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.
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.
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!
The restrictions on travel haven’t been as imposing on activities out here in the sticks. Certainly, there’s no heading into Athens for dinner. That’s not a huge sacrifice since we don’t go out for a meal all that often. We had tickets to a several events that have been canceled or postponed and that’s a shame. But, I can still trail run, practice archery, and go cycling. The trail running is just out my back door as is my archery range. Cycling is done on back roads where traffic has been nearly absent.
Aside from the physical play I’ve been completing continuing education (CEU) courses to reinstate my respiratory care practitioner (RCP) license. While I have licenses in other medical areas those aren’t as pertinent as the RCP. There are lots of sleep disorders and people that suffer with them but another sleep specialist is low on the priority list of needed help. The need for medical forensics is even less useful for the moment.
Each day I start with the physical activities. When those are done I sit down for continuing education brought to me via the Internet. Country life is nice however there is a limit to the available Internet. Going through programs takes some patience. There will be at least one lost connection per session.
For the some of the lectures I’ve been bored, angered, or left considering whether or not the presenter really understood what they were presenting. Today, I was lucky to have found a real gem. I listened to a respiratory therapist give one of the most relevant lectures I’ve heard in a long time!
Anytime I hear a lecture that gets me thinking I am happy. This presenter got me thinking and seeing the applications of the subject matter. In fact, 9 years ago, two years before I retired a friend of mine and I presented a plan to do exactly what she was describing. We were looking for $3 million dollars to fund our project. We’d offered to build a system to do what the lecture danced around then sale it back to the larger organization after we got it established for $7 million dollars.
You might wonder way would any company pay out essentially $10 million dollars for this deal? Because the deal is worth billions and we are experts in the area. Plus, we had two patents unique to the process. It was looking good until a bigger fish purchased the company we’d approached.
After todays lecture it is apparent that our plan remains viable. In fact, we’d won a year to test out ideas and the outcomes were positive. We were in the next phase of funding when the big fish took the smaller company. By small I mean a $12 billion dollar company acquired by an even bigger company.
Pockets of our initial plan have grown. One major hospital, where my friend was an administrator, incorporates much of our process today and is extremely successful for their patients.
Sport is fun and a way of life. Admittedly, sport is second when it comes to the science of health care. I can’t wait to have this CEU and reinstatement documentation process complete.
Like most Americans (Spaniards, Italians, Germans, French, etc.) we’ve been confined to home, the result of Earth’s Covid-19 pandemic. It isn’t such an ordeal for me as perhaps others. I can still get outside and play.
Each morning I can run, then practice archery, and then ride a bike, then more archery. It isn’t too bad even if I can’t get over to Social Circle and practice archery with the folks over there. There has been one small other inconvenience – rain.
It has been raining and raining. I’m glad to have the rain. We’ve got blueberries trees (more like large bushes), peach trees, pomegranate trees, grape vines, plum trees, a lemon tree, a lime tree, (those last two spend the winter indoors under a growing light) and a fig tree that all appreciate the rain. But, when you can’t get to the indoor range or gym while it is raining in the middle of a Covid-19 lock down it can be oppressive. It must be really rough it you live in a city.
Running in the rain isn’t too bad. Currently, I am rotating three pairs of running shoes trying to keep my feet relatively dry. If it isn’t too bad, the rain that is, I’ll practice archery. There was a time I’d ride a bike in the rain. I’m over that.
Yesterday I got to shoot a little between down pours. Today, the sun is out and I’ve been outside since breakfast. Between running and archery I got a solid three hours outdoors before taking a break.
Brenda, my wife, isn’t as lucky. She can go outside and has been doing fun outdoor chores until the rain chased her inside. Her primary social and physical activity revolves around yoga. The yoga studio where she teaches is understandably closed during the Covid-19 problem.
