Having always been fascinated with the skill it requires to use weapons from medieval times (i.e. swords, bows and arrows), I decided I would learn to be an archer. My buddies were all excited to join me when they were told of the event. The thought of becoming this almost mythological creature, a warrior of sorts, really got us fired up.
Some wanted to dress up like Robin Hood. But, the thought of us all clad in Renaissance attire didnt seem like it would go off very well. After all, we didnt want to look like dorks.
After a hearty strongman breakfast, I drove to El Dorado Regional Park in Long Beach with my accomplices to take an archery lesson at the parks junior Olympic archery development field. The park was a beautiful bucolic mass spotted with ducks, swans and other feathered friends. The sun was shining and over the roar of a nearby freeway and 747s flying overhead, you could even hear a few birds chirping.
Surrounded by 10-year-olds, I felt confident in my abilities to out-skill the
youngsters at my side and none of the adults intimidated me in my arrogance. As
I looked around, I doubted that we would have looked like dorks among the lame
participants. We should have come dressed like Robin Hood.
The first time I pulled back the bowstring, arrow in hand, I realized this sport took a lot more skill than it appeared. A gun is easy to fire and a knife easy to throw, but the multitasking it took to shoot an arrow was outside my scope of talent. The volunteer instructors did all they could to guide my drunken arm, but to their dismay, no dice.
Every time I lined up a shot, using my one bad eye, it never landed at my intended destination, the target. My aim was so ridiculous the instructors practically gave up on me and I kept wacking myself in the forearm with the bowstring. The instructor warned me not to arch my arm that way, but it was the only way I felt comfortable shooting.
By the end of the day, my arm was battered. I became overwrought with anger as
I stood there with arms akimbo, watching the others succeed. My friends all got
the hang of it, yet I was a complete mess. My effort was mediocre at best so why
not give it one more chance, just to prove that I could if I really tried?
As I stepped back up to the firing line my previous laissez-faire attitude went right out the window and I pulled back the chord once more. The arrow soared from my bow as the whole world around me began to move in slow motion. Hot Damn! Got one right on the target but not the bulls eye. I never tried to shoot another arrow again. That was all I needed to feel like a hero for the day. I had become Legolas!
El Dorado East Regional Park is located at 7550 E. Spring St., in Long Beach. Price: Free archery instruction every Sat. at noon. For more information, contact Aletha Donathan at (562) 924-2880 or donatham@earthlink