The 2017 USA Archery North Carolina State Indoor State Championship was held this year at Droptine Archery in Advance, NC. Now, I’ve not lived in North Carolina my entire life. I grew up in Savannah, Georgia, specifically on Tybee Island then Isle of Hope. So, I didn’t know where Advance was in the Tarheel State.
It turned out to be nearly in the middle of the state and NC is a big state. Actually, it ranks only 29th in square miles. But, it is the widest state, 560 miles, east of the Mississippi. Since I live about as far east as one can, excluding the Outer Banks, it was going to be a haul to reach Advance terminating in an overnight stay at some hotel.
If the weather had been a bit warmer I’d have taken the Winnebago. Freezing temperature and a winterized camper that I didn’t want to de-winterize landed me at a Hampton Inn in Bermuda Run.
I am extremely familiar with Hampton Inn and all the other hotel brands in the Hilton chain. While working I traveled a lot and Hilton brands were my hotels of choice. Before retiring I was a Diamond member of their frequent sleeper program. I’d also earned precious medal ranking among several of their competitors since Hiltons weren’t always available to me. Hampton Inn isn’t Hilton’s top shelf hotel but it is reliably clean, quiet and inexpensive. The one in Bermuda Run was no exception.
The indoor competition in Advance was only 0.6 miles from the hotel. That can’t be beaten for convenience. Before checking into my room I drove over to Droptine Archery to see the facility.
The owners, Robert and Pam were extremely courteous. When I inquired if I might shoot a few arrows to sight my bow to their range and get a feel for the lighting they invited me to go ahead – gratis.
The lighting was exceptionally good. On their range they have placed additional lights above and aimed toward the backstop. This means the light is brighter on the target. Many ranges only have overhead fluorescent lamps. The fluorescent set-up in that manner washes out my dot making it more difficult to aim. The Droptine system provided crisp down range illumination that defined the dot on my lens.
The tournament was scheduled for 3 range times on Saturday and one on Sunday. My shoot time was 10:00 am. On the line and between shots “kids” surrounded me, all apparently in their late teens and early 20’s. All of them were very well mannered.
One thing I’ve learned is that if an older archer is going to worry about getting out scored by youngster they’ll be assured of a needless and negative worry. It will happen.
My first 30 arrows were below my average in score. Not an embarrassment but not good. Here’s the thing – they played music the entire time we shot.
I’ve never shot with music in the background. There’s a good reason, I play an instrument, a trumpet. When music is playing I hear the music. I don’t hear the words if it is a song, I hear the instruments and sounds. My insular cortex goes directly to the notes. In college, where I took music (not as a major) I could name a musical composition after hearing only a bar to two of a score. I still can to some degree.
Before we began shooting a judge asked if anyone minded the music. No way was I going to be the only person that raised a hand in defiance. And yes, the music was a real problem for me, at least for the first 20 or 30 arrows.
The insular cortex, a part of our brain, is the central governor of subconscious. For example, playing a trumpet, reading notes, moving fingers, is too much to do consciously and simultaneous. Shooting a bow, aiming, holding form, and releasing an arrow are also best done subconsciously. The music and shooting were a bit much for me. I never approached the line without music floating in my head.
If you’ve ever been a musician, say played longer than 10 years (I started when I was 8) you might understand the dilemma. For me, when music is on, it becomes an active involvement and I have difficulty concentrating on anything else. Even when I drive, unless on a straight highway, I have typically have the music off.
It took some time before I figured out how to deal with the music. There was no way to block it. So, I gave up and enjoyed it hoping my insular cortex would deal with it. While I didn’t completely succeed, I did improve as the shooting continued. In the future I will occasionally practice with music in the background.
A number of archers from the east coast made the drive. Of the four of us that competed we left with two Gold Medals and one Silver Medal. Perhaps in 2018 we’ll have a larger group heading back to Droptine Archery in Advance.
PS: Driving home I had the radio on. Despite a fairly straight shot to the Atlantic Ocean, I missed a turn infuriating the woman that lives within the GPS.