Aside from whatever outdoor fun I can muster I have been doing what I can to support respiratory care practitioners. I am a respiratory therapist, among other things, and had a license in Georgia as a respiratory care practitioners (RCP). In fact my RCP number is Georgia is 229. I was one of the earlier therapists licensed here.
So, far I’ve fielded some emails about old gear applications and been asked an epidemiologic question. I’m good at statistics and did spend a quarter working in the virology department at the CDC as a student under Dr. Glenn Caldwell, the former head of that section. However, my work was on virus, specifically herpes simplex 1 and 2, looked at the link to cancer causation. Still, someone forwarded me a series of questions of the spread of Covid-19 and I enjoyed playing with the numbers.
But, my primary non-athletic focus has been of getting my respiratory care license in Georgia reinstated. I felt I could be most helpful at the bedside.
If I had a current license from another State I could get a 90 license for Georgia. I’ve had licenses in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Ohio. Those to are inactive. What might you expect? I never expected I’d be needed to work again as a therapist.
To get reinstated in Georgia, among a pile of documentation, I’ve got to have 30 hours of continuing education units. So, I pause each day, to find a class I can take to earn the hours. It is mind numbing.
I thought I’d simply hunker down and knock out the hours. That’s was until I began knocking out the hours. Some folks might enjoy online learning and it is okay to me in small doses.
Yesterday, I listened to a lecture that held within it mistakes and significant elements that were over looked. Of course, I couldn’t respond to the speaker, the lecture wasn’t live and I’m sure he is busy taking care of patients at his hospital. Turns out I know the hospital where he works very well even if I don’t know the physician that presented the lecture. All I could do was take the exam at the end and download another CEU for my submission in pursuit of my reinstatement.
By the time I complete all the work to re-active my Georgia license I expect the crush of Covid-19 patients will have subsided, at least the current wave.
In the meantime, I plod along with the submission process. Once it is completed and my license reactivated you can bet I’ll keep it current. I’ll look for part time work as a therapist to keep my clinical skills share.
Oh, that lecture from yesterday, you might wonder whether I truly know what I’m talking about regarding the errors during the lecture and the missed important notes he overlooked in his presentation. Turns out I help designed the methods and apparatus he was referring to, have patents on it, and published numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals on the subject.
Thankfully, the sun is shining and I can get outside to do things to reduce my frustration.
When I retired I’d planned to put all my athletic efforts into the endurance sports I’d enjoyed my entire life. Those competitions are hard on the body and pocket book. By chance I was given a bow that new priced at $78.00. After a week of playing with that toy bow I wanted a better bow and I wanted to get better as an archer.
One of the focal points for me is in sport is data. Naturally I began collecting data on my practice and performance shooting a bow. I still collect and review my data.
The data I collect helps me monitor progress, find areas that need work, and suggests how to set goals. It has further allowed me to create scholastic works based on talent transfer.
All top athletes monitor their work. The data for professional athletes and the systems used to gather input have become extremely sophisticated. From chips in football shoulder pads to invisible grids on a basketball court we know more about today’s athletes than ever before.
Archery hasn’t yet been overwhelmed with gizmos promising immediate improvement. Still, you can find plenty of ‘tech’ on which you can spend your cash hoping to gain an edge shooting arrows.
Archery has been around for a much longer time than any hot new gizmos promising improved shooting performance. People have been shooting bows since around 20,000 BC. Early bows weren’t used for sport, they were tools for hunting and warfare. (1) Successful archery was an easy measurement – you ate and you lived.
Archery as a sport had its first recreational competition of modern time in 1583 England. (1) It is also known that Mongols held archery competitions during gatherings before the English: 1194 – 1195. (2) Amazing, data from the Mongolian tournament exists today. The Mongolian archers were warriors, whereas in Britain in the 1500s over 3000 archers competed for pleasure.
Keeping your archery data is important should you want to be a competitive archer. My friend Robbie Surface, also an archery coach, has designed two journals for archers to record their data. One journal is designed for 3D the other for target archery. He gave me one, a target style, to try.
