A new night and a new league competition or so I’d hoped. The cool thing, this shoot was only 30 minutes from my home. It was going to be great, a short drive there, shoot, and head home. On that initial night, I’d arrived early to get a feel for the range. There I was sitting in my car thinking, “This is weird . . . no one has shown up to open the facility for the 7 PM shoot.” Something did not feel quite right. Time 6:15 PM.
The sign out front verified I was at the correct location. The GPS in my car confirmed the address. Yes, according to the Internet information, the date and time were right. Everything appeared to be in order other than the locked building and absent archers. Time 6:30 PM.
Growing more anxious, I made some calls. Contact was achieved with the second attempt. A lady answered the phone and I asked, “May I speak to Clyde?” Clyde is the Vice President of the Mid-Del Archers, the organization holding the competition. Once Clyde was on the phone I explained my predicament. “Oh, well, no one is there because that shoot is at Delaware Outdoors in Smyrna”. He was referring to Smyrna, Delaware another 25 miles away, time now 6:40 PM.
Clyde did not have the exact address for Delaware Outdoors. He explained, “It is easy to get there, where are you now?” I replied, “I am at the Mid-Del Archers Club House in Harrington.” “Well, “ he began providing directions, “go right, then when you get to XXX road, which is about a mile or so, go straight until you reach the intersection of ZZZ and RRR, from there go about 3 or 4 miles, then turn left at TTT which is not too far from the firehouse. You can’t see the fire house….you’ll pass….then see….” Having not the slightest idea where Clyde was sending me, I thanked him, hung up, used my iPhone Googled and found Delaware Outdoors, got their phone number, called them, got their address and entered it into my GPS. It had started to rain. Time 6:45 PM.
Come hell or high water (it was now raining hard) I was going to find Delaware Outdoors to at least see where the folks were shooting and take a look at the range. Through heavy rain, congested traffic, and an advancing fog I made the bumper to bumper road trip to Delaware Outdoors. Time 7:20 PM.
There, the parking lot was filled with pick-ups, Jeeps, and customized rigs designed to meet road and off-road travel demands. I parked a very out of place Mercedes SLK between a jacked up Dodge Ram and a Ford Excursion, opened the door, stepped into the rain and walked to the entrance of Delaware Outdoors. Time 7:24 PM.
At the front desk sat Steve. At first he was a bit reserved but warmed after some conversation – mostly me complementing the wonderful store. I explained how I’d come about to be in his shop and asked where were the shooters. Time 7:30 PM.
Steve directed me to the back of the shop so that I could see the range and watch the competition now underway for the past 30 minutes. Reaching the range, the door was closed, its window for viewing covered with a sign warning readers to stay out and not open the door. A few heads were visible at the gaps between the sign and window but nothing more could be seen. The visible heads held faces masked serious by intent. I obeyed the posted warning.
Retracing my steps, reaching Steve, we exchanged a few more pleasantries before I headed back into the parking lot and my car – it was still raining, the fog intensified. The ride home was going to be nasty.
I returned home three hours after departing. My bow remained in the trunk, not a single arrow had been fired. The trip had been a total bust. Sadly, this league was, after all, not drive worthy. I would not be making this weekly trip. Even though, this night, I’d not met anyone from Mid-Del Archers, I did end up having a nice call with Clyde (we’d eventually meet). However, for more indoor league competition, unless I was willing to spend two and a half hours of transit time per week to compete, this would be a busted event. Time 9:00 PM.