Waiting for the Dust to Settle

I’ve not picked up a bow in weeks.  It has been a good time to accept an unplanned recovery.  It has also been time to repair targets and clean the range.

Keeping the lanes clear

I did a 3D tournament in June.  The Covid-19 social distancing wasn’t strictly followed.  I planned to continue competing but put that plan aside until the dust has settled a bit.

Over the Memorial Day weekend we didn’t head out into crowds of carefree people.  I predicted we’d see a spike post-Memorial Day and we did.  I expect the increases we continue to see are associated with Memorial Day and protests.

I’m 65 and in good health.  I expect if I get Covid-19 my symptoms would be mild.  In fact, I’d not be surprised to find I have the antibodies found among people that have been exposed to Covid-19 and not had more severe symptoms.  I don’t know because I’m not paying $300.00 to find out.

While I wait for less contagious times I continue to prepare.  There is a State Championship in August but that one might be a skip.  Still, I’ll restart practice in a few days in the event the August date appears safe – which I don’t expect.

The deer enjoy the range at night

I will mention this – running and cycling have been going really well.  And you can bet my range looks nice.

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.

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.

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.

Trying to Focus on 3D

The Governor has made it clear that Georgians can go outside and play so long as they social distance, wear a mask, and stay indoors if you are 65 years old or older or have an underlying health condition.  I fall into the 65 and older group that seems more susceptible to Covid-19.

Archery tournaments aren’t about to keep people 6 feet apart.  3D archery has a better chance that folks can remain 6 feet apart.

There’s a Georgia ASA State Championship qualifier minutes away from where I live in a week.  So, do I take a chance, go to the qualifier, qualify, catch Covid-19 and end up dead?  If I end up dead I won’t be able to compete in the Georgia ASA State Championship.  Dead people never get to compete in archery.

In the meantime, I have found a sliver lining – my current practice scores suck.  Today, at an average distance of 34.3 yards (range 25 yards to 40 yards) I scored 195 on the 20 targets. That’s 9.75 points per arrows.  With an average like that I might as well hang out in the back yard and practice.  Perhaps, when I can comfortably return to competitive archery I’ll have that average a tad higher.

All that work and….

A whole bunch of archery tournaments have been canceled or moved.  Some of the new dates might not work out.  We’ll see how it goes.

2020’s spring competitive archery season isn’t going the way it was planned.  Oh well, there is nothing that can be done aside from continuing to practice.

To change the practice pace I switched over to 3D leaving dots for another day.  Actually, tomorrow I may start shooting dots in the morning and 3D in the afternoon.  That’s how I done in the normal years.

The problem I am facing, as a result of a lot of 3D archery, is a quickly lowering quantity of arrows.  No, I am not missing targets and losing them.  Tips and nocks are becoming a problem. I lost three tips, left behind in foam, and busted a couple of nocks. Later today I’ll dig around to see if I’ve got a reserve stash of tips and nocks.  Once upon a time I did – Lord knows where they are now.

Archery isn’t the only area of concentration leaving me wanting more.  When this pandemic hit the news there were cries for more respiratory therapists.  I am a therapist, among “other things”, but I’d noticed the State I was retiring and didn’t renew my license.  Wanting to pitch in I began the process of reinstating my license.  No small task considering I had to compete 30 hours of continuing education prior to submitting my paperwork.

Yesterday, out of curiosity I checked to see where I might help as a therapist locally. I did find hospitals in my area needed help.  There were two jobs posted: one for night shift and the other in neonatology.  I’ve done night shift and I’ve done neonatology.  To be honest I expected to find more positions available.

This got me thinking about the Covid-19 problem and the need for therapists.  I checked a number hospitals around the state and found 39 openings: 31% of them were PRN (primarily in Atlanta), 14% are part-time only (no shift indicated), 17% are for day shift (Augusta, Atlanta, and Savannah), 24% are for night shift.  The remainder of the openings, the other 14% were for therapists to work in pulmonary function/sleep or weekends only.

Having a PRN pool makes since in that the hospitals have a number to call folks in should it become necessary.  None of the PRN positions were local.  I stopped looking before I checked Macon, Columbus, and Albany.  Considering all the work I’ve been doing to reinstate my license it now seems about as critical as the spring archery season.

I’ll keep up the archery practice.  When it comes to reinstating my license I’m considering going ahead and fork out the cash.  On the other hand, maybe I’ll just have all the paperwork and continuing education done and ready to submit if the need every arises. If it were simply a matter of wanting to earn some cash, the “other things” pay a whole lot better. But this license reinstatement was never about money.

Stuck at Home

Only a few holes and free

I have to wonder how many tournaments we’ll get to enjoy during 2020.  I see four, thus far, on my calendar that did not happen.  This break from competition gives time for me to figure the best combinations of bows with gear for when tournaments re-start.

