By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Since late last year, Patrick Smith, the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College technology department guru and his University of the West Indies counterpart David Foster, have been garnering interest in the sport of Archery.
Following a series of meetings with students and others interested in the sport, more than 60 have shown interest. An area at the college was identified as a suitable place for target set up and now on Saturdays, interested persons are now ‘pulling it back and letting it fly’ based on the theme they have developed.
“It has been going good so far. It’s growing slowly but surely and we are getting more and more numbers every Saturday,” Smith noted. “We have over 60 on our mailing list so far, so we are looking good. We meet between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. after people have completed their morning chores.”
As a start up sport, Smith explained that most of the equipment they use is personal equipment. Foster ordered a few spears for general use and he has his own personal bows and more have been ordered. The styrofoam for holding the targets have been donated by Tradewinds Shipping. “The targets are pretty expensive, so we are trying to get the club together now to get funds, so we can get better and proper equipment,” Smith said. “We are working on getting established as a non profit organization. But, I’m very much encouraged by what I’m seeing. People get an email, they tell a friend and they bring a friend, that’s how it’s spreading so far.”
Bentley Roach who built the target stands, got his three children involved. “I asked them if they were interested and they said yes, and came out for the first time today,” he said although he had never engaged in the sport before.
His daughter Vedaliah said she learnt about posturing in order to pull the bow properly. “I also learnt how to use my left eye because it’s the dominant one to use to aim,” she stated. “I thought I could have hit the bulls eye, but when I started, I realized it’s not that easy.”
Roach’s 11 year old daughter Deborah, a student at Joyce Samuel Primary School who won the Victrix Ludorum during her school’s inter-house sports day last month, said she was trying to hit the bull’s eye, which she found a challenge. “I haven’t been able to hit it, but I’m just learning,” she said on her first time out. “I learnt that you have to stand with one foot on each side of the line and then to be in the right position to pull the bow back, then let it go.”
Mashauna Farrington who has always had in interest in the sport, said it’s a lot more technical and harder than one thinks. “Sometime you think you just go up, hold the bow, pull it back, release and you’ll hit something, but, it’s a lot more technical and involved,” the novice stated. “And you need a lot of arm strength. I thought I would have at least hit an outer ring—but I missed the whole thing-it went long,” she explained on her first day getting used to the equipment. “I’ve always loved the symmetry and the motion. It’s an old sport and I love it.”
Foster said Archery has taken off to the point where they have more people than equipment and fund raising is necessary to obtain equipment and not have sharing. “We have kids from five years old and as long as you have good enough eyesight and can pull back the string, they can come and participate,” he said. “We want to get people to the level where they can eventually compete regionally and internationally.”