Changing Bows Before a Big Tournament

Last year I purchased a bow specifically for target shooting.  During practices I’ve had some decent scores with the bow.  In tournaments, it has been another story.

Yesterday, during practice, using the target bow, I wasn’t shooting badly.  However, I wasn’t shooting what I felt was going to reach my average score.  I stopped shooting, took the sight, scope, and stabilizers off the target bow and out it on my 3D bow.

I’ve not shot the 3D bow too often since last year and it took a few ends to get the feel of it with the longer stabilizers.  After practice I compared the scores.  The non-target bow ended up scoring 5 points higher.  While that might not be statistically significant, it could be extremely important in an archery tournament.  I’ve lost more tournaments by a point than I care to think about. Heck, I’ve lost three with the same points as the winner. Twice I had the same X-count as the winner as well. Of those, I ended up losing by a one by a single arrow closest to the center shoot off. Another time I lost to the inner X count, and once to a one-arrow X margin.  Those were hard loses.

Thus far, in tournaments, I’ve never set a personal best. In other sports competition is where all my personal bests were established.  Adrenaline may help in running or cycling, but it isn’t a friend to the archer.  In archery, anything than can help to reduce excitement and calm the performer can be a benefit.  Maybe going with a different bow that feels a little trustworthier will help over the next two days.

I suppose I know pretty soon.

Another Tough Tournament Done

Coming into the Georgia Bowhunter and Archery Association/NFAA Sectional I felt it would be a tight contest. I expected podium places would often come down to the X count and even the inner X.  I was right.

I heard the official talking as they were tallying the scores.  One commented that, “I think scores like this should be settled by a shoot-off rather than the inner X count.”

I’d gathered at two archers had scored the same points for a 1stplace finish and had the same number of Xs.  Choosing the winner was going to come down to the inner X count. Essentially, which archer’s Xs were, by a judgment call, closer to the center based on how a group counted the center or inner Xs. Little did I know.

For the second tournament in two weeks I’m busted down a level based on Xs.  Well, in this case, the inner Xs.  My score and the ultimate winner’s score were the same, our X count, the same and while the inner X score wasn’t posted, I must assume he had more inner Xs than me –it would have taken only one. (A measurement of less than a millimeter would do it). It is a hard way to lose.

No points separated the 1stand 2ndplace (or Xs) and only one point between that score and 3rd.  It was tight.

Georgia Bowhunter and Archery Association / NFAA Sectionals

Day 1: Things where going really well.  Then, they weren’t.

If you are unfamiliar with an NFAA Indoor competition in archery, archers standing 20 yards away, shoot at 5 targets per end. In other words, archers shoot 5 arrows, stop, wait, score, wait some more, shoot 5 more arrows, and repeat until 60 arrows have been shot.  For two lines of archers that takes about three and a half hours. Oh, then all of it is repeated the next day.

This is what a 5-spot looks like. Well trained arrows should stick into the target in this manner.

The maximum score is 300 hundred points per day in this type of tournament. 300 isn’t an uncommon score. Winning typically comes down to the X count.  And, the X count is often divided into inner X versus outer X. The arrow landing inside the middle of the X ring and not touching the outer edge of the X ring counts as an inner X and is scored by putting a circle around the X on the scorecard. Sometimes, the scores are the same, the X count is the same and the winner is decided from the count of those inner Xs (The archer coming closest to the exact center more often than the opponent.)

I was rolling along heading for a 300 when this arrow seemingly decided to shoot itself.  Now, that happens a good bit with me and today was no different.  All the other times those independently acting arrows ended up in a good place. But, this one time, well the arrow being somewhat new remains untrained and I lost a point.  Believe me, 299 is not the score I was aiming for.

Of course, I had about 15 more arrows to shoot when the “event” occurred.  And sure enough everything was fine after that occurrence.  Yep, in archery one mistake can screw up your entire day.

Archery: 10% mental and 90% trying not to quit.

