Another beautiful weekend for archery
The MA state outdoor target championship was help this past weekend in Swansea, MA. The tournament was held on a farm (yeah for ice cream!), and was the location for the Nor’easter USAT tournament a few years ago. Thinking it was a further drive than it actually was, R and I ended up at the field on Saturday at 6:40 in the morning, with warmup not beginning until 8, whoops!
We got to relax, however, and take in the beautiful scenery. There was a cornfield left of the field and cows to the right. We noticed one extra-large cow, and we later learned this WAS the largest cow in the world (now just 2nd largest).
R was disappointed as the morning opened up with some wind…he starts by shooting 90M, so ideally you want it as calm as possible. It was also a little tricky to judge the wind, as it was a left to right wind, and we had the corn fields blocking it for us on the left hand side when you were on the shooting line. I was shooting 70M, and felt pretty confident with how my practice arrows went.
I, however, opened with a 53 (all ends are out of 60), so I wasn’t too happy. I knew I needed to get it together if I was going to have any chance of getting my gold olympian pin. I went on to have two solid ends (56, 58), and then I reverted back to my 53. I ended up finishing with 3 out of my 6 ends being very good and 3 ends not so good. I bettered my personal best by two points, so while I was disappointed in some of my weaker ends, I was happy to know that I had improved overall.
After 70M, it was time for a break to move targets, etc. The judges took this a little to the extreme, in my opinion, as a 20 minute break turned into 45 minutes. R and I were hoping since it was a 2 day tournament, that we would be done by lunch both days, so we could still have the rest of the day to get stuff done around the house…wrong!
After sitting around FOREVER, we finally started back up. I was now shooting 60M. I had moved my sight, but I always get very nervous about shooting my first arrow, just hoping it hits roughly the right spot. I ended up with a high right 9 for the first shot, so I made some quick adjustments and began hitting 10s. Then, right as I was shooting my 5th shot, the judges yelled to stop and whistles were blown. Unfortunately, this led my arrow right into the 8 ring, as I must have reacted to them right as the shot went off. I ended up with a 57 for the end, which I wasn’t terribly happy with, but I’d take it. The rest of 60 went very well for me, and I even got my first 60 at 60! I also finished the round 3 points above my previous personal best, so I left after day one feeling pretty good.
Day two we slept in and arrived at a much more appropriate time to the field. Practice began pretty much on time, however, I seemed to have left my ability to shot at home. I was really struggling with not one arrow hitting the yellow in my first end of 9 arrows. For 50M that equals disaster. I managed to get my sight dialed in better, but I just didn’t feel like I was making good shots by the time they said it was time to begin scoring. This is the distance I’ve been shooting all year and feel most confident with, so I was praying I would be able to get it together.
As soon as scoring began, it was like a light bulb finally came on that or a magnet was in the center of the target pulling my arrows in). I didn’t feel like I was making great shots, but everything was going in. I was down just 5 points after 3 ends (18 arrows)! And that’s when disaster struck and I shot a 55. Yes, I lost as many points in one end, as I had the first half! I knew I could still salvage a decent score if I finished strong, so I tried to just concentrate on making strong shots. I finished with two 57s, which left me with another personal best!
After another ridiculously long break, that left us with our fourth and final distance (30M). For some reason, I am terrified of this distance. You are shooting the same size target face as you do at 50, but it is 20M closer, meaning it looks HUGE when you are standing on the shooting line. So big, that I literally am scared to shoot for fear of missing the 10 ring. R told me to just think of trying to shoot X’s instead of 10s, as that would be a more similar size to what I am used to.
My first end was great with the exception of one shot in which I dropped my bow arm, causing a low 9. In fact, my first four ends were all 59s. I was frustrated because every time I have shot 30M, I’ve gotten a 60 on one end. I was happy with my 59s, yet I wanted that 60. With two ends left, I knew I had to focus and make strong shots. The wind was beginning to pickup now, so I also had to pay attention to what it was doing.
I shot four 10s (2 X’s) on the next end, so then I began thinking about it. I made myself wait to take my 5th shot, took a deep breath and just told myself to make a strong shot. It was another 10, so now I had one arrow left to get my 60. I again took a moment to pause and calm the heart rate, drew back and shot an X. Phew, I thought, finally got my 60…now just one end to go.
During my 59 run, R had told me I could only get ice cream after if I shot a 355 (my old personal best was 352 and six 59s would only be a 354). After shooting the 60, I had this in the back of my mind and knew I could only drop one point in this last end. We had a couple of gusts come through during this end, but I tried to time my shots around them. I stayed calm until I had two shots left again. At this point I had a 40/40 and knew I just had to hit one of these two last shots. I ended up not only getting 10s, but both were X’s to close out the round with another 60!
This meant I had finished with a 356, four points higher than my previous best! In addition, I realized this meant I had beaten my scores at EVERY distance, giving me a huge jump in my overall score. I hadn’t added everything up, so when R asked what my full fita score was I had to check my score card. I read off 1378 to him without even thinking, and he didn’t believe me. Then it hit me, wow, I just shot a really good score! Next up were awards and both R and I won our respective divisions, along with a couple of our friends. So, all in all, it was a great weekend; we had beautiful weather, I shot great and we got to hang out with some cool kids 🙂