Much of life has been dedicated the past five years to the pursuit of archery excellence of this archery parent and the youth archer.
2 Timothy 4:7
Much of life has been dedicated the past five years to the pursuit of archery excellence of this archery parent and the youth archer.
Honor is a word that makes most stand up taller. Honor has a few definitions, in this blog honor is a verb. The word is defined as keeping or fulfilling an agreement or obligation. It is not often, that this archery parent has to insert “authority” into situations. Typically, in conversations (relentlessly by archery to achieve the desired outcome) we can come to a middle ground or understanding on what is expect or “required” to fulfill.
As an archery parent, there are always situations that with the wisdom of age can assist the archer. There are some situations that require immediate parent reaction and some that need to be left alone and allow mistakes to teach. Mistakes are often the best and most efficient way to learn and grow. It was a few months ago that the archer was trying to “renegotiate” some set lines in the sand. Typical, saying no, is not the best way to handle all situations. In training a child in the way he should go, it takes clarification and reasoning. Life needs instruction manuals and sound reasoning, especially with the teenage brain.
This particular situation the archer was trying to get out of a commitment. There was something better that was wanting to be done in the eyes of the archer. Yes, the first answer was no…then it went back and forth. It came down to, we made a deal and you agreed. The response was “So, it does not matter.”
This archery parent response was, ” You’re wrong, honoring a deal means everything.” Thankfully, he got it. The reply was, “You’re right.” This was a good night. Not often does the teenage back down, accompanied by “you’re right” statement was mind-boggling. The deal was honored. And honor was taught. It is still believed that a handshake is as good as a signature in our home. Your words are powerful, your actions identify your spirit.
It is not often the “other” archery parent is mentioned, due to the non-flying status. Unfortunately, the other parent dislikes traveling even more. This is a story of humility taught by an archery tournament 7,644 miles away from the venue. Humility taught in the privacy of the home. Here is the story:
A few nights ago, the archer was competing in the top 16 towards the top eight elimination round. This round, the archer was up against a great archer from a foreign country, which, let’s face it, it is easier to cheer against another country. That evening as the scores were being observed by this archery parent, the “other” was up pacing around the bedroom. This is another reason this parent stays home, the pacing is not helpful to any archer. As every end completed and scores were updated, despite the request to not share, it was shared. Finishing the 4th end, the archer was up by one.
Now, in eliminations, there is often not a good enough point spread to ensure winning. Every archer shoots all the arrows the same as the first, in the attempt to keep the score high or even. With a quick reload of the computer, the page showed that the archer had won 144-147. Now, in shock, because it was such a huge triumph, it was said that the archer won. This parent sat in shock and joy and the other disappeared into the bathroom. Now, because the page looked slightly off in color, the reload button was pressed. THE SCORES DISAPPEARED from the page. It was back to showing only the prior 4th end scores. It took only a couple minutes, but hours in a time warp for the updated page to show…the archer LOST 147-146.
Now, it was disappointing, but knowing that nothing is for sure until it is official, the emotions moved slowly to a bummed feeling. For the “other” parent, well not so easy to shift. About ten minutes later a statement was made, “It was my fault he lost.” Apparently, there was some major celebrating in the bathroom. Feeling like the celebration was quite prideful, thinking that that weird computer glitch on scores was possibly about a lesson in humility. Was it only on this computer that the weird glitch was seen? Is it possible, it was another lesson on being humble?
For this archer family, it was another valuable lesson in humility.
Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
For the past several years there has always been archery talk about bow companies and the staff. Favorite archers are followed on social media. The youth get star struck at events. This archery parent can clearly recall the archers first trip to Vegas and the encounter with his favorite. There are several more years of contract changes and the effect it had on the archer. These top archers can clearly define the bows and equipment purchased. The youth are especially driven by who has what on the field.
The first “favorite” encounter was in Vegas. Now, Vegas is unique in the fact that it is easy to stand next to a professional archer. Archery is a unique sport in that there are hands-on and personal encounters with the top archers. Now, the archer is unique and smart. He spent much of his time on the practice range. First, stopping wasn’t until it felt perfect and the score reflected the feel. At the beginning it was hours…Second, the archer would also wait to see where his favorites were shooting and slowly work his target to the same target. This allowed him to shoot next to them and feel the energy.
