Who Is Out There?

We live in the country.  From my yard I can hear cows bellowing, coyotes howling, and smell chicken poop fertilizer when applied to fields nearby.  Within 0.3 miles there’s a barn going up for horses with 11 acres for their pasture.  At 0.8 miles there’s a cow pasture in addition to pre-existing pasture about 0.2 miles away.  Throughout the day and night there are critters passing across our property.

The other day as I was walking ‘out back’ with my dogs we intersected with a roll of armadillo.  There was a chase.  The big dog, River, lost interest soon.  The little dog, Nixie, a dachshund was in the fight for good.  She’d separated one armadillo from the roll and was working to send the armored beast to its maker.  That was a struggle requiring human intervention.

With the clearing of more farmland nearby many local non-human residents have migrated to our property hoping to set up camp.  Wanting to see how active our land is becoming with these displaced animals I put out two trail cameras.

After only a few days this is who’d walked past to be photographed:

We don’t own a cat

Taking a Pause from Competition

The photographs posted of archery tournaments indicate social distancing is merely a suggestion at these events.  At 65 years old I’d like to avoid that asymptotic 28-year-old shedding Covid-19 while standing next to me.

Sure, I can play the odds and expect to win by not getting sick.  Honestly, I suspect I’ve already had the bug.  At this point I simply don’t know whether or not I carry the antibody.

Here’s the thing, if I do catch the Covid-19 I run a greater risk of sharing it with family and friends all over 70 and none in excellent health.  When I suspected Brenda and I had contracted the virus we stayed clear of everyone.  Our symptoms were so mild it is impossible to know for certain without being tested – at this point for the antibody.

So, for now, I am taking a break from competition.

In a Tight Spot

“Well, that was expensive,” my wife said to me as I walked in from archery practice.

She’d made the comment based on what I’d held up for her to see from a window while I was still outside. What she saw were broken arrows.

Robin Hood shots, where one arrow lands in the center of another arrow already in a target, are pricey.  I hope, when shooting multiple arrows into the same target not to shoot Robin Hoods.  It happens and arrows break.

I was already running low on the arrows I use for 3D.  I had eight when one busted on a good shot from 27 yards last week. The angle was the problem putting the arrow through the center and downward toward the metal post that holds up the target.  Naturally, the arrow intersected with the metal. Down to seven arrows.

Today was a nightmare.  At 38 yards the turkey seemed safe enough.  Two shots later and two more arrows gone.  When I heard it I couldn’t believe it.  Down to five arrows.

I moved on from the turkey to a mountain lion target and shot it at 41 yards then 38 yards.  Each time five arrows shot.  No problem with any arrows.

A deer was the next setup.  This is a fairly difficult downhill target so I wanted to start safely then increase the distance. Staring at 35 yards the first shot was a high ten.  The next shot, learning from the first error, was a 12.

This deer isn’t a tiny target.  Since I’d hit the 12 ring I figured to put one more arrow in that ring.  I made the shot pretty much exactly like the prior shot even though I was aiming for the arrow to land a bit to the left of the first.

The crack of two arrows become one tubular mess is a nasty noise.  It sounds like money being wasted.  Two Robin Hoods within minutes.  I was shooting with pins and a sight that does not have magnification. I thought, what are the odds?

Only one arrow ended up broken in the deer; unlike the two busted in the turkey.  But, it left me with only four arrows for 3D.  At the rate they’re getting broken I’ll be empty by the end of the week.

You might think to yourself “That’s what he gets for shooting more than one arrow at the same target.”  That is true – it is impossible to Robin Hood a single arrow, it always takes two arrows.

However, if you shoot often you, too have shot more than once at the same target with more than one arrow.  So, hold off on tossing stones.

My wife was right, this practice was expensive.  It also puts me in a jam when it comes to arrows for 3D practice and competition.

One solution is to switch to Super Senior in the ASA classes. I’d change bows and use the skinny arrows I shoot in field archery.  I’ve got 18 of them.

