The past few weeks have encompassed camping, travel, and archery. August and September include more of the same regarding archery. The results of all this work over the past four weeks have been under whelming: two second places and a third.
The two second places where hard pills to swallow. In one I’d shot well enough to surpass the prior State record in field archery only to be bested by a friend that set the new bar 3 points higher. The other second was nothing more than being schooled by a better archer. He topped me by 9 points for the Southeast NFAA victory in field archery.
What really did me in was the Georgia ASA State 3D Championship. There’s no class in my age group for those selecting a hunter rig during competition. This meant I’d be shooting against athletes up to 15 years younger. Taking third in this event felt like a new low.
Before the first warm-up arrow at the 3D contest flew off my bow I considered not competing. It wasn’t because I felt off shooting or was overly concerned competing against younger athletes. As soon as I arrived at River Bottom Outdoors’ range near Franklin, Georgia, host of the tournament, my truck malfunctioned.
It was a minor flaw that could have serious consequences. The driver’s side window partially lowered and froze in place. With rain in the forecast, being nearly four hours from home with a camper in tow archery was the minimal of my concerns.
Being at the range I gambled and shot. After the first 12 targets the sky looked like it was going to open up at any second. In the Ford there was a towel covering the back set, a protection from River, my lab, when she’s riding. I’d come up with a plan to run back to the truck, cover the window using River’s seat protector and run back to whatever stake the group was shooting from should it begin raining.
It never did rain and I was spared a sprint. I wasn’t spared too many 8s and not enough 12s. Well, I’d hit ten 12s on the second range, only problem was I hadn’t called the upper. The thing is on every one of those shots I knew I’d hit the upper. My mind and confidence were lost on a wayward window.
Regardless of the electronic malfeasance sitting in the parking area I did my best to subdue the problem while I shot. I truly can’t say how much if any the F-150s ailment contributed to all the 8s I shot. The final score was actually my running average points per arrow for 3D. I’d been practicing for a peak performance not an average. The second and first place winners of the Senior Hunter division bested my average per arrow without apparent pause.
As soon as the tournament concluded I hopped into the truck and headed to find a remedy for the window. So far, it hadn’t rained and I’d been lucky. (Well lucky regarding rain, no luck in archery) The search for an auto mechanic reached a dead end so I hooked up the camper and headed home. There I could park the truck in the garage to save the interior from the forecasted rain.
It did rain. In fact it poured the very next day. I had made the right decision to leave early. (I’d made the wrong decision not calling the upper that same day) Fortunately, by then the truck was at the dealership and out of the weather.
Forty percent of all competitive archers are over 50 years of age. That’s approximately 3.12 million competitive archers. If you’re going to win in this crowd you can’t make mistakes or have your mind elsewhere.