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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
Everyone think archery is easy. Come see how hard it really is for a young boy in this story.

Submitted: October 11, 2013

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Submitted: October 11, 2013



I walked into the archery range on that hot spring day. I'd researched everything I could about archery before this so I wouldn't look foolish. After two weeks of it I knew everything about archery I could learn without picking up a bow. The room was hulking and the smell of fresh wood was present in the air. The floor was concrete. A red line at the beginning of the room separated it into a large and small half. On the large side was a life sized Styrofoam animals such as bears and deers. At the end of the room were small targets with yellow bullseyes in the middle. On the small side was a counter with archery equipment such as arrows, arrowheads, beads, stringers, stabilizers, quivers, and arrow rests. On the wall behind the counter were a wide array of bows everything from long to recurve to compound. There were a couple of modern crossbows as well. On the red line men and women shot their arrows at the different targets on the range. An old man sat in a chair next to the counter. His physique was bulking and his hair was white. His skin was pale and he wore the clothes someone in retirement would generally wear. I stood in the doorway wearing blue jeans, a grays hoodie, and black sneakers. I walked up to the old man. He looked up at me and asked “May I help you?” I responded with “I want to learn how to shoot.” The old man got up and said “What's your name?” “Jaylen” I told him. “Well Jaylen, I'm Bill. So lets get you started.” the old man said. He walked behind the counter and said “the cost for a lesson is forty dollars. You pay when you leave.” “Okay” I said. “So what you like to use, a recurve or compound?” Bill asked “I'll go for a recurve” I said. “Alright how about this” Bill said. He took a wooden recurve bow. The limbs were blank white and the riser was a light brown. He picked out six red arrows and a long string with holes on the ends from under the counter. We walked to the red line, Bill put the arrows in a small white tube on the side. “This is how you string a bow,” Bill said. He put the ends of the limbs through the holes on either side of string. He made sure the string was secure on one end of the limb. Then he put the end of the limb, where the curve started, on his shin and his leg between the string and the bow. He pressed the other end of the limb forward. Next he pushed the string, which was just hanging on the bow up. The bow curved into shooting form and finally the bow was strung. Bill lifted the bow back up. He got into shooting position, and grabbed the middle of the string were the bead was with his first three fingers. “These are the fingers you use to shoot” Bill said. I nodded my head. Next he brought the string back to his mouth. “This is where your hands should be when shooting. If your hand goes sideways then so does your aim. Keep it steady and straight. Look down at my feet.” Bill said. I looked down. His left foot was out ward while his right foot was sidewards. They formed a L. “That's how your feet should be. It's not just your arms which matter in shooting. It's your hold body. Everything in you is connected. So if your legs are stiff then your arms will not be able to extend to draw the bow." Bill said. He handed the bow to me. Exciting rushed through me. I'd shoot a bow before but that had been a kid's bow at summer camp. Now I was going to shoot an adult recurve bow, a real man's weapon. I figure it'd be easy. All I had to do was aim and release the string. Anyone could do it. "Now you try" Bill said. I grabbed the riser in my left hand. I extend my arm and the grabbed string at the bead with my first three fingers. I tried to pull back the string. It felt as if the bow fighting me, refused to be shoot by me. My arm acked as I wrestled with the bow. It felt as if I was lifting a weight. "What the hell" I'd thought a couple of times as welll as "Why willn't the damn thing go back." After five minutes I barely finally managed it back. Bill walked over to me and grabbed my hand. He shifted my arm downward so that my hand came to my mouth. "Put your right foot put over more" Bill said and I did. "This is the stance you need to keep" He said. "Now let's see if you can shoot" He continued. I let the string go slowly and Bill handed me an arrow. I nocked the arrow and fought with the bow again. A minute later I was in my stance ready to shoot. I let go of the string and the arrow flew. I completely missed the target I'd aimed for and when into the top of the wall. "Again" Bill said. I did and the arrow completely missed my target again. "How about we try you on something a little different" Bill said. I handed him the recurve bow in shame. I felt like a complete idiot and a failure. Bill had no emotion on his face. He went back behind the counter. He came back with an orange compound bow and a few more arrows. He handed them both to me. "Try this" Bill said. I put all exempt one arrow in the tube and then nock that arrow. I pulled back the string, got into my stance and ready myself to shoot. I released the string from my hand. The arrow flew forward and hit the blue of the target. "Not back. Keep going." Bill said. My shame started to fade. I nocked another arrow. This time I aim it at the bear. I shot the arrow and though I was aiming for the heart it got the bear in the leg. "Only aim at one target at a time." Bill said. I nocked another arrow and put my aim back on the bullseye. I shot and it hit the white. I reload and I got into my shooting stance. This time I closed one eye so I could so better and took a deep breath. It was a minute later I shot. The arrow went forward and embedded itself into the red of the target. I got another arrow and nocked it. I got back into my stance, taking my time doing so, and then I shot. The arrow hit the blue of the target. I was down to my last arrow. Slowly I nocked it onto my string. I pulled the string back to my mouth. I took in a deep breathe. Then I released the string. The arrow with forward in a straight line and hit the red of the target. I look at my target and some of the confidence returned to me. "Wait for the others to finish shooting and then go down and get the arrow. Then do everything again" Bill said. A year later I'm at the archery range on the red line, shooting my arrows. However instead of useing a compund bow I'm using a recurve which I am finally able to use. I feel a sense of pride everything I shoot this bow because I know how long it has taken me to be able to so much as pull it back and it feels good, really good/ Today I'm aiming at the bear. I shot my arrow and it get the bear in the eye. I got another arrow and shot it. This one hit the bear's upper leg. I reload and got into my stance. I noticed that my hand was to high. I lowered it and then I fired the arrow. It pierced the bear's heart. I fired the rest of my arrow. Then I went down on the range to collect them. I came back to the red line, nocked my arrow, and got into my shooting stance. "Again" I think.

© Copyright 2019 Jaylen Pearson. All rights reserved.

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