 

First 3D of 2019

Saturday was cold enough for a 3D competition.  It was 43°F and a little windy.  I’d debated whether to shoot the 3D event or run a 5K.  3D won because I forgot to enter the race.

Trying to keep my hands warm

The 3D course was excellent. The targets were thoughtfully placed.  But, I’m yet to find a group to consistently shoot with during a 3D tournament here in Georgia.  So, I ended up shooting alone and doing the fun shoot because I had no scoring partners. I can do that on my property.

You can guess what’s out there..
It is an unwritten rule, no javelina less that 30 yards.

There was another fellow shooting alone and I thought about joining with him.  As I approached, I read his body language and decided against asking.  It is almost always awkward to ask, “Can I shoot with you?”  So, I shot for fun.

The trees lining this, the larger ones are easy to see, but there are also smaller ones that make this 35 yard target fun
Really fun shot

That fellow did speak to me once.  We were one adjacent targets.  I was looking for the animal.  Speaking from recent experience he said, “There!” while pointing an arrow at the target for which I’d been searching.  I replied with equal vocal conservation, “Thanks!”

Indeed, the course was fun. It was nice to shoot a course where the animals are not all sitting at the end of a straight open corridor as far away as possible.  It makes the shots more interesting.

It didn’t take long to score, pull and move on.

I shot in the hunter class. After the shot I recorded the distance. The average target was at 32 yards with the shortest at 21 yards and the longest in that class at 43 yards.

43 yards is getting back there for pins. For me it meant an 8 just off the 10 line

During the time on the range it began to sleet a little.  The wind picked up a little and it remained cold.  As the morning progressed more people arrived.  By the time I was at target 15 there was another group of 4 shooting behind me at target 4.  One of those archers was wearing short pants.  Beyond that fact, you can draw your own conclusions.

Yep, those are short pants

I did ask him, “Why are you wearing shorts in this weather?” He said, “I wear shorts unless the temperature gets down into the 20s.”  He added, “I don’t like the way long pants feel.”

I left the range a little disappointed.  I didn’t shoot the score I’d hoped ending up with a 191.  It could have been worse.  While in flight two arrows lost vanes and went forward a tad on the wobbly side. One flew left hitting an eight and the other when high and left landing a five.  In addition, I earned three more 8s, and only two 12s to compensate. Every other arrow, 12 of them, were 10s. If I’d not been shooting for fun this would have dropped me into second in the hunter class, the top score being 202.

Twice, really, twice?

Shooting 3D in 2019 is beginning to look as if it will only be done for fun.  With the Georgia ASA requiring two qualifying tournaments to shoot the State ASA 3D I’ll probably not fool with it.  It comes down to not enough reward for the money and time to meet the addition qualification requirements.  That, and I don’t think there’s a reason to qualify twice. (If this is incorrect, maybe someone will let me know)

Thanks to the folks at Social Circle Ace for putting out a great range!

There’s A Lot of Praying In Sports

You’ve trained, practiced, and sacrificed for your athletic endeavors.  Along the way you’ve competed and given your best.  You may have finished well or placed well back from the top finishers.  What matters is whether you gave it your best effort. (1)

For some, giving their best effort incorporates a silent prayer.  I don’t know what athletes are praying for during competition.  You see football players in the NFL praying a lot. (2)

I suppose if you’re an NFL punt returner you may pray you don’t drop the ball.  Considering the size and speed of the punt returner’s opponents a prayer begging not to die during the return also comes to mind.

There are athletes turning to prayer for a boost in performance in all sports. You also see it in all religions.  But, there can be only one winner, aside from the rare tie, in a competition. So, does it mean that God was more on the side of the champion? (3,4)

No, it doesn’t.  You can pray all you want, but you will only do the best that you’re capable of on that day.  It doesn’t mean your prayer wasn’t answered.  If you did your best, competed fairly, and maintained your faith that’s the only answer to the prayer you need. (1)

Reference:

1.) 2 Timothy 4:7, King James Version: I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.

2.)https://www.outsideonline.com/2196101/god-dimension.  The Athletes Turning to Prayer for a Performance Boost.