Of course, I could buy a dozen new arrows.  It isn’t so much the money, well it is the money.  I hate spending money of arrows. Another consideration isn’t qualifying, I can qualify in a week.  The worry is this Covid-19.

At the last 3D competition social distancing was more a philosophy rather than a practice.  At that event archers from those counties that enclose Atlanta came to play.  My instincts are telling me to skip 3D for 2020.  My compulsion to compete is telling me something else. This is a tight spot.

I Removed a Joke

A good many of my friends are really smart.  I stay in tough with a great deal of them on social media. Some of them so smart they are amazing.  They’ve got all sorts of advanced degrees.  Many are scientists, engineers, and physicians.  Several have multiple degrees like a PhD combined with an MD.  You could say these folks are smart. What I can’t tell you is that they all have a functional sense of humor.

One of my wizard friends posted a link on Facebook that once clicked took the reader to a site where some other genius had published a paper about pseudoscience and Covid-19.  I read it and had a laugh to myself.

In my head I’d come up with a sarcastic remark.  I decided to reply using the remark.  Then, I thought better of it realizing that someone might take it as serious science.  So, I wrote a weakened response such that I figured everyone who might see it would recognize it was a joke.  Here’s what I posted:

“Absolutely! The scientists know that the sure fire remedy for this virus is simple: 1) Grab your Huff’n’puff radiant wand, 2) wave it above your head 3) tap the heels of you feet together while canting 4) “The Hills are Alive” “The Hills are Alive” “With the Sound of Music” I’m pretty certain I read that in ‘Science’ this week.”

A few seconds after I posted it I deleted it.  I know, without doubt, some people would find it offensive, some might give it a try, many would be puzzled, and a few would have a laugh.  I estimated the laugh group would be the smallest subset of readers.

New State Qualifier and Getting Back Into a Groove

On Facebook at local group posted that in a few weeks they will be offering an ASA State 3D Championship Qualifier.  I’d nearly tossed in the towel on 3D for 2020 before I read the post.

After learning there would be no easy access qualifier for my area I canned 3D other than shooting on my range for fun.  Instead, I grabbed my target bow and began practice shooting dots at longer yardages.

The recent addition of the nearby qualifier had me pulling out my 3D hunting style rig for practice.

I’d shot well last weekend in a local 3D event and expected to pick up where I’d left off.  That didn’t exactly pan out.

In the morning I refreshed my memory with the 3D bow and shot paper focusing on yardage from 40 to 50 yards.  In the afternoon I went out to shoot faux animals at 40 yards then 35 yards.

The average yardage was 38.2.  If the 40-yard practices and the 35 yards practice shots had been equal the yardage would have been 37.5 for those of you wondering about the 38.2 yardage.  The actual yardage for the long shots was 40.3 and the short shots were 35.

Longer distances with pins are tough.  Using a scope 40 yards isn’t a bother.  Using a scope I’ve had to make 100-yard shots.  In 3D using a hunter division rig 40 yards is the maximum distance in that class.

That’s probably a good thing considering how I performed at 40 yards today.  My average arrow score was 6.2 at 40 yards. At five yards closer the average was 10 with one 12 and one 8.

Last week’s tournament had an average distance of 33.2 yards.  I ended up with four 8s and seven 12s.  The rest were 10s.  I do remember a couple of shots being long.  The last target, a wolf, was at 40 yards.  I also recall a turkey at 35 yards.  Overall, it was a fair course.

The problem is when I shoot 8s and 5s.  In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that is every archer’s problem.  Shooting 12s and 10s isn’t a problem. Today was a mess with 5s (all at 40 or 41 yards). The single 8 at 35 yards landed in a javelina.

Hitting a 3D target well on close shots isn’t hard.  Still, you have to make the shot.  Getting comfortable at longer yardages is mandatory to finish well.

Some Things You Just Can’t Control

3D is likely done for 2020 for me.  That’s a shame. I enjoy 3D and will continue to practice on my range.  However, the one qualifier within my means turned out not to be a qualifier.  It is now time to switch gears and go back to dots.