First, the journal is narrow enough to slip into my quiver. If it didn’t fit I’d probably have it lost before too long. The journal contains 100 pages for data entry. There are entry fields to record practice or tournament specifics.
Aside from points per arrow fields there is an area for Mental Game and Shot Execution. For me, I use a simple numeric recording for both entries. While my short hand means something to me it will be meaningless to others. You can create any notation or system that works for you in these two fields. (3)
I’ve been using my journal, thanks to Robbie, since he gave me one to try. It is a useful tool and easy to understand – surpassing expensive gizmos that remain on a shelf after the novelty dies.
You can view his journals, target and 3D, online where they are available for purchase at:
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.
In archery there is a lot of standing around waiting to shoot. During those periods folks talk about this that and the other. Some people complain about their current performance, a few brag about past glories, and others compare gear. At one tournament where I was shooting next to a former world champion his impassioned topic was fishing. He knew I lived on the Little River near the Albemarle Sound and wanted to hear about what I was catching. Occasionally the topics of religion and politics flair as do passions brought on by either subject.
Most of the time I try to keep my mouth shut if religion or politics are the subject of debate. Success is rare. Too often I’ll chime in with some outlandish statement, disregarding my true personal view, just to see what happens.
The topics of religion and politics aren’t limited to archery ranges. Recently, nowhere near archery, I was in earshot of a verbal examination about religion and politics. The venue was a gym. A group of five iron pumping middle-aged men were in a red-faced conversation when I drifted close enough to hear.
Listening, I gathered the five some lacked real scholarship. Their dialogue held an abundance of single syllable words peppered with profanity. Volume rather than logic was employed to settle a point. Those combinations were a warning for me to stay quiet. Temptation was great to toss in an opinion, which hopefully would offend or puzzle the entire group.
Their deliberation had rolled to Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg, two Democratic presidential wannabees (Now down by one). All five seemed in agreement that neither candidate would be their choice. Hearing their pronouncements regarding forthcoming bread lines I saw an entry point to enflame their passions.
Before I could insert my one liner into the banter this is what I heard, “ If God had wanted America to have a Jewish President, Jesus would have been Jewish!”
I made no additions to the colloquy. I know when I’m beaten.
Television will display the grandeur of a professional athlete. Those individuals are famous and rich. “In 2016, the average annual income for a US household was $57,617 while the average income of a professional athlete in the major leagues was between $2.1-$6.5 million.” (1) Outside the major sports the annual for professional athletes is lower. “As of Feb 22, 2020, the average annual pay for a Professional Athlete in the United States is $46,473 a year.” (2) If you’re an athlete wanting to earn a living wage in archery the odds are low for your success even if you are competing at a high level. The income range for professional archers is: $10,000 – $75,000, for Olympic archers: $36,000 – $97,000. (3)
There is a sales representative I know. He’s good at his job. Before he took the sales position his job was as an offensive lineman for the New England Patriots. The sales position was a nice transition from football. I know another guy that pitched for a winning team in the MLB World Series. He too is a salesman, today. In both cases, their former celebrity has been as asset in their current roles. Plus, both are good with people and smart. There’s a former Olympian who won 5 Gold Medals who today is a physician. The point is that money in sports can be good so long as it is good. No one lasts forever in athletics.
Last week, at the USA Indoor National Championship I shot on the same bale as college students for both days. A number of those athletes have college scholarships as archers. Talking with two I learned one is becoming a mechanical engineer the other a nurse practitioner. The average income for a mechanical engineer is $86,000 per years. (4) The average income for a nurse practitioner is $107,460. (5) For someone that goes the medical route and becomes a Chief Medical Officer the annual mean income is $402, 483. (6) Of course, that prize is similar to making the big leagues in sports. In all three cases the annual income is greater than the recently published average earning for professional athletes – $46,473 per year. (2)
The student archers at the indoor championships are smart. Staying on their paths will lead them to a comfortable rewarding life so long as they don’t over extend that potential credit. (Pay as you go – you’ll get there.)
