Nationals: A long reflective drive home
It was definitely hard to hit the road after my success at the US Open, but we didn’t have time to hang around, as we had to check out of our hotel and get to my grandparents for dinner. They had decided to do a little family get-together with all my aunts, uncles and cousins, since it had been so long since I had seen everyone.
We ended up making it just in time for dinner, and it was great to see how much of my family came out to see us. I couldn’t believe how big all my cousins kids have gotten (haven’t seen them in something like 2.5 years…dang do they grow fast!). No one wanted to stay too late, as we had to hit the road early in the morning for the long drive back through PA, and many of them had to get home to get kids put to bed. Even though it was a condensed event, it was great to see everyone and feel like I was back home again…couldn’t have asked for a better end to an already great day!
3:30 came awfully early the next morning, as I hadn’t slept much that night (I think the adrenaline was still pumping through my body), but it was time to hit the road. I used the time I wasn’t sleeping on the drive home to think about my season and what it means for next year. I know I have found a sport I truly love and can do for the rest of my life. The question now becomes how to raise my game to the next level. Yes, I have shown I can be that second tier archer, right below the best in the world, but I am too competitive of a person to settle for that. I want to continue to get better until I am not only competitive with the top women around the world, but also the men. With draw weight limitations in competitions, I see no reason why women can’t, one day, post the same scores as the men.
The toughest challenge for me thinking about next year is which competitions will I go to. Obviously, without financial support (and even more importantly a corporate job with a limited number of vacation days), I will need to be strategic about my decision. In addition to all the national USA Archery events I attended this year, there are also big national events put on by the NFAA, some very popular indoor shoots (Lancaster, Vegas, etc). Unlike USAA events, many of these other events offer pretty significant payouts, so they are well attended by top archers, however, they do not count towards national ranking points or qualifying for world cup teams like USAA events do. Finally, all indoor world cup events (unlike outdoor) are considered open events, meaning you are not limited to X archers per event per country. Obviously, these are something I would LOVE to go to, but again they require significant travel, which not only costs $$$, but eats up vacation days VERY quickly.
Overall, I would say my season was a success. Yes, I would have loved to do better (honestly when do we not think this), but I made huge improvements in a very short time frame. Every time I start to think of the negatives, I try to remind myself of the fact that NO ONE ever believes me when they hear I just got my bow and started shooting in December (almost to the day 7 months before Nationals). As I’ve heard throughout the fitness community repeatedly, “it’s not about where you are or where you’re going, it’s about how far you’ve already come.”