Covid-19 resulted in several of the State’s qualifiers being canceled. 3D seems a good way to compete and kept some distance between each other. Admittedly, I considered the situation as it related to sports and 3D came up a winner.

American is big.  When we see the huge numbers of US  Covid-19 cases compared to other countries it seems alarming.  No one wants to get sick or get the virus and pass it along to someone else that may end up in worse shape thanks to the sharing. We’ve got a lot of cases in the US. We’ve got more than any other country.  This is where you can pause and consider the size of the other countries.

For example, Sweden has roughly the same population as Georgia.  The Covid-19 cases are also roughly the same. The Florida has roughly the same population as the Netherlands.  The Florida and the Netherlands have 40,982 and 42,788 cases of Covid-19, respectively.  The Netherlands does have more deaths associated with Covid-19 than does Florida. You get the point, the US is large and some states have populations that are country sized. Still we all want to be careful.

This is especially true for me at 65, my wife at 66 and my father-in-law, who we visit weekly who is 91. We don’t want to get Covid-19 and we don’t want to pass it around. 3D seems like a great way to get outdoors and have potentially less exposure to the virus than grocery shopping.

The Covid-19 put a huge hole in my archery plans.  I made adjustments to focus exclusive on 3D for the viral period of social distancing. I’d focus on the Georgia State ASA Championship.  During this Covid time a number of State ASA 3D Championship qualifiers were canceled. This began to make me a bit nervous.  Luckily the one I intended to shoot remained available.

Attending that qualifying event after weeks of practice I shot one of my better scores in the hunter division.  On the 19thtarget I learned this qualifier was officially no longer a qualifier despite the listing at the ASA webpage claiming otherwise.

Years ago I was competing at the Dick Lane Velodrome in East Point, Georgia in a USA Cycling State Championship.  I’d won the pursuit and the kilo.  After the races just prior to the awards one of the USA Cycling officials announced the Championships would not be awarded.  She claimed one the required forms remained un-submitted and everyone would need to return in a few weeks to do it all over.

All winners and medalist screamed suggesting she submit the form and then apply the results.  We’d all been under the impression throughout the day’s events we were competing in a Championship – as we’d been told. The official refused to live up to the spirit of the games.

I couldn’t come back in few weeks.  Instead, I was going to be competing at the USA Cycling National Championships in Fresno, Texas.  I got 8th at the Nationals in the pursuit and would have preferred the Gold Medal in Georgia. (I scratched the kilo being called to Washington for a meeting with the FDA) These were races where one second can separate 1st place from 8th place. They are hard to win.

The ASA State Qualifier felt the same way – disappointing.  I won the division by 11 points.  It didn’t matter much like the Georgia cycling event.  It became basically a fun shoot.

They ended up combining all hunter groups since I was probably the only Senior Hunter competing (those archers over 50). I ended up grouped with 11 other archers all who are quite good.

I copied and pasted the results. I X’ed out the other athletes names since I didn’t ask them if I could post their result even though they are posted online elsewhere.

I am pleased with my score from the event.  Hoping to find something else to shoot as a qualifier I checked the ASA website to see if there was another qualifier within my ‘day’ drive radius and the answer was no.  You can bet in the future I’ll be shooting the first qualifier within my drive radius in 2021.

I could haul the camper to the next event and spend the weekend there.  It remains a consideration.  It comes down to the budget.  It would be an extra expense outside my financial plans in the range of $300.00. ($271.00 approximately)

It must be hard for Olympians having to wait another year to compete at the Summer Games in Tokyo. That isn’t as bad as President Carter’s boycott of the Summer Games in Moscow in 1980.

Over the decades I’ve competed in 100s of sporting events.  I was even fortunate enough to represent the USA as a Team member during a World Championship.  However, it doesn’t matter to me if the event is a World Championship, the Olympics, or a State Championship when something occurs that means it is no longer possible to compete. It is a let down.