3.)Greenwood TCDelgado T. A journey toward wholeness, a journey to God: physical fitness as embodied spirituality. J Relig Health. 2013 Sep;52(3):941-54. doi: 10.1007/s10943-011-9546-9.

4.)Pollack J,Holbrook C,Fessler DMT,Sparks AM,Zerbe JG. May God Guide Our Guns : Visualizing Supernatural Aid Heightens Team Confidence in a Paintball Battle Simulation. Hum Nat. 2018 Jun 18. doi: 10.1007/s12110-018-9320-8. [Epub ahead of print]

Staying Warm, Shooting Cold

I’d say it was freezing outside practicing at 18-meters this morning, but it wasn’t that warm.  I didn’t get all that cold, I’d worn multiple layer of clothing, had the outdoor propane space heater running, a glove on my bow hand, and pocket full of hand warmers. One bonus, the wind wasn’t blowing.

Nevertheless, my practice scores were not anything worth sharing.  It was a weak day.  It wasn’t a physical weakness, I felt pretty good coming off two days of rest.

Typically, one day is enough for a break.  The past few weeks have been intense so two days off was the prescription for recovery. I’d recovered.

It wasn’t even mental weakness.  My brain felt good. No sir, shooting while wearing enough clothes to stay warm changes things.

Some Baggy Pants

It was time to break up practice.  That meant, morning dots and the afternoon 3D.  I’ve been shooting a lot of dots. The difference between dots and 3D is like bicycle road racing compared to mountain bike racing. Or running on the streets versus trail running.  Either way it is all fun.

This new replacement coyote is more like a cocker spaniel

The break was refreshing and will gradually work into a spring training program. The old 3D targets on my range are really beginning to need replacing.  There’s this old coyote that gets shot on his hind end because the original chest area is completely split.  His days of repair are long gone.

This cinnamon bear needs a new center.

There’s a trail camera on the range.  It is on a line with this javelina. This little tayassu tajacuis set so that it can be shot out to around 45 yards.  You know that varmint will show up at all your 3D competitions in 2019 setting at your maximum distance.  Count on it.

At 41 yards, this mountain lion is a fun shot

Anyway, this camera snapped a picture or two of me as I was working back to take aim on the javelina at 75 yards (no I think it was 37 yards.)

I’d ordered some work pants off of Amazon.  They seemed fine to me.  They felt durable enough.  Naturally, they were too long so I had them hemmed.  After bringing the home I wore them the next day.  Everything seemed fine to me. Then, Brenda, my wife looked at me wearing those new work pants.

I didn’t see anything amiss.  Belt was on, no tags left on the pants, both legs matched in length, and the zipper was in proper placement.  I’d not sat in anything nasty or unknowingly ripped the seat.  What could be so funny?

Okay these pants are baggy

Brenda finally pointed out that it looked line my legs were in tubes. Whatever did that mean?

You can bet, no more wearing in public

The trail camera on the 3D range – well, now I know.  Yes, these are some dumb looking pants.  I am embarrassed to admit, I’ve worn them in public.

It Is a Rule to Follow

You are familiar with the rule.  You may even try to follow that rule.  If there were only one rule that you should this would be that rule.

It is not a new rule. It was practiced in ancient Egypt (c 2040 – 1650 BCE).  Confucius encouraged people to follow it (551-479 BC) and it is in the Code of Hammurabi (1789 BCE).  It is in the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:34 ‘Great Commandment” and at Leviticus 19:18). In the New Testament both Matthew and Luke acknowledge this universal rule (Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31). In Islam, Muhammad did not neglect it (Qur’an Surah 2, 16, 23 and 83). In fact, all religions seem to have captured it in some fashion:

The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one’s self would wish to be treated.

It is simple, good and easy to practice. In sport you might think that’s a difficult rule to follow – that is until you look around during practice, training or competition.

