Saturday, March 31, 2012

Inspired Archery

A coworker pointed out an article she read that archery lessons have seen a big jump since the release of the film version of The Hunger Games. And this reminded me of my own intense experimentation with archery back in the early 90s, when I was 8 years old and Robin Hood Prince of Thieves was released. My friends and I would forge our own bows and arrows using branches from the woods and string from our mother's craft tables. We got pretty good at it, and I remember finding a gorgeous branch with fine flexibility, and a taught power to the string that it shot, from my diluted memory, 100 or so yards uphill upon testing.

One day my friend Brian was horsing around in his basement and shot an arrow at his brother Kevin, and it made impact with his eye. It did some damage, thankfully he didn't lose his eye, but he had to be rushed to the emergency room, received many stitches, and had to wear an eye patch for several months. Putting a damper on any of his summer swimming plans. Needless to say our bows and arrows were confiscated pretty quickly by our parents. I had always stashed mine up in our tree fort. Somehow my dad knew this. He climbed up and got it. 

I had been surprised in my luck that I wasn't the one who got an arrow in his eye. As a kid I had what my mom joked was an eye magnet. I was always getting hit in the eye by stuff. One time it was an acorn my friend had thrown at a tree, and it ricocheted off, right into my eye. Another time a friend jumped off a tire swing in a gnarled, twisty motion, and his foot flailed off to the side, into my eye. In dodge ball during gym class, a deteriorating foam ball hit my face, and a foam chunk broke off just seconds before my eye lid fluttered shut, trapping in some crusty particles that irritated the fuck out of it. I had to go to the school nurse for a bit. Luckily my early years of reckless, indie archery didn't cause a personal incident to be added to this list. And as I was once inspired by Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and Kevin Costner's "charisma" to shoot arrows at imaginary villains, I hope The Hunger Games fever doesn't set in motion a trend in little kids shooting arrows at their friends "to the death." 

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