Steve Young, the ex-49er quarterback took his team to a 13-3 record, won the NFL MVP and graduated from law school in 1994. (7) He’s never practiced law, but he used that education to propel him in other areas after football. Just because he was a super athlete he didn’t disregard a backup plan. He was attending law school while playing professional football.
The point is that while those athletes on television seem to be living a magical life the wealth that comes with it can vanish in an instant. The odds of landing one of those mega-rich positions are extremely low. Never disregard the earning potential of education.
And, don’t think a college degree is the only financially rewarding path. An air conditioning technical, with 3 classes from a technical school on average earns $43,640 annually. (8) The upper 10% of these technicians earns over $68,000. (8) That is an excellent return on investment (the investment being the cost for the classes.) Certainly a wiser investment than attending college and earning a degree in Greek Mythology or thinking you’ll become an athlete earning millions shooting arrows into paper.
Enjoy your sport. When you are doing it compartmentalize your brain and bring all your focus on that sport. When you’re done, say you put down your bow, focus on the next skill. That next focus might be on classes or being the best at your day job. You could end up using both – being excellent as an athlete and having educational training that will provide a decent living. Like Kanas City Chief’s offensive guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif who is a physician. (9).
Even Reo Wilde held a day job outside of archery before using his archery success to allow him full time employment in archery. (10)
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.
In Suwanee, Georgia the range for the 2020 USA Archery National Championship was packed. Every line was filled. There were so many archers an additional Friday line was added to help accommodate the athletes.
I’d signed up early to help ascertain I ended up with 1:00 PM times over Saturday and Sunday. Suwanee isn’t too far from Good Hope. Suwanee is on the cusps of Atlanta which means travel to the event can be tricky. One mishap by a driver hoping to get into ATL can screw up precision travel times. I got the 1:00 PM times. Picking 1:00 PM gives me a travel buffer.
The traffic was innocent over both days. Oh, there was a lot of it despite being the weekend but everyone was on good behavior.
During the Saturday shoot I was on the same bale as three women from a college team. Their manners were excellent. These women, however, were not about to slip off a very competition edge and there was minimal talking. Being stuck on an archery range in silence for four hours is punishment as far as I’m concerned. Fortunately, friends were in abundance on adjacent bales so company wasn’t lacking.
The Sunday bale was a whole lot chattier. One of the archers was a woman from the same college. In this case we knew one another and she’s fast to smile and laugh. Prior to the start we discussed when either of us hits three 10s on the same end the archer achieving the 30 points would do a celebratory dance similar to those performed by NFL players following a touch down. She struck first. Before she danced, and yes she danced, she wanted me to loudly call her score.
I complied yelling out her 10 – 10 – 10 score. She did a jig. We thought it was fun as did most of the folks nearby. A few seemed dissatisfied with the performance. When she hit 10 – 10 – 10 again I yelled again and she danced again. This happened a lot. (She only dropped about 9 point) Day two went by faster than day one.
The Sunday bale also had representation from Georgia Tech making me the only non-colligate archer on my bales over the weekend. When Tech showed up I was holding the clip to manually total the scores. I looked at the Tech logo and handed over the clip board saying, “You’re an engineering student, you can do the math.” He seemed puzzled asking, “I am an engineering student how did you know?” I pointed out it was a guess based on his Georgia Tech kit. He got 100% on his addition all done without touching his cell phone calculator for help.
Looking around over the two days noticed the athletes seemed more youthful than the past few years. I over heard one ex-collegiate archer lecturing to a group from Emmanuel College, “This is great now. But when you get out of school and have to get a job things will change.” He was referring to the time he’d had to practice in college prior to getting a job. The current students will, of course, cross that bridge when they get there.