Even though I replaced this target it still had a little life remaining. Yes there are holes everywhere including some in the blue. The ranges were from 10 yards to 15 yards. (No these holes come from a bit further out)
Working from 50 meters
Sitting at 65 yard with plenty of room to increase the distance. I expect some limbs will need to be trimmed as I get out to 75 + yards. At 70 yards no limbs to intersect with the arch of an arrow.

Currently, I am working at longer distances. I am also shooting lots of holes in paper.  Here’s a really lucky thing – last year I picked up several used targets after an outdoor event.  These targets were going to be thrown away! I wish I’d grabbed more but felt a little embarrassed digging from the pile of trash on the ground.  I was assured I could take as many used targets as I wanted.  I didn’t want to seem selfish so I grabbed a few.  I took a limited share leaving an abundance for other people – unlike the toilet paper grab that seems for the moment to be universal.

This happens every once and a while (50 meters)

I know this shelter at home is harder for people living in cities.  If you are an archer and live in Chicago or Atlanta I am sorry for you.  Hang in there!

I Wanted to Go Shopping

My scores in archery have too often reflected the fluctuations in the stock market.  President Trump can stop blaming Obama and aim his Tweets at me.

I had a brief spike and my practice was excellent.  The stock market spiked the same day.  My wife pointed out that it was just a “dead cat bouncing.”

A few days later I am about to buy a pile of cruise line stocks.  Seriously, I was thinking bargain prices.  Sure, a lot of folks remain investing their money into toilet paper.  I was also wanted to take a swipe at Proctor and Gamble.  You bet their stock is up. Cruise lines on the other hand are a deal.

The gamble is that the travel company has enough reserve to float this temporary sinking of prices.  I was on a web page looking at financial reports and had picked a prize.  Then, I got vetoed.

‘No, we need to save our money,” was the order.  I pleaded, “In six months our investment could nearly double.”

There have been times when Brenda, my wife, wanted to pour more money into stocks and I held.  Today, she held the purchases.  Life is a balance.  My prior veto worked out well.

What is happening at the moment, investors reeling in good buys, may be another dead cat bounce.  I suspect I’ll wish we taken this bounce for a ride.  In know because my archery practice was good today.

Just Because I Know Doesn’t Mean I’ll Get it Right

Weeks ago my arrows began landing all over the target.  During the State 18-meter indoor championship I shot my lowest score ‘ever’ when scoring the inner 10 ring.  In the USA Archery Indoor National Championship I earned my lowest score ever at that level of competition.

It all began at the State 25-meter championship.  Throughout the tournament my groups expanded.  From there it has been all downhill.  Sort of reminds me of the recent drop in a coronavirus stock market retreat.  Like the money that is sliding away from my retirement reserves – easy come easy go.

Unlike financial matters where all my eggs aren’t in one basket, in an archery tournament there aren’t any cushions.  With a missed shot in archery there’s no coming back – those points are gone forever.

In an archery tournament, for example a 3-spot with a maximum score of 600 for a day, everyone starts out with 600 points.  Each miss and points are lost.  If an investor has 600 bucks in the stock market and it drops 3% that 600 bucks becomes 582 bucks.  That investor might be able to wait a while and that 3% drop could become a 5% gain or up to 611 bucks.  No such luck in archery.

Or you could consider everyone begins an archery tournament with zero points (which is how it is done) and the better capitalists on the line end up with more points.  Those points are earned with a cool head and wise shot placement investments.   In any of the scenarios my maximal yields have been hurting.

On the second day of the USA Indoor Nationals my score plummeted into the abyss and a crappy performance reigned supreme.  Then, I felt a little something and thought “Oh?”  It wasn’t quite  clear what I felt hence the “Oh?’.  Not pain, good Lord at 65 I don’t want an old geezer orthopedic collapse.  The “Oh” was a general familiarization of malformed form.  I couldn’t see it or identify the problem.  But it was there.

I’d like to report that there was divine intervention and from the ‘Oh’ moment forward I landed all tens.  Alas, that is a report I can’t honestly deliver.

The other day at practice “Big John” one of the coaches at Ace declared as I dropped another shot that it was, “A lazy old man shot.”  Then Steve, another coach at ACE, a day or so later, pointed out the same error.  Being a slow learner it has taken weeks to discover what that ‘Oh’ meant.  Big John and Steve both recognized the error immediately. Now I know.  I knew before.  I did it anyway. Heck, if I’d been coaching me and not being me shooting I’d have seen it as well. What was happening in my head was not translating to my body.

I didn’t make the error as often while practicing today at Ace in Social Circle. Today the arrows landed mostly in the center of the target.  I made a effort to listen and do what both coaches had offered. The practice ended up producing my 4th highest X count on a 5-spot.  It felt good.  Now, I just need to remember to do what the coaches have coached.  Much easier said than done.