While competing at the USA Masters National Indoor Track and Field Championship I faulted out of an event I was about to win.  That didn’t bother me as much as it would have had some situation prevented me for competing.  In fact, I’ve competed globally and only in Georgia has some unforeseen occurrence held me back from winning or qualifying. Faulting out during competition is my error and it was an error I knew might be a problem for me.

(A taller running I was trying to pass kept swinging his elbow toward my nose. He’d already hit me a number of time. He knew exactly what he was doing. It was 3000 meters and we had less than 100 meters before the finish. The officials disapproved of my passing remedy.)

What I can do is make new plans for 2020 and look forward to outdoor target archery beginning in July.

Streaking – As Associated with Running

Streaking, the first time I heard of it was associated with a form of running fad that occurred in the 1970s.  In this instance, it was a fad where runners would strip then run naked. Freely, I admit this was a form of running where I did not participate.

Several of my less modest friends did partake in the fad on one occasion. The group stripped, held their clothes in their arms and ran across Abercorn Street in Savannah, Georgia near the intersection with DeRenne Ave. It was  1972 and traffic in Savannah wasn’t comparable to the mess they have there today.

There is a median on Abercorn with two lines of traffic running in opposing directions.  The free form runners weren’t all that immodest and had selected a time for their streak near 11 PM when traffic, in those days, would be light. It seemed a fairly inoffensive plan.

The plan was to wait until there was no traffic, make the dash across Abercorn, and hop into a get-away car and escape. That would have been fine except for the mishap.

One of the runners, in his birthday suit, dropped his clothes as he crossed the median.  He had to stop turn back and retrieve them all while butt naked.  This is the point where traffic returned to the intersection.  There he was stranded until the traffic paused and he could return to running.

Streaking today, in running, means running daily for long stretches without a missed day.  Runner’s World’s covered highlights on page 30 in an article, Run Every Day – Streaking is more important than ever. (Issue 3, 2020)

Runner’s World also has a section in this issue on injuries.  Is that coincidence or consideration?

If you run every day without a recovery plan you’ll end up with an injury.  Obviously, you are probably an archer and you’re thinking you’ll not get a run injury.  You are probably correct – we know most of you are not runners. Simple observation during any archery tournament is all the verification one needs to confirm the bulk of archers are at best intermittent     walkers.  The walking primarily an activity associated with pulling arrows.

Surely, some of you do run.  Some of you probably get Runner’s World magazine.  Take my advice – schedule recovery days from your running.  If you’re an archer you should do the same with your archery training.

It is fun to set goals.  A goal of non-stop daily running (or shooting) could land you in rehab.  Rather than setting a run a day goal set other goals.  Once, I set a goal to do at least one race per month until something happened outside of my control to prevent a monthly race.  I went 84 months (7 years) before an accident happened that prevented me from racing.

I’d jumped off my boat to align the boat with the boatlift.  I’d done it many times before.  That time, however, I found a metal spike in the water – something new.  I found it in my leg.   That streak was done. It was a good long streak and I enjoyed it.  Aside from the metal spike in my leg I remained injury free throughout the plan. I did have weekly recovery days in my training plan.

Goals are nice to set.  But, there’s no reason to set goals that might lead to an overuse injury. Make time in your training plan for recovery.

The ASA State Qualifier that Wasn’t

The range at today’s Georgia ASA State 3D Championship qualifier was awesome.  On a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 is the most realistic set this one would have been a 5.  Another bonus is the shoot was only 30 minutes from where I live.  In fact, I’d had it on my calendar for months.

There was some doubt about going because of the Covid-10 problem. I went anyway and did my very best to social distance.

When I checked it I wore a mask and gloves.  I signed in with my own pen. I had triple checked that the event hadn’t been canceled before I took the time and chance to compete. It remained, un-canceled, on the list of qualifiers at the ASA website the night before the event.

A number of qualifiers had already been canceled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. I wrote the ASA asking if a waiver for people wanting to compete in the State Championship might be warranted for 2020.  I didn’t get a reply. So, it was this qualifier or more than likely I’d have to skip the 2020 ASA State Championship.