At the time, the bow was basically the same as that pro. Now, in fairness, this archery parent will keep that archer’s name quiet. As the years progressed, so did the equipment. Now for the first three and a half years, the archer was very committed to a particular bow company and equipment. He worked hard to look at the best and try to mimic certain aspects of the archers on the podiums. Let’s be honest, wins and podium placement drive purchases. Every archer wants to be on that podium of the senior class in archery.
Anyone in the archery world knows the names that the youth love and are star struck over. About a year and 1/2 ago the archer made major shifts in his equipment. This was absolutely driven by a top archer in the USA. It was driven by the desire to be on the podium. It was driven by the drive to be the best. The archery “purge” this time of year, each year, is interesting to watch. Archery is such a small sport, manufacture changes are felt personally.
It is known that despite the growing number of archers competing, the industry as a whole is down. It is not a rich man’s sport, however, this sport certainly requires money! Most archers are hard working individuals that do all they can to afford attending tournaments. Add the cost of a new piece of equipment or bow, it can be crippling. As the “purge” happens, be mindful. Keep the gossip to a minimum. Support the archers’ moves and decisions, even if it is upsetting to the youth archer in your life. This is not only business for the top archer’s, it is their life and livelihood.
Now, the change in the archer’s bow greatly increased his confidence. Prior, it was a struggle to find confidence and this change has been amazing. Different archer, different bows. They are as unique as the individual. However, if the archer believes that bow is the best because the best use it, it does mentally change the game for some.
With all this said, any top archery can take any bow and work and tweak it to make it work. In fact, changes each year are based on the input of these archers to improve the equipment. There is no doubt that the game of archer has changed greatly in the five years, starting the six of being in the sport of archery. The equipment and mental game are driving archery to a level of “many” top archers. The game is on!
In the spirit of Thanksgiving this week, this archery parent is not only thankful but grateful. Being thankful is a feeling of being pleased or relieved. Grateful is showing an appreciation of kindness. One is a feeling, the other an action. Therefore with a grateful heart, this archery parent gives thanks to archery.
Archery gives far beyond what can be taken. Give and it will be given unto you. The archery family that we have gathered are beyond friendships expecting in adult life. By being available to give to those that support the archer, relationships have developed out of kindness and respect. These are friends that know our darkest moments in life. They have shared tears and triumphs. Archery has given to this parent the truest friends (outside my sister) that have seen the real-life battles in our life and carried us through.
Archery has giving courage in my weakness. Four years ago, when travel was added the stretch began. Ever stretched a rubber band to the point of it either snapping or that the fingers are in pain? That is the closest analogy that can be given. This parent had the first panic attack while at a tournament. Thankfully, the following morning after a very rough night, his JOAD coach took him to the tournament in my place. Yes, it was later that morning that my feet walked the field. There were more “attacks” to follow in the coming years. This archery parent is thankful. These days, still do not love traveling, however, there is strength in the prayers offered and in knowing that God has put this path in front of these feet for a reason. Grateful for learning courage in weaknesses.
Archery has strengthened the relationship with the archer. Travel lends to time together. This time allows a parent to have conversations, share laughter and experiences that years later will not be regretted. The archer is a unique individual, learning to understand how he handles success and mistakes (never failures), helps any parent lend navigations skills that can grow the archer into a person. This archery parent is grateful for the time with the archer.
Archery keeps things in perspective. Let’s be real, it is just a game. Archery allows breaks from real life and offers a cocoon. This world is rough. The mere fact that we live in a country to allows travel to fling arrows around, should offer a grateful spirit. Yes, it is stressful and expensive and time-consuming and and and….What a blessing to be able to go out in the woods for a 3D or sit behind targets watching our youth share in a passion!
