Saturday, May 22, 2010

Longfellow and Archery

"I shot an arrow into the air, it fell to earth I know not where." H. W. Longfellow wasn't in my archery class in college but he summed up my experience perfectly. Just like high school before it, college required that I choose a phys. ed. course each semester. As a child I had romped and climbed and galloped and ridden and hopped. Somehow though, puberty and high school had collided and there was a casualty. I did manage to struggle upright, knobby kneed and uncertain, but the easy, carefree confidence and joy in the physical seemed down for the count. Needless to say, I was dismayed to discover that some form of P.E. would be required as I began my freshman year. At least choices were available and I finally settled on Archery. It seemed a romantic choice at the time, so Robin Hood and Maid Marion. Skinny and weak are adjectives that seem to go together, and I just couldn't pull back that string and hold the bow steady long enough to squint down the arrow and sight the target. I did a little better when we switched to clout shooting. Here, we shot an arrow into the air and it arched gracefully through the sky landing with a whistle in a large circular target on the ground a field away. In a perfect world, the reward for effort would be the same as the reward for ability. Sadly, zero ability in Archery equalled a D on my final report. My instructor suggested that I take Weight Training the next semester. I couldn't salvage my grade point average, but I could buff up my self esteem. Working out with a room full of very fine masculinity wasn't so bad either. I found that my flagging interest in things physcial recovered rapidly and completely.

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