It was 2008 and Chrissie Wellington was racing in another 140.6 mile Ironman.  This one was the World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. During the bike segment of the race she had a flat. In that event athletes can receive no outside help. Everyone carries a small repair kit in order to replace a flat tire.  Wellington was no different.

She changed her flat tube. When she went to inflate it with a CO2 cartridge she messed up.  All of her CO2 escaped into the atmosphere none of the CO2 making it into the tire. She was out of the race. She was helpless on the side of the road as her rivals passed her.

That is until word got out that Chrissie had a flat and no CO2.  In the Ironman other racers can help another athlete.  That is not considered outside help. A triathlete, a competitor, while riding her bike, grabbed the CO2 she carried.  As she passed Wellington, she handed off the CO2. This time Wellington successfully inflated her tire.  Back on her bike, she passed everyone to have a lead that she held throughout the remainder of the race, again winning the Ironman World Championship. Who knows, if the other rider had not given up her CO2 perhaps Wellington would have been out and the Good Samaritan racer might have been the victor. (The triathlete that provided the CO2 was capable of winning)

(There’s a video of this attached.  If you watch it you will see other riders passing Wellington.  It isn’t that they were withholding help.  At the speed people ride, there’s almost no time as you pass someone on the side of the road to know exactly what’s going on.  Word is passed backwards until some can react.)

We see similar gestures, as athletes, everyday. On the range in archery athletes help athletes. Someone misses a target in 3D and everything is on pause while a group searches for a missing arrow.  A bow malfunctions or a stabilizer slips and every archer within a 10-yard radius is transformed into archery’s version of Inspector Gadget.

Sport is a tremendous equalizer.  No matter how good an athlete becomes, no athlete started off good.  We were all pretty poor performers when we started. Everyone knows the effort, humiliation, and trials that lead to finding the courage to put one’s self on the line. Since we’ve all shared in the particular aspects of the sport we’ve chosen, we all understand what each of us is going through.  That mutual connection and the shared understanding helps make following the Great Commandant as innate to athletes as it is to religion.

 

 

Ranked Number 1

The Georgia Archery Association has published the ranking of archers for the State for 2018.  I finished in the top spot.

No, I was not the only athlete in my division. (I can sense sarcasm over the Internet)

There are a whole lot of Georgia archers in the 60 age group. Believe me, those guys that have been shooting for 40 or more years are not going to miss often. Great competition improves everyone’s game. I’m lucky to live in an area where there are so many top facilities, archers and coaches. Thanks, y’all!

Ranked #1

A Full Price Man

And the form read:

“By completing and signing this form, I acknowledge that I am a sponsored shooter of a local archery pro shop/store or that I am a sponsored shooter of an archery manufacturer.” Well, that won’t work for me.

There are a lot of archers that I compete with who have layers of manufacturers’ support.  Just the other day a buddy of mine posted on Facebook that he is a factory sponsored archer. The company he now represents gave him a shinny new bow.  He’s free to fill out all sorts of forms to gain additional discounts on equipment.

Once, I asked a bow shop if I could be one of their shooters.  There was a meeting, we talked, hands were shaken, backs slapped and compliments exchanged.  The shop owner agreed to make me one of his bow shop sponsored athletes.  A fancy bowling shirt with my name displayed was practically in the mail. In return I promoted the shop, sung the owner praises, and wrote about his glory.

Aside from that one meeting I never heard another word from that shop unless I happened to be there with money to spend.  The fancy shirt never materialized. I suppose one needs to be truly an elite archer to don the shirt of glory and marketing. Apparently, the top shop, its heroic owner and the associated bow company providing equipment  had second thoughts about yours truly.

Sure, I’ve played the gather a sponsor game and even collected a few.  They never amounted to anything real so I thanked them all and said goodbye.

I am now discount free, I’m a full price man. Thankfully, archery is a whole lot less expensive than triathlon or cycling.

Sponsorships are nice when they’re real.  It is great to feel like you’re part of something.  Of course, you’re willing to contribute, but before you sign any dotted line, make certain the benefit and detriment are mutual.  Otherwise, you really are just another customer.