At a Greek mythology themed camp, I had the opportunity to participate in an Apollo themed archery activity. I picked up the bow and an arrow, took five shots at a bale of hay, and missed every shot—horribly. After getting home from camp I took a much-needed shower and thought about how fun those five arrows were to shoot. After some quick Google searches, I found an archery school about fifteen minutes from my house and within two days I was enrolled in a class. When I told my parents, they laughed and questioned my sudden interest in a slightly uncommon activity; they were skeptical of me enjoying something with almost no previous experience or exposure.
My first day of class involved a lot of theory and only a little shooting, but I was hooked and decided I loved it. I started to learn everything I could about archery: different styles; bow and arrow types; places to buy equipment; and even the story of Apollo and Artemis, the Olympian twins who had an aptitude for archery. Although the bow and arrow are the most commonly known attributes for Apollo, Artemis, a mythological huntress, should not be left out as she is also synonymous with the bow and arrow. I decided, that like Artemis, I could master the bow and arrow. I just needed practice, because unfortunately, I was not divinely gifted at the sport like she and her brother were.
After six weeks of lessons, I was not only having fun but also starting to see some of the expected and unexpected benefits from archery. First of all, my upper body strength started to improve and I became better in tune with my body; I learned how to transfer the weight out of my arms and into my back and my hand-eye coordination improved. Lastly, my focus and concentration improved because, although archery is a physical sport, the mind and body must work together to achieve success. For me, archery is similar to yoga because you have to be calm and relaxed, but it’s more fun because you can win. So, if you are looking for a low-intensity, mind-body activity, I recommend giving archery a try.
When I started attending school at Centennial College’s Story Arts campus, I was pleasantly surprised to find Shawn’s Archery Instruction, an archery school in the Danforth area. I did find it ironic that it is just slightly outside of Greektown, given the parallel between two iconic Greek mythological figures and the spot. I have Apollo and Artemis to thank for my introduction to archery. If it weren’t for them I probably never would have tried archery on my own. So, take a chance on something new! You never know, maybe you’ll unlock your inner god or goddess.
Image from Max Pixel—no copyright infringement intended.