They’re Practice Elites and Will Tell You So

Frequently, I overhear archers complaining during an event that, “This isn’t how I usually shoot.” We all have off days. But, when I notice the same individual restating his complaint on different occasions it becomes suspicious. Rather, it seems that the complainer is shooting to the level of his practice and ability.

Certainly, there is that rare bird that has debilitating stage fright, which causes the performer to draw a complete blank, or score a zero, when the pressure is on. I’ve only ever read about these poor souls and as yet to cross the path of one on a range.

Archery tournaments are a voluntary activity that I’d expect the spotlight-inhibited individual to avoid. No, for the most part the archers I’ve met have just the right ego to stand before a crowd and offer themselves on an altar built for shame or glory.

Then, there’s that guy. That’s the fellow that somehow manages to strike X after X during times vacant of independent observation. Yet, when on the line to execute in public manages a self-proclaimed sub-par performance. Oh, he’ll describe to you just how magnificent he is an athlete and on any other day he’d be putting you to shame.

There’s, also, his cousin, the “ex-pro” forced to abandon his membership within the top tier of athletes for personal, work, family, health, financial, travel, or other complicating factors thrust upon him just as he summited his sportsman’s peak. He, too, manages those days of solo personal glory in the present as well as maintaining those numerous from the past from which no one can dispute, having no witnesses to declare otherwise. Of all those days, know for certain, you will hear of them.

I am happy to hear from both of these archery types, and I am frequently provided with all the oration I can absorb. I am a good listener and have never interjected with, “Bullshit,” regardless of how loud it shouted in my head. No matter how fervently their expertise and qualification are reported, their score indiscriminately and pitilessly speaks for itself.

There’s no hiding from the score. Scores are posted at events on boards, on overhead monitors, and online for the world to authenticate. There is really no relevance to anyone padding his or her abilities using speech. Although, bragging is an expected requirement of archery, or so it seems, and is often appreciated for its entertainment or conversational value. The boasting as a conversational conduit becomes less amusing when the exchange becomes an impassioned monologue searching for admiration.

Despite vast well-rehearsed familiarity of archers to boast, as group archers remain woefully outclassed by even the most novice of fishermen when it comes to braggadocio. As an archer, should you have any doubt, spend an hour at a bait shop. When you leave, ears ringing with rod and reel accomplishments of casters gathered within, you will no longer carry doubt. You, as a bonus, may learn new approaches to spinning your tales of personal glory.