Archery brings joy. Joy in the biblical sense. It is an attitude of the heart. Going into anything with the spirit of giving, the spirit of learning, and the spirit of prayer will lead to joy. Praying with other parents has happened several times on the field. Prayers of the archers joined together on the field happens. The time when the bows are down and the scores have not begun can open the doors to a grateful heart. This parent is thankful for the moments of joy. Focusing on the moments of joy found carry us through the moments or even hours of bad tournaments.
This grateful archery parent gives thanks to you! We need each other. We need to show what mankind in unison can do. May you be blessed with joy on Thanksgiving.
In full disclosure, this parent has been “that” intense sports parent. Football and baseball tend to lend to getting wound up. By nature, worried and stressed could easily be stamped on this forehead. Age or wisdom or experience all come with time and learning from mistakes. There is a tremendous need for archers to work on mental management programs. How about the parents? This is what has been learned from age, wisdom, and MANY mistakes. (The oldest son is 21 and was an avid sports player prior that multiple football injuries stole a professional athletic future in baseball.)
Mental management begins at home. With this subject in mind, this parent just purchased a book on mental management called Parenting Champions. Having briefly skimmed through the first chapter that was allowed to preview, the purchase button was clicked. This is not a recommendation, yet. However, as a parent, mental management for the young are taught by the parents or adult influences in the home. Might be worth your time to do research and find something worth reading.
When an archer starts competing, the learning curves are huge. The preparation begins at home. Starting with managing expectations from the beginning will carry into tournaments. Allowing archery time to be archery time. These days, this archery parent is no longer hands on due to the archer’s age and experience level. At the beginning, it is consuming. It is important to let the archer decided to talk about archery. For this archery parent, it was helping the archer NOT to be all archery. Even insisting on non-archery time can establish healthy mental management. It is never good to let any single subject to consume the mind, body, and soul.
Goals versus wins. Goal setting as a parent is equally as important as the archer. Goals at the beginning are hitting the gold. These are just joyful sweet times. When celebrations of firsts come easily. Celebrations as the archer progress can be harder to find at times. As a parent, the goals must not be centered on the score or placement. Those are the archers’ goals. What are the parent’s goals? Watching and being there is first and foremost. Encouraging all archers should be the next. Allow your archer successes to be theirs and not yours. This archery parent concerns were more about behavior, handling stress, and ensuring there is fun being had by the archer. Learning to sit back and let the “game” play out was hard. Facial expression control is essential. Not letting the mistake or bad shots effect you will help the archer move forward. Prepare yourself for what is need to keep you zen”ish” is huge.
This archery parent started closer to the archer. Young archers need more support. There was a time that staying close is essential. However, the closer you are the more you have to stay in control. No anger, no bragging, no yelling, no swearing, no complaining, no coaching while they are on the line shooting. That leaves only good and fun to be had by all. Make friends! Archery parents need archery parents. Archery tournaments are high-stress long days, friends always make it easier. No matter the outcome, arrows fall were arrows fall. Can’t control or change those. Remember to leave archery on the field. Take the friends with you.
Taking time for yourself! Obviously, if the archer is young, they have to go where you go. However, there are always ways to unplug. At the end of each archery tournament day, this parent ensures everything that is needed for the next day is done, then no more archery. No talking about archery, unless it is an essential question needed to prepare or the archer wants to talk. Chilling on the hotel bed can be the best medicine. This past year, writing this blog has helped to address the archery bubbling up in me, while not spilling it onto the archer. Additionally, yoga has been added (if the archer is not watching). Stick the feet in the hot tub while the archer went swimming at the hotel pools was a favorite way to de-stress. A great book on tape or to read is essential. Headphones and music that centers your soul could be a lifesaver. Take your zen with you. Breathing. Good old deep breath and let it go. Repeat as necessary. Pray.
The best advise this archery parent can give to ensure life on and off the field or range is healthy is focused on being the parent and not the coach. This is not always an option. Then, define your coaching times and your parent times clearly. Allow others to coach your archer if possible. Lastly, would be to set and establish rules ahead of time. At every tournament prior to leaving, this archery parent would set expectations for behavior on and off the field. Then, if issues arise they can be quickly addressed and reminded. Essentially, who the young person is becoming far out ways the score on the field.
