Free Range Kids

Last Friday, out of a possible 220 points, during an indoor 3D tournament, I shot a 166. Despite, the abysmal score, the venue was excellent practice in mental control.

None of the shots were easy, and not too difficult. The lighting was a factor that made for good practice. The building was so dim that the monofilament on my scope failed to suck in enough ambient light to illuminate. Thankfully, the single vertical pin shadow against the target gave me a reference. Because binoculars aren’t allowed it was good practice  taking aim at the center of mass or best-perceived kill shot and simply shoot.

The manner that the targets were arranged was 4 in a row were lined up at 5 shooting stages. Each archer had 2 minutes to shoot 4 targets. Because everyone loves kids, cubs were included in the competition.

In my group we had 4 adults and 2 kids, which later became 4 kids. It remains unclear from where the other two came or exactly when they joined. The children are allowed to move about 10 yards closer to the targets to begin shooting.

Rounding them up was another a fun activity and one I highly recommend in lieu of jogging. Getting the kids to the line doesn’t imply, once there, they are ready to shoot. Often the inexperienced wrangler made the mistake of roping kid only. The freed and lined up youngster would stand there for a few minutes until they or the adult handler noticed the bow and arrows had been forgotten.

If the kid noticed, it would sprint away and return with a bow or some arrows. Returning with bow and arrows is a bit much for a 6 year old to comprehend. Or in some cases, the improperly equipped would sprint away become distracted and for a while be lost.

Another tournament activity that many adults include for cubs is feeding them during the competition. It seems that every sip of fluid a kid consumes leads to a bathroom break. Because the toilet is down range, all shooting stops while kids tended to their business.

I’m convinced the bathroom converted into an adventure cave following entry by any person under the age of 10. They didn’t want to come out. As a matter of record, a few had to be rescued having locked themselves inside in pursuit of permanent adventure.

If you’ve raised children you know they can be wild. They should be allowed to run wild and play hard. There is a time and place for most things, including letting the kids have at it. On top of the list for free ranging children, isn’t an archery range during a tournament. The bright side – if there are wild children running, screaming, and reeking havoc while you are shooting it is a good time to practice being in the present and blocking everything out that doesn’t matter. Just keep an eye out for a loose child sprinting into your line of fire.

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