is the last time anyone touches my bow other than a bow tech)

Some Baggy Pants

It was time to break up practice.  That meant, morning dots and the afternoon 3D.  I’ve been shooting a lot of dots. The difference between dots and 3D is like bicycle road racing compared to mountain bike racing. Or running on the streets versus trail running.  Either way it is all fun.

This new replacement coyote is more like a cocker spaniel

The break was refreshing and will gradually work into a spring training program. The old 3D targets on my range are really beginning to need replacing.  There’s this old coyote that gets shot on his hind end because the original chest area is completely split.  His days of repair are long gone.

This cinnamon bear needs a new center.

There’s a trail camera on the range.  It is on a line with this javelina. This little tayassu tajacuis set so that it can be shot out to around 45 yards.  You know that varmint will show up at all your 3D competitions in 2019 setting at your maximum distance.  Count on it.

At 41 yards, this mountain lion is a fun shot

Anyway, this camera snapped a picture or two of me as I was working back to take aim on the javelina at 75 yards (no I think it was 37 yards.)

I’d ordered some work pants off of Amazon.  They seemed fine to me.  They felt durable enough.  Naturally, they were too long so I had them hemmed.  After bringing the home I wore them the next day.  Everything seemed fine to me. Then, Brenda, my wife looked at me wearing those new work pants.

I didn’t see anything amiss.  Belt was on, no tags left on the pants, both legs matched in length, and the zipper was in proper placement.  I’d not sat in anything nasty or unknowingly ripped the seat.  What could be so funny?

Okay these pants are baggy

Brenda finally pointed out that it looked line my legs were in tubes. Whatever did that mean?

You can bet, no more wearing in public

The trail camera on the 3D range – well, now I know.  Yes, these are some dumb looking pants.  I am embarrassed to admit, I’ve worn them in public.

“On a warm summer’s eve……”

The ASA Super Senior Known class is where I wanted to compete in 3D during 2019.  That just ain’t going to happen.

For USA archery style competition I have a target bow.  Speed of arrows is not a major concern.  The distance is always known. Well pretty close depending on how meticulous the range is set.  In a sport where millimeters matter we all have elevation adjustments to compensate for slight variance in distance.

That target bow will be used throughout the 3D season during non-3D events.  The bow can be switched back and forth to manage skinny or wide arrows. But, practicing dots in the morning then 3D in the afternoon and making switches, tweaks, and turns multiple times a day is a waste of time.  Having two bows, one for 3D and one for dots is ideal.

The 3D bow used for competition in 2018 was set up for hunter class.  There is a short stabilizer and a pin sight on it.  In 2018 I competed in the Senior Hunter Class (archers mostly in their 50s. I never shot against anyone in 3D last year older than me.) Most of the archers in my age group seemed to be competing in the Super Senior class (60 – 69 years old.) I wanted to shoot with them in 2019.  After I considered the additional expense to convert my hunter class rig to match the equipment in the Super Senior class the idea was abandoned.

To compete against those archers would mean a new rest, stabilizers, weights, sight and a scope.  The good stuff could end up costing a heap of money. Once the price tag became visible the Senior Hunter Class summoned me home to a cost savings category.

Using what I’ve got on hand, a cost effective proposition, all I’d do is reset the old 3D bow for fatter non-hunting arrows and compete using the older bow in the Senior Hunter Class for 2019.  Sure, the arrows float off the rest when I release them.  The 3D bow isn’t exactly a fast 3D specific bow.  It is more of a one bow does most type of rig.  Part of the fun for others  shooting with me is being able to watch the arch of my arrow.  It is a rare sight from 20 yards to actually see the arrow’s arch.  At forty yards, people have photographed the flight of my arrow using their smart phones.

You think I’m joking – perhaps just a little.  However, I kid you not, this has been said to me during a 3D tournament, “I love watching you shoot, I can really see the arch of your arrows.” Yes, I am using a compound bow. But, after you’ve watched arrows zoom off at nearly 300 fps then you see a launch at 246 fps, the difference looks extreme. In my case, yardage judgement needs to be just right.  Otherwise, you’d see my arrows fly toward a target then appear to just drop out of the air.

