Now that I’ve done the get-up-and-out-to-the-archery-range-at-the-asshole-of-the-morning beginner’s class, I can arrive at a slightly more reasonable hour (930a) and join the 1030a-noon group. In this group, you pay your $5, get your equipment, and shoot. After I got my equipment I was standing around and I hear Coach’s voice say, “Young lady.” I look up at him and he jumps back and says, “Whoa! What did I do?!” and I say, “Uh, nothing? Why?” and he says, “Why do you have Angry Face?!” I chuckled and I said, “That’s just my face. If I’m not smiling, I look angry. Or sometimes it gets called ‘Mean Face.’ Even homeless people tell me to smile. I’m not angry at you, I was just concentrating because you got my attention.”

“Mmm hhmm okay,” he says. “I just wanted to tell you that if you’re not using your bow you may place it on one of the bow racks.”

After I did that he blew the whistle twice which means it’s time to go to the line and prepare to shoot.


Veterans go up and down the line and you get a bit of instruction or feedback maybe if you’re lucky. In the picture are people shooting from the 10 yard line, where us newbies shoot.

So, I shoot 4 or 5 rounds from the 10 yard line and I manage to do this:


That’s my arrow in the center with the double-yellow fletching and red nock. Mind you, no one had come up to give me any instruction to this point.

But after I hit the bullseye, I started getting pointers. I was told that I have excellent form (twice!) and after shooting from the 10 yard line again, I hear that now-familiar male voice say, “Young lady.” I shuffle up to him, assuming I’m in trouble because hey, when am I not? and he says, “Next time I whistle for the 20 yard line, I want to see you shoot from there. You have great form. I got my eye on you.”

So, I shot my four arrows from the 20 yard line. Two hit the target, one hit a bale of hay, and one sailed right past it all and into the leaves on the hill behind it.

“Young lady.”


“Next time, I want you to shoot two from the 10 and two from the 20. I got my eye on you.”


So, when I was at the 20 the next time he came up to me and started firing a million tips at me and made me adjust this and that. After my two fairly unimpressive shots, he took me aside and said, “What’s your name?”


“Patricia. You’re a really good student and you’re doing well. I want to continue to see you out here. Also, look around. There are hardly any black people out here. There’s a ‘thing’ that archery is a white people sport and that’s stupid. Sports are for everyone.”

I still didn’t hit the balloon in the balloon round, but I did nudge it with my arrow.

The following week, I started at the 10 yard line and hit the bullseye in my first round of shots so now I’m forcing myself to shoot from the 20 from now on.

And there you have it. Not that I’m planning on getting lost in the wilderness, but I feel confident that I’m doing something that makes me feel useful if ever I did.

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