The number one element of enjoyment during the Suwanee version of the Nationals, of course, was mingling with so many of the folks I don’t get to see outside of tournaments. Our conversations became infected with smiles and laughter. Shooting in competition is fun, practice is more fun, and hanging out with good people is the most fun.
It has been raining a lot here in north Georgia. When it rains I’ll typically drive to Social Circle and practice on the indoor range at Ace Hardware. If there’s no rain and the temperature is above freezing I’ll stay home and shoot on my range.
Two days ago there was a nice break, several hours, from the rain. This saved me a drive into Social Circle. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy practicing at the Ace in Social Circle. I enjoy visiting the folks that work at the archery pro shop at Ace. I also enjoy simply walking out back to practice.
Practice at home often includes spectators. Two days ago they were the girls from next door. It is fun when they come over to watch.
The practice is prep for the USA Archery National Indoor Championships. Today I read the local (regional) awards are not being presented after the events. Rather, everyone must wait for the finish of all sections, the results submitted to USA Archery , results verified, and USA Archery will mail awards.
Personally, I like getting a cheap medal for finishing in the top 3. That trinket is the period on a sentence. Waiting months to find final results is less enjoyable. If I’d known they were going to switch this up (learned about it the day before the event) I’d have skipped the indoor nationals and would have headed to Alabama to shoot the ASA tournament being held there.
Here’s the update regarding awards:
National awards will be mailed from the USA Archery national office after final results from all locations are verified and combined. No location medals will be awarded.”
The thought of spending two days competing after a whole lot of preparation knowing the results will be months away isn’t inspirational.
To add insult to injury the update includes information regarding parking. For the first time athletes, in my experience, who have paid to compete must pay a fee to park or take a hike.
From today’s event information (one day before the event):
SSA has paid and unpaid options for parking. There is a $5 fee to park on site in the paved lot. There is additional free parking in the gravel lot across the street at the church. SSA also has additional free parking across McGinnis Ferry Rd. There is a trail from that lot to SSA. Do not try to cross McGinnis Ferry Rd directly. The City of Suwanee Police will ticket for jay walking! Please use the trail to cross safely!”
Honestly, I cannot recall every event where I’ve competed. I can recall the last 140 or so events. Those events covered triathlons, runs, cycling and archery. They ranged from local to international. This USA Archery event is the only one where an athlete, having paid to compete, now must pay $5.00 to park near the venue. ($10.00 over the two days on top of the $80.00 entry fee)
For comparison, I parked downtown Athens a few nights ago. I was parked in a parking garage. I was there for several hours. I’d expected to pay. It cost me $2.00. To park and shoot at the upcoming archery tournament the cost, excluding food, gas, lodging (for some) is now $90.00. Parking is 11.1% of that fee! Of course off site parking is free. Families with kids shooting that might find the extra money harsh will end up the most disadvantaged.
Sure there may be other instances where athletes might need to pay to park once they arrive at the competition. I’m saying have not experienced the requirement to pay a parking fee at over 140 events beginning in 2006 where I was a competitor.
You might not consider this a big deal. I do, it is wrong. The athletes are what fuel the sport. The fees we already pay are enough. Last year, there was no parking fee at the same venue. This year someone decided to stick it to athletes to gain a few extra dollars. Oh, there is free parking available – nearby. For free parking athletes and their families are going to need to walk a way with all their gear. I’m not opposed to a hike. Heck, I ran for nearly an hour this morning. It is the principle.
If there is a specific need for revenue ask for help. Athletes will frequently do things outside of training or competing to support their sport. But, grabbing a bit of last minute cash by adding a new parking fee is low.
I’m reminded of an archer that didn’t compete. I watched him a lot and never once did he miss the X on a vertical 3-spot. I asked if he competed. He said, “Only local events.” He added, “I’m not going to travel and pay to compete at a bigger ones – they’re a rip off.”
Sometimes, it is just more fun to practice in front of the girls.