It would be fun to compete in the Super Senior Division.  I could with a hunting rig but it would be a waste of entry fee money.  Super Seniors with target 3D rigs have a distinct advantage. While I’m pretty good at 3D, I’m no fool.  Shooting against the Super Seniors around here with a hunting rig would be like drag racing using my 2006 Ford F-150.  I’d get to the finish line but that would be about it.

Using that old 3D bow, today, I needed to set my elevation and windage for the arrows that I’ll use next weekend in my first 2019 Senior Hunter Class competition.  It was not a good day for precision work.

First of all it was really cold.  Cold doesn’t stop me.  Cold isn’t fun.  Plus, it is hard to be precise wearing every article of clothing you own all at once. For example, my right arm feels funny because I can’t fully draw being limited by short sleeve t-shirts, thermal t-shirt, long sleeved t-shirts, regular shirts, sweaters, vests, and a down filled jacket.  Along with the cold that has descended there’s a 40 mph wind which has joined the mix. Archery, precision, 26°F temperature and 40 mph wind is not a friendly combination. Still, I waddled out to the range moving like the Michelin Man.

The first pin to check was the 20 yards pin.  I started at 10 yards – just in case.  It wasn’t long before the song in my head went from “Eye of the Tiger” to “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers.

For the record, I lasted nearly an hour until I walked away:

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run

I’ll get the bow just right later in the week.  Until then, I’ll practice shooting dots on an indoor range.

It Is a Rule to Follow

You are familiar with the rule.  You may even try to follow that rule.  If there were only one rule that you should this would be that rule.

It is not a new rule. It was practiced in ancient Egypt (c 2040 – 1650 BCE).  Confucius encouraged people to follow it (551-479 BC) and it is in the Code of Hammurabi (1789 BCE).  It is in the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:34 ‘Great Commandment” and at Leviticus 19:18). In the New Testament both Matthew and Luke acknowledge this universal rule (Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31). In Islam, Muhammad did not neglect it (Qur’an Surah 2, 16, 23 and 83). In fact, all religions seem to have captured it in some fashion:

The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one’s self would wish to be treated.

It is simple, good and easy to practice. In sport you might think that’s a difficult rule to follow – that is until you look around during practice, training or competition.

It was 2008 and Chrissie Wellington was racing in another 140.6 mile Ironman.  This one was the World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. During the bike segment of the race she had a flat. In that event athletes can receive no outside help. Everyone carries a small repair kit in order to replace a flat tire.  Wellington was no different.

She changed her flat tube. When she went to inflate it with a CO2 cartridge she messed up.  All of her CO2 escaped into the atmosphere none of the CO2 making it into the tire. She was out of the race. She was helpless on the side of the road as her rivals passed her.

That is until word got out that Chrissie had a flat and no CO2.  In the Ironman other racers can help another athlete.  That is not considered outside help. A triathlete, a competitor, while riding her bike, grabbed the CO2 she carried.  As she passed Wellington, she handed off the CO2. This time Wellington successfully inflated her tire.  Back on her bike, she passed everyone to have a lead that she held throughout the remainder of the race, again winning the Ironman World Championship. Who knows, if the other rider had not given up her CO2 perhaps Wellington would have been out and the Good Samaritan racer might have been the victor. (The triathlete that provided the CO2 was capable of winning)

(There’s a video of this attached.  If you watch it you will see other riders passing Wellington.  It isn’t that they were withholding help.  At the speed people ride, there’s almost no time as you pass someone on the side of the road to know exactly what’s going on.  Word is passed backwards until some can react.)

We see similar gestures, as athletes, everyday. On the range in archery athletes help athletes. Someone misses a target in 3D and everything is on pause while a group searches for a missing arrow.  A bow malfunctions or a stabilizer slips and every archer within a 10-yard radius is transformed into archery’s version of Inspector Gadget.

Sport is a tremendous equalizer.  No matter how good an athlete becomes, no athlete started off good.  We were all pretty poor performers when we started. Everyone knows the effort, humiliation, and trials that lead to finding the courage to put one’s self on the line. Since we’ve all shared in the particular aspects of the sport we’ve chosen, we all understand what each of us is going through.  That mutual connection and the shared understanding helps make following the Great Commandant as innate to athletes as it is to religion.

 

 

Ranked Number 1

The Georgia Archery Association has published the ranking of archers for the State for 2018.  I finished in the top spot.