There are two other state qualifiers still available aside from today’s.  Each has problems connected with attending.  One means a long drive that goes through Atlanta to get to west Georgia the other a longer drive that means an overnight stay. No, the one remaining shoot for a qualification to compete at the State Championship was the one today.

In 2017 I won an IBO State 3D Championship. The IBO has an age group that more narrowly fits my age bracket. The following 2 years, competing in the Senior Hunter Division under ASA rules I’ve taken 2 third places finishes.  Under the ASA rules I compete with archers of a broader age category.  I compete against archers whose ages more closely match my adult children’s ages. I don’t really mind the only handicap I have is vision looking at dark targets in dark holes.  As we age our eyes don’t pick up light as well.

The Covid-19 problem encouraged me switch my focus to 3D because those events are outside and more easily controlled for social distancing. Practices going into today’s event have been good.  The actual competition went well, too.  I ended up at 10.3 points per arrow.  Not great and not bad.  An average of 10.3 generally lands an archer in the Senior Hunter division in the top 4 or 5 spots and maybe higher at the State level.  When I got home I took the distances, I’d written them down after each shot, and found that the average yardage was 33.2 yards.

Turns out it didn’t really matter.  The tournament, I learned as I was leaving the event, was no longer an ASA qualifier.  It was a tremendous let down.  Thankfully, it was a short drive.

Archery: 10% Mental, 90% Trying Not to Quit

Even though Georgia’s Covid-19 restrictions have been eased I’m a bit hesitant to jump into the middle of a crowd.  In my mid-60s I fit into a high-risk category. Still, solo archery practice and training moves forward.

Today, I was thankful for being socially distance. In this way, no one other than the archer could view the 3D practice.  It was ugly.

It wasn’t like I hadn’t prepared. On yesterday, using my bow hunter rig, I worked on precise shooting.  The practice used tape measured distances moving from 20 yards to 45 yards in slow progression over and over and over.

The idea was that on today I’d work longer yardage aiming at foam animals.  The average distance was 36 yards with the minimum at 35 yards and the maximum at 45 yards.  Turns out that the 45-yard target was my best of the day, my only 12.  Aside from that I averaged a miserable 8.75 points per arrow for a score of 175.  Like I said – ugly.

41 yards – yes, ugly

Heck, 45 yards is a chip shot with a scope and long stabilizers.  At 50 meters (55 yards) I hold a state record using target style equipment.  In 3D I prefer using a hunting rig and competing in the hunter class.  This does mean I compete against archers that aren’t much older than my children. But, I don’t mind if they don’t. I do find that the younger guys here in Georgia are more inclined to pull the arrows, giving the old fellow a break. And, without exception good manners and “Sir” prevails in conversation. I do appreciate that even if it does, at times, remind my of he age difference.

If I’m going to shoot using a target bow then, for me, that is field and target archery.  In 3D, it is like playing using a hunter rig and in my opinion meets the spirit of its origin.

I know long distances using pins is killing me.  Long distances in 3D with low poundage and a short draw means my arrows float toward fake critters.  My calculated FPS is 243, so I need to be precise when I place the pin.  This is why on yesterday I worked specifically at aiming.

I’ll repeat it all tomorrow and the next day.  Because, I expect that in the near future I’ll be able to get back into a tournament. In the meantime, all anyone can do is stay focused and keep practicing.

A Little Better

Today’s 3D practice was just a little better than yesterday’s. The prior practice yielded an average points per arrow of 9.75.  Today the average was up by 0.85 points per arrow or 10.6 points per arrow.

While the increase in points seems good the kicker is the yardage was slightly less down from 34.3 to 32.4. At first glace it seemed like today’s yardage might have ended up closer to yesterday’s.  When I did the stats on today’s yardage I discovered the increase in score, 212 versus 195, is likely a result of the 1.9 yards on average closer to the targets.

Today the number of targets taken in the gap between pins was greater today.  Yesterday the distances that corresponded to pins was 14 out of 20.  Today, the pin alignment was good for 8 targets all others being in the gaps.

No matter it is nice to be able to go outside and shoot.