I knew this could be an issue when I got a Facebook message from an archery friend. One simple line, "shooting at 7 Hills this Sunday at 8 if you are interested," brought both excitement (YES! CONTACT WITH OTHER HUMANS!) and dread (NO! I'M AN INCONSISTENT HOT MESS ON THE COURSE!). But I'm not one to turn down a friendly offer, and I hadn't seen my archery buddy in a while, so I hit the road at 7:30 am to see how I would do.
Things were looking pretty good as I pulled in. One club organizer had paid my entry fee in return for doing some soil testing, and I was toting a batch of homemade cheesecake for the guys running the course. Yes, it was already 82 degrees with a humidity level only seen in a sauna, but that's what everyone expects of a west central Illinois summer. However, I took a quick one-two punch to my confidence as I turned around: I was the last one of my group to arrive to shoot, and my group was far larger than I expected. Strangers were going to see me ride the struggle bus. Gulp.
Two of the guys were regulars in the bow shop, but three others were new faces. After a quick round of introductions, we set off for the first target. I would love to say that my Bowtech and I performed flawlessly, but I believe the phrase "fair to middling" summed it up better. Aside from the occasional urge to puke a little and the fear that I had sweat through my shirt before we reached target #3, I managed to hit all the targets, even the moving bear that I had previously skipped because, honestly, I hadn't figured out how to run the damn thing by myself.
I'm happy to report that I survived all thirty targets with no misses, and came away with some good tips:
- I need more practice shooting uphill.
- I need to actually study where the point rings are on the targets rather than guess.
- I need to bring not just the rangefinder, but binoculars on the course (and all the cool kids call them "binos.")
- I need to invest in a hip quiver. Immediately.
- Even manly men look good with flowers behind their ears...unless they are poison parsnips.