No, I was not the only athlete in my division. (I can sense sarcasm over the Internet)

There are a whole lot of Georgia archers in the 60 age group. Believe me, those guys that have been shooting for 40 or more years are not going to miss often. Great competition improves everyone’s game. I’m lucky to live in an area where there are so many top facilities, archers and coaches. Thanks, y’all!

Ranked #1

A Full Price Man

And the form read:

“By completing and signing this form, I acknowledge that I am a sponsored shooter of a local archery pro shop/store or that I am a sponsored shooter of an archery manufacturer.” Well, that won’t work for me.

There are a lot of archers that I compete with who have layers of manufacturers’ support.  Just the other day a buddy of mine posted on Facebook that he is a factory sponsored archer. The company he now represents gave him a shinny new bow.  He’s free to fill out all sorts of forms to gain additional discounts on equipment.

Once, I asked a bow shop if I could be one of their shooters.  There was a meeting, we talked, hands were shaken, backs slapped and compliments exchanged.  The shop owner agreed to make me one of his bow shop sponsored athletes.  A fancy bowling shirt with my name displayed was practically in the mail. In return I promoted the shop, sung the owner praises, and wrote about his glory.

Aside from that one meeting I never heard another word from that shop unless I happened to be there with money to spend.  The fancy shirt never materialized. I suppose one needs to be truly an elite archer to don the shirt of glory and marketing. Apparently, the top shop, its heroic owner and the associated bow company providing equipment  had second thoughts about yours truly.

Sure, I’ve played the gather a sponsor game and even collected a few.  They never amounted to anything real so I thanked them all and said goodbye.

I am now discount free, I’m a full price man. Thankfully, archery is a whole lot less expensive than triathlon or cycling.

Sponsorships are nice when they’re real.  It is great to feel like you’re part of something.  Of course, you’re willing to contribute, but before you sign any dotted line, make certain the benefit and detriment are mutual.  Otherwise, you really are just another customer.

Playing on the Pro Tour and Shooting Bare Bow

You never know whom you’ll be shooting near on a public range.  You might show up for practice and be standing next to Reo Wilde. If you are an archer you will more than likely recognize Reo Wilde.

If you’re an extrovert you might strike up a conversation with a stranger. Many times those conversations can enrich your life.  You might find a new friend and you could be amazed by the character standing next to you.

Months ago while working on an indoor range there was this guy a few feet away from me practicing with a bare bow.  Every so often you notice a different attitude toward the practice of another athlete.  In this case, there was something different.  Eventually we started talking and I learned he’d been shooting bare bow for 27 years, now 28 years.  I picked up that he is an accomplished bare bow competitive archer and hunter.  One thing is clear, he can shoot a bow.

Someone had mentioned to him that I’d once raced bicycles and the Tour de France was what he wanted to talk about.  He’s one of the few archers I’ve met that is a true fan of professional cycling.

He asked about my racing past, my bikes, the training, diets, and my experiences racing bikes.  In the short time between ends, I could only approach answering with the briefest of responses.  It was pretty incredible to find an archer that appreciated what a cyclist deals with to race.

But, that conversation didn’t answer my questions, perhaps because I was busy answering his, as to who is this guy. I’d later learn just how out of my league he is as a professional athlete.

As I was overhearing a conversation between this bare bow archer and another I heard him talking about an interview on ESPN with him and Jack Nicklaus.  Wait a minute, was I hearing that right.  Turns out I was hearing that right.

Do you play or watch golf? Many of you probably do.  I don’t play golf.  I do watch it from time to time.  When I lived in Augusta, Georgia I used to sneak onto the National Golf course and run the cart path.  Once (in 1989) I even got to watch a Masters Tournament in person. The weather was foul and my neighbor, being a bit under the weather, gave me his annual pass.

The bare bow archer is Tim Simpson.  Tim is a professional golfer who played the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour.  While I was sneaking onto the Master course to run in Augusta, Tim was playing there.  He played the Masters 6 times.  Additionally, he played the US Open 12 times, the Open Championship 4 times and the PGA Championship 11 times.   He’s, also a native Georgian.

Tim was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended high school at Woodward Academy where he was the Atlanta Junior Champion, Georgia Junior Champion and Westlake National Junior Champion. He attended the University of Georgiain Athenswhere he made All SEC, All American, and College All Star teams.  He left college early and turned professional at age 20. He earned his tour card at 21 years, 1 month (Among of the youngest in history).

