Hitting the Bullseye Remembered Because of Olympic Games in London
I watched an Olympic archer shoot two bullseye shots today on television and it reminded me if part of the tour at Dalkey Castle, in County Dublin, Ireland, which is conducted by an archer who, among other things, explains that the word “loop hole” which has come to mean an escape clause comes for the description of the turrets of castles that archers could loop through by entering one side and exiting from the other for an easy escape, something the Alamo could have used. The London Olympic archers also reminded me of the first and only time I shot an arrow at a target. It was in Kalamazoo, Michigan at the home of one of the vice presidents of the Shakespeare Company, manufacturer of fishing, archery equipment and other sporting goods equipment.
There was a backyard barbeque at the VP’s house at which about 20 people, all executives and their wives at Shakespeare, including the CEO, were in attendance. It was a crisp autumn Sunday afternoon and the house, a rambling ranch, was just across a country winding lane from Lake Michigan. The sun was bright but you knew the days were numbered until winter weather and early nightfall would set in.
A Shakespeare archery target was set up in the direction of the woods that buffered the house’s property and a variety of Shakespeare bows leaned against a tree with a huge trunk. Various guests stepped up to take a shot at the target and they were clearly skilled at this sport.
I was asked to try my skill or my luck as the case might be. I begged off saying I had never shot an arrow at a target before but I wasn’t getting off easily. The CEO of the company was not taking my bid to beg off lightly and insisted that I try. I suggested it would be a good idea if someone gave me some instructions so that I didn’t shoot one of the guests at the barbeque.
I was given the following directions by the head of the company:
“Set the back of the arrow into the string on the bow. Pull back on the string. Point the arrow up while keeping tension on the string and lower the arrow until you believe you have its tip aimed directly at the bullseye on the target. When you have the arrow lined up with the center of the target, let it go!”
So, I took the bow, inserted the string into the back of the arrow, raised the arrow skyward and lowered the bow and its arrow until the arrow was in line with the bullseye on the target and let it rip!
It was like a scene in an “I Love Lucy” episode! When the arrow hit the target there were screams of joy, praise, congratulations and excitement. My arrow hit the bullseye.
The CEO of Shakespeare Company roared above the cheers of the crowd, “I think we have a ringer here!”
I told them, again, I had never shot an arrow before that moment but I’m really good at following directions! Everyone laughed and the CEO asked me to continue shooting.
I made it clear that I could never do better than I just did and it seemed like a good idea for me to retire when I was on top!
I was having lunch at the One West Lounge, formerly known as Dewey’s, the poolside bistro on the second floor of the Berkshire Crowne Plaza Hotel in Pittsfield, Massachusetts only hours ago and the televisions had the archery games at the Olympics in London on. When one of the archers hit the bullseye twice, I said, “I did that!” Well, I did. . . once. . . once upon a time a few decades ago! Maybe if I had taken the advice of the folks at Shakespeare and continued what was clearly a natural ability to do what I was instructed to do, I might have been an Olympic archer or a tour guide playing the role of an archer at Dalkey Castle in County Dublin, Ireland! It just seemed safer for one and all if I ended my magnificent career early! But what a nice experience and memory it was and what a nice connection to Kalamazoo which, at the time, had a bench at the Kalamazoo Airport that acted as the baggage claim area!
--Gotta Fly Now!sm
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