It is a Sunday morning, at 2:49 a.m. This archery parent is sitting in bed, watching an autobiography on C.S. Lewis and sipping hot tea. This is by no means a typical night. As an archery parent with the archer overseas competing, the connection is through the internet. Live scoring is about to start again. There is the extra page on the computer open and it is being checked often. Too often. Patience is not my strongest virtue. The start time does not change no matter how many times the page is clicked. Dang it!
Last weekend, the archer drove over the mountain and through the woods (literally) to a tournament to help prepare for this current tournament. The archer was allowed to go off on his own for the first time. During that tournament, there was communication concerning safety and arrival, of course. Then it went into archery. On that lazy Sunday afternoon, this parent spent much time scouring the house looking for a 10-degree quick release. Changes were needed to be made and tried upon arriving home. There were several found, but not the “right” one. As those others were not the brand he wanted. Searching the garage, the office, the junk drawers, bedroom, etc. The archer ended up using one of the parts that were found after much time was investing in locating them. Organization of my sixteen-year-old is equal to the aftermath of a tornado.
This weekend, much sleep has been lost checking on live scoring. The mental stress increases as a parent when the archer is out of your control. There have been many conversations, corrections, a few reprimands, and many praises this past year preparing the archer to rely on another adult. Additionally, to ensure behavior and BEHAVIOR are appropriate. There have been tough texts sent and a couple received on problems that need to be addressed. There have been far more successes than mistakes, thankfully.
By the time an archer is a seasoned national competitor, there is a shift in needs for the archer. Mental management of the archer and the parent come in to play. Even with successes, there are the concerns about physical health and strain on young muscles. Pains and aches are managed. The archer spends much of the time training, so ensuring that when there are teenage time opportunities, encouragement is giving to go have some fun.
Even when negotiating curfew time, because that is always a debate, this parent gives weird times to be home. Like 11:14. Two reasons, first, typically is how we agree on a time, next, giving an obscure time actually helps teach time management. There is a challenge there and the lesson in being on time. Time management is taught and learned.
It is now 3:26 a.m., 14 minutes until the next scoring round begins. This archery parent is wide awake and my attention at church will be a struggle in the morning, well, daylight. These new levels come with many additional stresses. The biggest worries are the distance and keeping the scenarios of tragedy possibilities in check in the head. Oh, this parent is a WORRIER! (7 minutes to go!) Dreams often come with battle wounds.
Scoring is up! Shoot Straight. May at the end of each day hope be what we have left.
It is hard to believe that archery has been in our lives for six years. Six years of dedication, heartache, triumph, and community. Archery came into the archer life at a hard time for this family. Personal family issues and extreme stress in the home was relieved by archery. Archery has become a family full of dear people that will be in our lives with or without archery. When we first moved to Central Oregon from Southern California, within two days of our arrival, the archer was at the Oregon State Indoors.
This parent knew the importance to insert the archer into the community as soon as possible to establish relationships. At the tournament, the archer was befriended by two boys. These two were friendly and fun boys that helped the archer establish relationships quickly. These boys families have become archer family and the relationships continue today. One young man is now proudly serving our country and the other is a senior in high school and still shooting and striving to the top.
In a recent news spotlight that featured two young women in fishing and archery. The young female archer featured is the cousin of the young man in the military. Together we have created a community of support not only locally, but nationally as these archers are moving up in the archery world. Building a community that can cheer for one another on the field and off the field makes archery such a fantastic family support. (Visit https://www.facebook.com/archeryparent/ to view the video.)
It is not hard to find verses in the bible that support the importance of community. Here are 8 that were pulled from the research to help remember what community looks like and how we can support other archers and families on the journey.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 1 Corinthians 1:10
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 1 Peter 3:8
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Colossians 3:14
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. Romans 15:54
I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause division and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep from them. Romans 16:17
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. Romans 14:1
For this archery parent, tournaments have become family reunions, if it were not for these people in our lives, archery would not mean much. Yes, wins are amazing. However, it is fellowship, friendships, and love that feeds the soul. As for the archer, he has developed lifelong friendships and support that will always be there for him, on or off the field.
This Archery Parent.
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