His first win as a professional came at the 1982 Cacheral World Championship in Nimes, France. His first PGA Tour win came three seasons later at the 1985 Southern Open. His career year was 1989 when he captured the PGA Tour’s Comeback Player of the Year award, and won two Tour events: the USF&G Classic and the Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic. He had another good year in 1990 repeating as Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic Champion, and posting his best finishes in the U.S. OpenBritish Open and PGA Championship. Simpson was awarded the 1990 Georgia Professional Athlete of the Year award. He has 66 Top-10 finishes in PGA Tour events. (1) And achieved the status as a top-10 player on the PGA Tour in 1989 and 1990, finishing 6thand 8thon the money list for those years, respectively.

Tim’s career wasn’t an easy one, as if it ever is for any professional athlete.  After back-to-back years being in the Top 10 PGA Tour money winners Tim, contracted Lyme’s during a hunting trip. One of the numerous manifestations of the disease he was left with a tremor in his left hand.  In 2005 Tim had Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery to remedy the condition.

In 2006 Tim, universally considered one of the world’s greatest ball strikers in history, joined the Champions Tour having an unparalleled comeback lasting five more seasons before career ending injuries forced his retirement in 2011.

Today, Tim coaches a mental management program to golfers and archers. He also lectures on mental management for athletes.  In talking with Tim about his mental program he shared things he’d noticed about me of where I’d slipped.  Tim’s application of sport psychology is unique coming from an elite athlete who can translate mental coaching to fit another athlete’s needs.

He was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2004, and the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 2006.  Like I wrote, just never know whom you’ll be shooting next to on an archery range.

Reference:

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Simpson

If you are interested in becoming a client of Tim’s he receives inquiries at: Timbogolf@gmail.com

Ode to Winter Archery Practice

My nose runs snot

It’s not hot, you see

There’s winter in the air

 

But, practice I must

Or my scores will go bust

Oh I wish I’d worn long underwear

 

My cheeks are numb

My toes are froze

Still, Eastons they fly though the air

 

Is that an eight I shot?

I’m too cold to care

How I wish for long underwear

 

Is that rain on me

That would be cruel you see

Nope it’s sleet that falls down on me

 

I finished the day

In a very cold way

Next time there’ll be long underwear

It Is Cold

There were some nice warm days in December and January – until now.  It has turned cold.  The indoor range where I practice is closed while the folks that work there enjoy the ATA Meeting.  I’m practicing outside. It is awful.

First stuff these into my pockets

Unlike my nice warm shed I had in North Carolina, here in Georgia when I can’t get to practice indoors there’s winter in the raw.

Next, turn on the little heater

Sure, it isn’t like winter in say Pittsburgh, Cleveland or Baltimore. I’ve lived in all those places and winter was an entirely other animal compared to a Georgia winter.  Nevertheless, cold is cold.

Get ready and warm

Because the cold here in Georgia isn’t in the same league as a north Ohio winter, yesterday I tried to practice wearing as little clothing as possible to stay warm and not make the shots more difficult.  That was a total failure.  Three layers weren’t enough.

This didn’t last

What started off as a good day quickly rolled downhill into shoot, thaw by the little outdoor heater, then shoot again.

Distractions

Two scores – vastly different.  Each practice was against a Vegas style 3-spot scoring the inner ten.  There was a drop of 4.12% between the scores. One day resulted in 42 tens, the next 21 tens.  That’s huge drop. What happened?

Day one the good day – zero distractions to take away from archery.  Day two – music, a timer, and a break to play with dogs.  Although, the dogs aren’t much of a distraction, they’re good dogs and mostly remain quiet during shooting. The music and the timer, well that’s another matter.

During USA Archery tournaments there is music and a timer.  Without a doubt both can be distractions.  A good song comes over the air and it floats through your head.  You glance at the timer to see you first two shots took longer than usual or less time than usual.  It distracts.

Coaching tip

“Practice the way you compete,” says my coach Big John Chandler.  Adhering to that policy during many practices there will be music playing and a timer ticking. Both of these elements of competition are distractions until you learn that they’re not.

We know that there will be a distraction or two during competition.  If you don’t “Practice the way you compete” little things like a timer and music may impact competitive performance.